When referring to an airline ticket, a ‘dummy’ return is a fully refundable, unrestricted airline ticket that can be used as proof of a return, even though you will never actually use it.
Why would you need a dummy return ticket? I’m sure there are multiple reasons out there, but here’s why we needed them. One of our production crews recently needed dummy returns to prove they weren’t flying into the Bahamas indefinitely. The plan was to fly into the Bahamas and board a cruise ship the following day. Technically, they only needed a one way ticket to the Bahamas, since they were going to be transported back to the United States via cruise ship. However, to be on the super safe side, we wanted a return ticket to show customs upon arrival (with video equipment in tow) that we were, in fact, just ‘visiting.’
This worked perfectly–without a hitch. Our crew boarded the cruise ship in the Bahamas the following day, and I called to cancel their ‘dummy’ return tickets a few days later and received a complete refund.
Tip: Be sure when booking your ‘dummy’ ticket that it is an unrestricted, fully refundable ticket!
Tip: As long as you call to cancel the ticket almost up to the hour prior to ‘departure,’ you’ll receive a full refund. For example–let’s say you book your dummy return for May 15 at 1:00pm. You must call to cancel this flight before 1:00pm on May 15 to receive the full refund. If you wait until 1:00pm on May 15 or later, you will probably not get a complete refund. The solution? Remember you’re booking a fully refundable ticket, so might as well give yourself enough time to actually return before you cancel your ticket. In my case–our crew flew to the Bahamas on January 24 and boarded the cruise ship back to the US on Jan 25. I booked them a one-way ticket to the Bahamas, and one way (unrestricted, fully refundable) ticket from the Bahamas to the United States with a fake date of Feb 1, allowing myself plenty of time to call and cancel the ticket.