This is a public service announcement for anyone purchasing around-the-world flights.
Don’t let this happen to you.
We had our basic route planned: Australia to South Africa then to Scandinavia. From there we’d go to the East coast of the US, to the West Coast and then back to Australia. Fairly simple and straight forward. By chance, our flight from Africa to Scandinavia had a stop over in Switzerland so we thought, oh, lets extend the stopover, spend some time in the area and head up north a bit later. We took a stab in the dark and booked the second leg of that flight for March 10th and figured, if anything, we just wouldn’t get on the plane. We would forgo the flight and get ourselves there.
It was a great plan, except for the fact that – for some unexplainable reason – this is illegal in the eyes of airlines everywhere. We only told our travel agent we weren’t getting on the flight so that we wouldn’t waste space. We weren’t asking for money back or pleading to make changes at no cost. We were shocked when he replied informing us that we “can’t just skip one leg of an around-the-world ticket schedule. If we missed one, we forfeited all the others.” We either had to pay the change fee of $300+ per person or find a way to get on that plane.
This flight became like The Joker, mocking us and ruining our lives simultaneously. There is no way around it though. We tried our hardest to find one, trust me.
We’ve (kinda) come to terms with it now and have (sort of) moved on but I’ll be damned if this also happens to anyone else. Knowledge is power my friends, and at least now you know.