In a few weeks, I’m travelling to Denver. But instead of buying a round-trip flight, I opted to buy two one-way flights on two different airlines. The reason? It was cheaper. A lot cheaper. And I managed to get great seats on both flights.
While it’s long been presumed that one-way flights are more expensive than round-trip ones, in recent years I’ve found the exact opposite to be true. My trip to Denver is $300 cheaper because I was able to catch a fare sale on one airline for my arrival flight and another on my departure.
If you’re loyal to one airline this might make a bit less sense, but I fly a lot, and on multiple airlines, so I have status on both airlines I’m flying (and a few others). Beyond the potential cost savings, booking one-way flights also gives you a bit more flexibility when it comes to your arrival and departure times.
For instance, you might hypothetically book a one-way flight to Melbourne on Jetstar, but the only flight back home to Sydney is at 6am, a bit earlier than you want to leave. Virgin, however, may have a nice 6pm flight that you’d rather take for the same amount of money with more beach time your final day.
And there’s also a seating benefit to one-way flying. When you’re not locked into flying both ways with the same carrier you can pick the best flight times for you, and find the flights with the best seats available. For instance, if there are only middle seats lefts on Virgin, there’s no reason why you can fly another carrier home.
Booking flights one way isn’t always a deal, or to your advantage, but it’s always a good idea to check before you commit to that less-than-perfect round-trip ticket.