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Flight Dilema Los Angeles/Houston/London

Travel Forums North America Flight Dilema Los Angeles/Houston/London

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1. Posted by SuzyandJoe (Budding Member 7 posts) 8y

Hi there.
We have found cheap flights from London to LA with Continental Air. Continental are based in Houston and stop there on the way in and out.
We want to drive from LA to Houston and pick up our return flight, which stops to change planes in Houston, in Houston...
Interestingly we have been told it will cost us £700 more [for 4 of us] to do this, ??

Why do we have to pay *more* when flying *less* miles.

Is it worth just booking the cheaper LA return and then turning up in Houston explaining that we 'could not get back to LA in time' for the return flight.

Any advice or experiences would be appreciated.

2. Posted by chemgal (Respected Member 149 posts) 8y

You will not be allow to just not fly the Los Angeles to Houston segment of your ticket. If you "no show" on this sector then Continental will cancel the rest of your ticket.

3. Posted by SuzyandJoe (Budding Member 7 posts) 8y

Hi Chemgal
Do you think they would still cancel it if we are in Houston well before the flight takes off in LA, and inform them that we are wanting to join at Houston though?
But I take your point that to just 'not show' at LA would be wrong.

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Airlines offer "deals" for particular destinations and the deals are usually cheaper when one or more stops between point A and point B are involved. But, those deals are specifically offered for the flight(s) between the two cities (this being London and LA). By driving from LA to Houston for the return flight, you are not adhering within the specified "deal" which negates that "deal". (Don't mean to sound confusing...) It does not matter that Houston is Continental's hub, the prices you found were not for London to Houston which makes the two stops in Houston (one each way) of no consequence. I know it doesn't make sense when you are shortening the number of miles, but it honestly has nothing to do with mileage as much as it does getting people to the more favored destinations (LA being one).

As far as booking the flights and "missing" the plane from LA could cost you even more money. Just showing up in Houston with that excuse may not work and the airline will charge you the difference between the original roundtrip fare and the one quoted from Houston to London. (Again, hope that makes sense.) In this day and age, the airlines don't care if you "missed" the flight for whatever reason. They have seats to fill and customers waiting to fill them. If you miss the flight from LA, they are likely to cancel the remaining part of your flight to London under the guise of being a complete "no show" passenger. If that happens, you may pay more than the $700 to get back home.

5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 8y

There's no way you can win this fight - you're breaking one of the universal rules! I suggest you book a London-Houston RT and travel to LA on a separate one-way ticket (try Southwest Airlines). Are you aware that the drop charge for a car rental will be HUGE when you don't do a RT there too? If you're planning this trip for summer, the Southwest is one big desert - BLAZING HEAT!

6. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Quoting SuzyandJoe

Do you think they would still cancel it if we are in Houston well before the flight takes off in LA, and inform them that we are wanting to join at Houston though?

The answer to that question is yes. The fact that you do not board in LA cancels the ticket immediately. You honestly can show up in Houston 2 days before the scheduled flight and will (probably) be charged more since you will not be boarding that particular flight in LA. Also realize, you could be bumped from your intended flight and placed on another just because you did not adhere to the original ticketed destinations.

7. Posted by SuzyandJoe (Budding Member 7 posts) 8y

Hi Isadora and Daawgon.
I guess we had better not try that one then!

The reason we are thinking of doing this is because Hubby has business meeting in Houston and as it is the school summer hols for us we thought we might join him.
We have always wanted to see the grand canyon and have looked into hiring a camper van in LA to meander through California across to the GC and then on to Houston for the meeting two weeks later.

I guess we may have to rethink, especially given the heat. What is it likely to be?

8. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

I just posted this in another thread and I realize it (kinda) goes against the duplicate posting forum rule. But, being Moderator of this forum, I think I will make an exception...

Many of the smaller (internal) airlines, such as Allegient, use the regional airports rather than the major internationals and are much cheaper. When doing a search for flights - put in the destination and if asked, select "all airports" for that area. It will give you more airlines and more selections from which to chose.

I suggest checking United Airlines for their "Ted" flights. United introduced "Ted" to compete with the smaller airlines for cheap "no frills (whatsoever) flights. You won't get service but you will get there relatively cheaply.

9. Posted by SuzyandJoe (Budding Member 7 posts) 8y

Quoting Isadora

but it honestly has nothing to do with mileage as much as it does getting people to the more favored destinations (LA being one).

As far as booking the flights and "missing" the plane from LA could cost you even more money. Just showing up in Houston with that excuse may not work and the airline will charge you the difference between the original roundtrip fare and the one quoted from Houston to London. (Again, hope that makes sense.) .... If you miss the flight from LA, they are likely to cancel the remaining part of your flight to London under the guise of being a complete "no show" passenger. If that happens, you may pay more than the $700 to get back home.

Although i understand the 'reason' as to why we are not supposed to do this , the fact they can be so petty is pretty mind numbing. We will after all go to LA and use the facilities.

However as you say "that excuse may not work " and "missing the plane from LA could cost you even more money", that was kinda my thoughts, in that it is down to them to to enforce the [petty] rules.

So my real question is how much of a chance is there, that they would let us on if we talk to them nicely in Houston in advance of the flights. I understand we would be taking a risk and may have to pay more, but £700 [$1,400] is what we have to pay anyway if we pre book less miles! Round trip price from London to LA is only $4,000

Just wondered if anyone had any experience of this and or continental airlines? The flight home is due to be 20th August - would that be a busy time for them?

10. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Quoting SuzyandJoe

So my real question is how much of a chance is there, that they would let us on if we talk to them nicely in Houston in advance of the flights. I understand we would be taking a risk and may have to pay more, but £700 [$1,400] is what we have to pay anyway if we pre book less miles! Round trip price from London to LA is only $4,000

Just wondered if anyone had any experience of this and or continental airlines? The flight home is due to be 20th August - would that be a busy time for them?

You really won't know the odds until you get there and try it. But at the moment, it's 50/50 and will depend on the person(s) you speak with about the situation. On a really good day, you may be able to convince them of what you want to do because you have found a sympathetic ear. If they have had a particlarly horrid day, being cooperative will not be a main objective.

Yes, August is still part of the busy summer season and the tail end when visitors are heading home after their holidays. Continental is notoriuos for over-booking their flights - one of the biggest complaints about the airline. (They also have a pretty bad "on time" record.) If you are able to "talk nicely to them" and get things sorted in Houston (before the flight leaves LA), your 4 seats (from LA to Houston) will be filled with with 4 over-booked passengers - all (in all likelihood) boarding the flight to get to London. Again, depending on the airline personnel, and dispite the pre-arrangement, Continental can still bump you from your intended flight (from Houston to London). It comes down to how over-booked the flight is, the kindness of the personnel, if one wants to play airline rule police all of a sudden, and how badly they want the extra fare.

We flew Continental from Chicago to Dublin. The flight was sorely over-booked and the agents randomly chose who was to be bumped. They made a huge mistake by automatically bumping one half a family group of 15 people. After 45 minutes arguing at the desk and having a few other passengers willing to take the vouchers and the next day's flight, we got to board. Still not enough people had agreed to stay behind and it took another 45 minutes to finally get things sorted (while we're all sitting on the plane) so we could take off. Not quite the same as your situation but shows how they do as they wish. We were 2 hours late arriving in Dublin because of the debaucle. During the second 45 minute search, they tried bumping a family of 3 behind us - stating the very young boy in the middle seat did not have a ticket for that seat. His parents showed the boarding pass in his name but the agents continued to argue the boarding pass did not prove they had paid his fare therefore they had to leave the plane. The parents won that battle.

Though not with Continental, I booked 2 RT tickets to Tampa Bay, Florida. I knew I would not be on the flight to TB though my husband would be aboard. (I booked to get the good price.) Because I was a "no show" for the first leg, they cancelled my return flight. I had to rebook at the airport, was lucky enough to get the last remaining seat and it cost me the one-way fare which was significantly higher. Another passenger was kind enough to switch seats so my husband and I could sit together.

Good luck with this dilemma! I do hope you get it sorted out advantageously.