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This is how you make savings on one-way flights
One way one-way fares traditionally charge round-trip dollar, which means you would almost as much for a one-way one-way fare as for a round-trip fare to the same goal. Luckily for economical leaflets, German low-cost carriers and tour operators have incorporated themselves into the mixture and now provide inexpensive one-way fares.
While the major carriers still demand round-trip fare (or more) on many intercontinental services and certain one-way journeys may require several hundred or even several thousand more than similar round-trip fare, they have recently become more able to compete for one-way fare on inlands. Travellers need to have a few tips up their sleeve to prevent one-way street theft.
What makes some simple flights so costly? When I asked George Hobica, the founding member of Airfarewatchdog.com, who said to me that one-way flights are often bought by travellers who have a tendency to mix and match journeys (and whose travelling divisions usually charge the full fare for their journeys), I asked him. He also said that carriers do not particularly want travellers to go in one direction because it confuses them.
In order to get an impression of the actual one-way fares, I looked for flights at a number of different carriers (major carriers, national carriers and on-line reservation sites). A few of the extravagant one-way passes I found were scandalous - others were simpler in the bag. For this case report, I am opposing United against the low -cost carrier Aer Lingus and the Expedia website.
Figuring that a journey to Paris would be simply beautiful, I looked for flights from New York City to take off in early spring. On the same date, a return journey from the Big Apple to Paris was US$1,231 including tax to United, compared to US$1,302 including tax to Aer Lingus and US$851 including tax to Expedia (flight on XL Airways France).
When I was looking for one-way flights, things started changing. One single ticket from New York to Paris was $736 with tax on Aer Lingus and $489 with tax on Expedia (again with XL Airways France). United Airlines levied $1,314 in tax on the same date and route. In order to further demonstrate the latest prices for return flights in comparison to one-way rates, I have chosen to compare the discount airline Norway Air with the large airline Delta and the Travelocity website.
One return trip from Fort Lauderdale to Oslo was $863 on Travelocity, $888 on Delta and $731 on Norway. Nevertheless, the same one-way ticket was $420 in Norway and $522 in Travelocity (interestingly also with a higher price in Norwegian), but an incredible $2,684 in Delta (almost three outward and return!).
The next ones are the US low -cost airlines JetBlue and Orbitz, which offer their best rates for a Seattle to Boston trip. Meanwhile the data I was looking for were the lowest taxed round-trip tickets: $393 for Americans, $397 for JetBlue and $387 for Orbitz (flying United).
One way fares for similar events are less than half the price of the return trip. $150, JetBlue came in at $171 and Orbitz showed me a one-way plane for $130 inclusive tax (flying Sun Country). Occasionally, the major carriers meet the consumer with impudently pricey one-way fares such as the $1,314 (Economy - min. you) to Paris from United or Delta's mad $2,684 one-way fares.
Nevertheless, local rivalry has compelled the large companies to compare or exceed the low-cost carriers' rates on many itineraries. Historically, one-way tariffs in the home market between less favoured destinations have been characterised by a greater imbalance between large and discounter operators, but today it is less and less the case. If you are confronted with a $2,684 one-way trip vs. a $988 round-trip on the same carrier for the same date of travel to the same gateways, you may find yourself calling a particular carrier and telling them where to redeem your one-way rate.
Why not buy a return trip for the same date of travel and omit the second one? Unfortunately, airline companies rely on travellers to take what they call "disposable ticketing" (although we use the more appropriate phrase, "turn the tables"): book a return trip and use only one of your airline seats to make savings over a more costly one-way-fare.
The majority of carriers have a restricted provision in their general business policy prohibiting the sale of one-way tickets. Delta's website states, for example, that the carrier forbids "Disposable tickets - use of reduced return fare for one-way travel". "As a penalty, the carrier is threatening to seize idle vouchers, reject embarkation or even bill the passengers for the more costly one-way ticket.
Travellers' agencies have a tendency to keep away from practical situations, as carriers may be threatened with refusing to buy seats at agencies that help travellers buy disposable seats. But before you put your valuable flight vouchers at stake by buying a disposable ticketing solution, look for cheap one-way flights from budget carriers and on-line reservation websites that often provide cheap one-way ticketing.
Airline companies such as JetBlue, Lingus Airport, Norwegian Airport, Spirit and Southwest are selling airline a la caretaker airline ticket. Those companies calculate their tariffs on the basis of one-way shopping and charge prices for each cut according to uptime. That means you can spend hundreds of US dollars for every stage of your travel, whether you're making a one-way ticket to Chicago or fly to seven different towns on a single route.
You can find more information about low cost carriers in our guidelines for low cost carriers. You can also book your flights on Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity, all of which are good ways to find cheap one-way flights. In our test cases, Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity showed that they outbid all one-way and round-trip fare for similar routes when competing against carriers for intercontinental fare.
Old airline companies (big US companies like United, Delta and American) often levy extra charges for one-way flights - but as I said before, these boys sometimes fit or exceed the rates of budget companies on certain itineraries. Featuring tens of thousands of fares, the best way to find cheap one-way flights for your particular travel route is to look for air fare on several pages.