Avoid Higher Airline Prices for “Open Jaw” Flights

October 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Recently, the country’s three major airlines each implemented a little change to their pricing models that, if you’re not careful, can end up costing you a lot more per flight.

The change, says The New York Times, could make it up to seven times more expensive for those who fly what’s called an “open jaw” route.
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That’s where you fly to a particular destination, but return home from a different one. For example, if you flew to Miami, but flew home from Orlando, that’s an “open jaw,” or multi-city flight.

We don’t want you to be caught unaware, so here are some things we suggest you do before you purchase a multi-city or open jaw ticket.

  • Check into the cost of two one-way tickets. There’s a very good chance the two tickets will cost less than the one open-jaw flight. The example we saw in the Times story showed a $1200 price tag for a Jacksonville, FL to Los Angeles/San Francisco to Jacksonville. But as two separate tickets, it was $400.
  • Don’t book non-refundable tickets. Those tickets are already higher in price, so all you’re doing is adding to your cost unnecessarily.
  • When booking online, be sure to select the search option “lowest price” or “best fare.” This will automatically show you options you may not have been aware of.
  • Consider whether the cost to return to the city you landed in would be cheaper than flying out from a different one. For example, you might be able to rent a car to drive back to LAX to return to Jacksonville for less than flying out of San Francisco to Jacksonville.

It’s always important to research your ticket buying options, especially if you have a complicated travel itinerary. Do your research, and make sure you’ve considered the alternatives before you finally buy your ticket.

Have you ever flown an “open jaw” flight? How did your pricing compare? Tell us about it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Adrian Pingstone (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

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