If I buy a plane ticket with a layover in Charlotte can I just board the flight in Charlotte?
A US Airways direct flight that departs from Charlotte costs $850. However, if I buy a ticket departing Raleigh earlier in the day and layover in Charlotte and take the exact same flight as previously mentioned out of Charlotte it costs $550. Can I not just buy the ticket departing from Raleigh, but then board in Charlotte. I live much closer to Charlotte.
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No, the moment you do you don't board the flight in Raleigh, the entire trip is cancelled. That is the law.
The short answer is "No." The slightly longer answer is that as soon as your originating flight departs (without you,) the rest of your reservation will be canceled, and you will get nothing for your $550.
As soon as you fail to board your original flight at RDU, your entire reservation (including the return) is automatically cancelled. This is based on airline policies, and not due to federal law, as is claimed incorrectly by AJ -- the vast majority of airlines prohibit this practice (known as hidden-city ticketing) by their own policies and contracts.
airlines tend to prohibit this, so i very much doubt you can do it. exactly why they do that is another issue, maybe so that they can re-sell the ticket if people do not turn up for the first leg
If you don't board at Raleigh, then the airlines will think you are a no-show and cancel your entire itinerary. I can understand where you are coming from but what you are proposing will not work. Where I live, Delta controls most flights and therefore they charge a premium to fly with them.