Ask LH: What Can I Do With An Unchangeable Flight?

Dear Lifehacker, I recently bought a flight ticket return from Brisbane to Newcastle in anticipation of a concert but unfortunately missed out on tickets. Since Jetstar (and a lot of low cost airlines) don't offer refunds, what suggestions do you have on ways to try and not lose out completely on the cost of a ticket? Thanks, No Ticket No Cry

Picture by tripletrouble

Dear No Ticket,

As you've no doubt already discovered, sale fare Jetstar seats don't have many useful options for changing after the fact. And the terms of carriage actually expressly prohibit transferring your booking to someone else:

You must not give or sell your Booking to anyone else to use. A Booking is not transferable to another person. If someone else presents themselves to travel on your Booking and we discover that that person is not you, we may refuse to carry that person.

With that said, Jetstar's commitment to automation means that it's entirely possible to board a flight without ever dealing with a human being. If you check in using kiosks at both ends and only have carry-on luggage, the odds of anyone realising you're not the person named on a booking are pretty low, especially if you're the same gender as the original ticket purchaser. So you might be able to sell the ticket to someone else.

A quick search on eBay shows up several people trying to resell Jetstar tickets, so it doesn't seem like the airline heavily tries to stop this kind of trade. With that said, there is still some risk involved, since the terms make the fact that you're not supposed to do this pretty clear, and you might end up being exposed if a flight is heavily delayed or there are other problems. As such, you might have to discount the original price to account for that. But trying to sell it at least gives you a chance of getting some of the money back.

Have readers got any other suggestions on how a fare like this could be reused? Share them in the comments.

Cheers Lifehacker


    Go anyway, and find something else to fill the time in Newcastle.

      This is exactly what I would do.

      Are you sure you can't change the destination/ travel date?
      I'm pretty sure you can for a surcharge at least on some airlines...

    In this age of air flight related security paranoia, it seems like a truly terrible idea to travel, or assist others in travelling under an assumed name, which happens to be yours.

    Were the tickets in question really so expensive that you're prepared to risk that sort of drama to recoup the cost?

    I will go.

    The way I see it, there's only three options, and Gus' suggestion isn't one of them (I know for sure I wouldn't buy/accept airline tickets which I know are in someone else's name and are non transferable);

    - Go anyway and find something else to do
    - Don't go, and deal with the fact that you lost money on unused tickets
    - Delay your flight to Newcastle for a future time when you can enjoy your time there. Jetstar do allow some limited options when it comes to changing your booking, but generally your destination is fixed, you must modify your itinerary 24 hours in advance, and you'll have to pay the difference if your new tickets are more expensive.

    Most airlines in Australia (Qantas and Virgin) run a three tier economy ticketing structure:

    Super tight - This is the seat that is always on sale and only available to destinations such as Darwin at 11pm. If you buy this ticket you cannot change it and should be glad you have a seat on the plane! Try and change this ticket and you will definitely be Red-E to cry.

    Moderately tight - This one is changeable 24hrs before your date of departure or even much later if you are especially good at flirting with ground crew.

    Fully (The Boss is paying) flexible - I've only heard about these tickets and am unsure if they actually exist, you can change these tickets any time even when you're on the plan half way to your destination. Of course for the price of these tickets you could buy a 20% share in Qantas instead.

    If you fly Business class domestically I really have nothing to say to you other to than express my jealousy and hatred of you.

    If you check in online and don't have baggage, no-one will ask for your ID, that being said there's a snow flakes chance in hell I'd take a ticket or give a ticket to someone I didn't know.

    Just go anyway and buy tickets from a scalper.

    I work in ticketing for events like concerts. The promoter of a show almost always has a few tickets that are held back for release until either the day before, or the day of the show. If the tickets are available online, jump on at 9am every morning until the show and you might get lucky. Even when a show is "sold out", there is usually still a very small number of tickets to release on the day of a show. They are usually seats that the band or promoter or venue had to give away, but didn't.


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