When It Pays To Buy A One-Way Plane Ticket

Image: Saffu on Unsplash

One-way tickets are becoming increasingly affordable options for international travellers, the New York Times reports.

Airlines used to bump up the price for one-way tickets using the rationale that they were typically purchased by pricea-gnostic business travellers. But now, that one-way premium has dropped from 44 per cent in 2014 to 11 per cent in 2018, according to data provided to the Times by the Airlines Reporting Corporation. The percentage of one-way tickets purchased compared to round-trip tickets increased 29 per cent in that same time period.

This trend is good for travellers, especially families, who can use the better prices for greater flexibility in travel: For example, you can fly into one European country, and then take a short train ride to a nearby country, spend a few days in a new place, and then fly out at a much cheaper cost. If you’re using a service like Google Flights to book airfare, you can add nearby airports to your search criteria for better rates. “If you’re flexible, it pays to find the cheapest entry and exit points to Europe and then fill in the gaps overland or with flights on low-cost carriers,” per the Times. 

This is especially useful if you’re going to popular vacation destinations, like Greece or Italy.

This change has occurred because there are now more low-cost carriers, like Norwegian Air and Ryanair, offering more competitive rates, according to the Times. Of course, that also means the flights may not be as comfortable or offer as many amenities as those offered by more expensive carriers (notes the Times, “[s]eats on Ryanair planes, for instance, don’t recline, and the boarding process can be chaotic”).

One more thing you’ll want to keep in mind, as Quartz notes: If you’re travelling internationally, countries may have rules prohibiting having only a one-way ticket. “Even if it’s just a train ticket, it’s generally a good idea to show up with some documentation of where you’re going next, unless your visa situation allows you to stay in the country indefinitely,” writes Quartz.

Still, if you’re planning an end of winter or spring trip, it might make sense — and give you the opportunity to visit more countries or cities — to look for deals on one-ways tickets.


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