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Mystery of the cheap one-way airfare Formerly a stronghold of high pricing, one-way ticketing is simpler than ever to buy thanks to the pressures of low-cost airliners. The emergence of companies such as Southwest and JetBlue into new geographic areas and the sale of one-way routes, which were competitively priced, obliged old companies to provide cheap and adaptable services. "If there are low-cost operators in this segment, you are likely to have one-way rates for all airlines," says Brett Snyder, creator of the aviation blogs, The Cranky Flier.

As a result of the low-cost airlines, the national fare for one-way tickets is lower than ever before. "Normally, one-way travel is competitively priced and you get better turnaround time by sharing it," says Mark Ericksen, founding partner of Mantrana Partners, a Denver, Colorado-based IT consultancy for retailers. Colorado Springs-based airlines often buy one-way trips because the variety of choices gives him more planning freedom.

He has to consult with customers for full working hours, which may not be the case with all carriers. Ericksen currently travels southwest to Boston on Sunday nights and returns Thursday night with a JetBlue jet. Says: "The overall round-trip fare was similar to a major airline."

One way fares may, however, be more costly to and from smaller airports where budget carriers do not operate. Snyder recommends that if you are staying near a smaller airfield, you travel to a larger town or extend your quest beyond non-stop travel. As a result, a tour through a favourite turnstile is possible, leading to more competitive and potentially less costly one-way travel.

Be sure to use trip searching engine like kayak or Expedia EXPE +2.54% as your point of departure, but be sure to review Google GOOGL -0.25% flight rates and single airline rates to see all available one-way flight rates. "Snyder says it all began with Southwest Airlines LUV +0.61%. "Old airline companies had to become more able to compete as low-cost airline companies penetrated more markets".

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