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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Can you get away with this?

I was sitting on a train from Lucerne to Milan talking with some folks from Costa Rica, and they told me how expensive it is to fly from Costa Rica to the US as opposed to the US to Costa Rica. I asked, 'Why not book in the other direction?'

They couldn't, they said, because the 'outbound' leg of their journey would have to be from the US.

'Well, make it that way. Let's say you travel to the US once a year for the latter half of June. Begin by booking a one-way ticket from CR to the US for June 15, 2008. When you get to the US, book a round-trip ticket, leaving the US on June 30, 2008, and returning on June 15, 2009.

Repeat every year.

Would it work?

20 comments:

  1. Can you clarify? Were they talking about one-way tickets, or were they saying a roundtrip from CR-->US is more expensive than a roundtrip from US-->CR?

    Because if they were just talking about one-way tickets, then there's no guarantee your strategy would save any money, even if it were allowed.

    I'm not sure how long the gap can be between legs of a roundtrip fare, but for some reason I think it can't be that long. At gunpoint I would guess it's under 3 months, but "I can't back that up" (Dr. Evil).

    I do know that you get fined (or whatever) if you book a roundtrip and then don't exercise the 2nd half. Presumably because of price discrimination, there are cases where it's cheaper to buy roundtrip than one-way, and so some people were obviously just not flying back. So the airlines started fining you somehow (I don't know if it just meant, if you flew them again, or if they billed your credit card ASAP) if you didn't board on the return trip.

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  2. Brilliantly obvious! Of course, I don't know if it would work, and, if not, why not. It doesn't help me, 'cause I'm going to Costa Rica one of these days, but probably only once.

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  3. I was sitting on a train from Lucerne to Milan talking with some folks from Costa Rica...

    Your posts are always so cool, Gene. If you had a PhD I'd start calling you Dr. Jones.

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  4. Anonymous4:36 PM

    I doubt it would work. When you check into it, you will probably find that the one-way ticket costs almost as much than the round-trip.

    Granted that it was years ago (pre-9/11/01) and within the USA, but once I wanted to fly one-way from TX to FL. (I was going to drive back.) The round-trip fare was $10 LESS THAN the one-way fare.

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  5. Sidney5:17 PM

    I was sitting on a train from Lucerne to Milan

    Wouldn't it be much safer and less harrowing if you took a train ride as a passenger, than "sitting on the train"?

    And that's one long train stretching "from Lucerne to Milan", where was it going?

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  6. Anonymous6:26 PM

    Gene was posing as a hobo in lucerne and he was acting out hitchhiking.
    And the train was going from lucerne to milan, you just walk from one car to the other.

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  7. "Can you clarify? Were they talking about one-way tickets, or were they saying a roundtrip from CR-->US is more expensive than a roundtrip from US-->CR?"

    Yes, they were.

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  8. "I doubt it would work. When you check into it, you will probably find that the one-way ticket costs almost as much than the round-trip."

    But, in my scenario, the Costa Ricans would only pay the one-way premium once, and would enjoy the 'US discount' for years to come.

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  9. 'Wouldn't it be much safer and less harrowing if you took a train ride as a passenger, than "sitting on the train"?

    'And that's one long train stretching "from Lucerne to Milan", where was it going?'

    Yes, Sidney, Yanks and Brits speak English differently, and I'm sure my phrasings are not idiomatic British English -- but they are idiomatic American English. Blame Kinge George for his crappy colonial policies and failure to win the war, and not me, for these discrepancies.

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  10. ''m not sure how long the gap can be between legs of a roundtrip fare, but for some reason I think it can't be that long. At gunpoint I would guess it's under 3 months, but "I can't back that up" (Dr. Evil).'

    Yeah, there's the rub -- if a 'round-trip' voyage can't extend over a year, then my strategy is useless.

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  11. Sidney2:01 AM

    Blame King George for... failure to win the war, and not me...

    Yes, but you write as though the failure of the redcoats is, in fact, somehow a burden that you must carry on your shoulders.

    I only say this out of concern, are you talking to anyone about your attitude towards the defeat of the redcoats?

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  12. George Carlin: "People say they're getting on the plane. F*ck you, I'm getting in the plane!"

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  13. Bob asked:

    "Can you clarify? Were they talking about one-way tickets, or were they saying a roundtrip from CR-->US is more expensive than a roundtrip from US-->CR?"

    Gene responded: Yes, they were.

    You're being "funny" here, right, since you're not answering my question?

    I assume they're talking about the roundtrip option. In which case, your plan sounds good, assuming certain things about interest rates and the relative cost of the one-way ticket.

    Of course, there's also the risk of the airline going bankrupt while you're sitting on a ticket.

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  14. Yes, but you write as though the failure of the redcoats is, in fact, somehow a burden that you must carry on your shoulders.

    Hence his affinity for the writers at Treason.

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  15. "You're being "funny" here, right, since you're not answering my question?"

    No, what I meant to say was that the latter was the case -- round-trip tickets are significantly more expensive from CR than from the US.

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