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I'm looking to relocate and have been applying to jobs in the new area. I have an on-site interview scheduled with Company X on Friday. They're paying for my flights, and I already asked for and was booked on a Sunday return flight so I have a few days in the area to look at apartments and such. They are aware I've been interviewing with other places.

Now I've just talked to Company Y, and they are eager to interview me as well - the only time that works is the following Monday.

Is it okay to ask Company X to move the return flight another day later, after my newly scheduled Monday interview? I'm fine with paying change fees, but this is very last-minute - Company Y hadn't even responded to my application until after the flights with X were booked. I did think about simply skipping the return flight and booking my own one-way ticket home on my own, but I don't want to look unprofessional to Company X. How is the best way to approach Company X about delaying my return flight another day?

I think this is different from Is it appropriate to ask for later flight return date for on-site interviews? because the return flight has already been delayed several days, and it's probably not a "good" reason in the eyes of the company paying for the flights.

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    Would company Y be willing to pay you a flight as well? – DarkCygnus May 17 '18 at 18:32
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    Do you know if there is a change fee on the return flight? I don't think US airlines are in the practice of issuing non-changable flights any more, so hopefully that's not an issue... – dwizum May 17 '18 at 18:34
  • Are you paying for hotels, food, and other travel expenses? – dwizum May 17 '18 at 18:35
  • @DarkCygnus probably not, and when I discussed scheduling I said I'd already be in the area, implying I didn't need them to. I'm okay with paying for my own flight if need be. – user87140 May 17 '18 at 18:35
  • @dwizum I'm not sure if there's a fee, Company X is big and has their own travel office which booked it. They're paying for my flights and the hotel the night before their interview, but I'm on my own otherwise. – user87140 May 17 '18 at 18:36
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There are 3 options actually:

  1. Asking X to reschedule. This can look unprofessional, especially given that nowadays most tickets can't be returned without losing quite a bit of money

  2. You paying the return ticket yourself. The company will never learn about it if you buy yourself the ticket.

  3. Company Y paying for the return flight if they have offered that. In some countries it's completely normal that companies pay for your flights. If that's the case in your country, they have probably offered that.

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    I would start with option 3, go with option 2 if that doesn't work, and stay away from option 1. – TheSoundDefense May 17 '18 at 18:39
  • For option 2/3, you mean simply skipping the return flight that Company X paid for? If I decide to do that should I notify them or not? – user87140 May 17 '18 at 18:42
  • Of course not. That's the whole point. They don't know that you rescheduled at the very last moment. If they knew the probability they would think you aren't professional would be high. – BigMadAndy May 17 '18 at 18:44
  • There's also the option of asking the airline to reschedule and not talking to X at all. This may not be successful though and also runs the risk of X hearing back about it. – David K May 17 '18 at 18:46
  • @DavidK, that's a huge risk. X may think OP wanted to reschedule/cancel the flight to get the money for the ticket or the difference between the tickets. Not to mention that Company X would almost certainly hear back about it. – BigMadAndy May 17 '18 at 18:51
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You've stated that Company Y is unlikely to pay for a return flight. You stated that the interview schedules can't both happen on Friday. You've also stated that you're willing to pay for any cost difference yourself.

I think this leaves one obvious answer:

Pay for the one way return flight, or the cost of altering the original return flight, yourself.

Company X's travel office will provide you with your itinerary, which will have a confirmation number/confirmation code on it - typically in the US, this is a combination of 6 letters/numbers. With that code, you are free to contact the airline yourself (outside of X's travel agent, without having to involve them). You can ask the airline what the cost would be to rebook the return flight, at which point they'll ask you to provide payment - you can give them your own payment method.

During that discussion, you can also ask about the cost of booking a one-way return flight. Depending on the cities, in the US, it is sometimes possible that booking a separate return flight would be cheaper than paying the change fee on the original ticket.

You can do this any time, up to the point at which you're checking in for the return flight. It probably makes sense to do it as early as possible, as fees may go up and/or the cost of the one-way return flight may increase - not to mention that other return flight options may become booked and unavailable.

good luck in your interviews!

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