I am from Europe. I am currently on my tour around the US for several on-campus interviews for assistant professor positions. As I am from far away, I managed to arrange the domestic flights between the places without having to go back and forth between Europe and the US. After my last interview, says at university A, I am booked to fly back to Europe and the one-way ticket was already bought by A.

Now, I have just received another invitation to an on-campus interview at university B. B really likes my profile and they want to interview me as soon as I can (it's also the end of the interview season, so I guess they are in a hurry to grab someone). If I come back to Europe as planned then fly to B again, I will be so exhausted because each flight will be 16 to 20 hours, and I have already spent a lot of hours flying and interviewing so far. So ideally I would like to fly directly from A to B then back to Europe. But the ticket bought by A is non-refundable, and I was told before that it's very unprofessional to change flights like that, which could harm my chance at A. I am thinking of skipping the return flight bought by A without telling them (it's a one-way ticket). My questions are:

  • If I skip the flight, will A know? They bought the non-refundable ticket through a travel agent.
  • Do you have any suggestion for a more elegant solution?

Thank you very much!

  • 2
    Assuming you don't expect them to pay to cover any additional expenses, is there something wrong with telling them that you had to change your plans and hence will be unable to make use of their return ticket? Sure it's a bit awkward given that they essentially wasted some money, but it's not like something actually changed for them - the money they used for the ticket is gone no matter if you fly or not.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 14:38
  • I tend to agree with @xLeitix. These universities clearly know you are visiting many places, and they also know that some places act faster than others. It's not clear they would actually ever know if you didn't use the return, but I don't know what updates airlines make these days, or for that matter if there might be other ways they'd learn you didn't use it. ======== I don't know who said it was unprofessional to change it. I disagree with that assessment. ====== Disclaimer: I'm not an academic (university) but have been involved in corporate hiring. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


If I skip the flight, will A know?


Do you have any suggestion for a more elegant solution?

If time permits, book a round-trip ticket out of pocket (i.e. paying for it yourself) to go from A to B and back to A, in time to make your long-haul flight.

  • Thanks! My former professor / supervisor suggested the same.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 13:59
  • I assumed it was not possible to go from A to B and back to A in time for that flight, since there was a discussion of going from A back home and then on to B. If it's an option, that sounds best, but why should it be out of pocket? Wouldn't B cover the cost, assuming it's less than home->B->home? Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 18:12
  • @FredDouglis - Good point. If B will cover the separate short flight, so much the better. Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 13:59
  • @aparente001, let us know how it goes :) Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 15:06
  • @FredDouglis - I think you meant to ping Truong. I will do so. Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 1:18

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