Can I skip my first flight and just get on the connecting flight instead?
I was looking at purchasing a plane ticket from Columbus, OH to Portland, OR on Delta. There is a connecting flight in Cincinnati (CVG) - where I live. I would be driving to Columbus to fly back to Cincinnati to get on the plane to Portland. Would I be able to just skip the first flight and get on the connector to save myself the drive? CVG is the MOST expensive airport to fly out of in the entire US. Including Alaska & Hawaii. It's ridiculous. Avg. ticket price is over $500. It's half as much to fly out of CMH.
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The Short answer is "NO"! The more complicated answer is, maybe, but it's a big gamble. When a passenger "no shows" an originating flight, the airline assumes the passenger is not traveling that itinerary and cancels ALL down-line flights (including the return flights if it was the outbound originating flight you didn't fly on). This is usually done automatically by the computer reservations system. Once in a while, if you show up for the connecting flight, you MIGHT be able to sweet talk the gate agent (assuming they even let you through security at the airport) into letting you on the flight. This is getting harder to do, as carriers tighten up the rules. I don't recommend chancing it. (I'm a retired Delta reservations employee, BTW).
I think you should be able to just book the flight Cincinnati to Portland without booking the other flight. At least my understanding of connecting flights is that they're actually separate flights, but you just book them together for convenience.