Many people don’t realize that when you book a round trip flight, the airline has no idea what you are going to do with the return half of your ticket. They could care less if you use it or not. Airlines only make money when you fly with them.
It is a little known fact that airlines do not actually lose any money on one way tickets. In fact, they even make a little extra profit from these tickets. This is because these tickets are not purchased as often as round trip tickets and thus have a higher fare price attached to them.
The reason airlines charge so much for one way tickets is that most travelers who purchase this type of ticket are traveling on business and their company pays for their ticket (usually in cash). Needless to say, companies don’t want to pay twice as much for a ticket as they have to and will therefore opt for round trip tickets, whenever possible.
Why You SHOULD Buy One Way Tickets: There are times when buying one way tickets can be beneficial (this usually depends on the route). Many smaller regional carriers that offer point-to-point service (instead of connecting flights) will offer insanely low prices on one way fares. For example, Alaska Airlines offers many flights between smaller cities for just $20-$30 one
A lot of people search for one way tickets, but what they don’t know is that it can be very expensive.
One way flights are expensive and here’s why: Airlines sell one way tickets at a higher price because they assume that you’re booking a one way flight because you’re going on vacation and probably don’t have a set return date.
Because of this, the airline assumes that they can make more money by selling you the ticket at a higher price since they know you’re less likely to look around for cheaper alternatives.
It’s not just vacationers that book one way flights though. Business travelers also book one way flights, but their itineraries typically change all the time. The airlines still sell these flights at a high price because they know business travelers will pay it.
So how do you get around paying this high price? Book round trip tickets instead!
It used to be that buying a one way airline ticket was a much easier task. You just went down to your local travel agent and they’d set you up with whatever you wanted. But today it’s not so easy.
There are many reasons why you should not buy one way tickets, even if it seems cheaper in the moment. The most common reason is that it is NOT CHEAPER. Here’s a few reasons why:
One way tickets are normally more expensive than a round trip ticket (especially from the US), so don’t even bother checking for a one way ticket first. It will almost always be more expensive.
Airlines don’t want you to fly with them once and never again, so they make their one way tickets very expensive.
If you were to buy two separate one way flights, the total price of all those flights could actually equal or exceed the cost of a round trip ticket!
One way tickets are harder to find, so this means having to spend more time researching different airlines and routes which could end up costing you more money, time and energy.
Most times of the year, round trip tickets are much better deals than one ways because they have more availability
The biggest mistake that people make when booking their air travel is to purchase a one way ticket. Many times this is because they are planning on using their frequent flyer miles for the return trip or they are not sure of their return date. The thought process is basically this: if I have to pay for the flight there, I might as well purchase a one way ticket and then figure out how to get home later.
But this is a bad idea for three main reasons:
Flexibility – Airlines offer more flexibility in scheduling with round trip tickets. If you want to leave at 5pm instead of 9am, you can do so by paying the difference in fare (which may be a lot less than the entire cost of a new one way ticket) plus a change fee. With most airlines, you can’t change the origin or destination city on a one way ticket.
Price – One way tickets are almost always more expensive than round trip tickets. This is because airlines know that people who buy one way tickets only need one leg of travel and will often pay more for it (especially business travelers). Plus, with some discount carriers, if you buy two separate one way tickets with them they will add in hundreds of dollars worth of “fees” that you would
If you’ve been following along with the blog for a while, you know that I usually try to book one-way tickets instead of round trips. It’s cheaper, more flexible and results in less hassle when your plans change. But there are a few times when it actually makes sense to buy a round trip ticket instead.
Typically you can save money using a flight search engine like Kayak or Google Flights – they’ll show you how much you can save by booking two one-way flights compared to buying a round trip. If the savings is significant, go ahead and book those two tickets.
But if it’s not… then keep reading!
Here are 3 times when it makes sense to buy a round trip ticket, even though you’re going to pay more.
1. Your Return Date Is Flexible
If you’re anything like me, your return date is always flexible – usually because there’s no way of knowing exactly how long you’ll want to stay in one place. And if that’s the case, then you should always just book a one-way ticket so that you have the flexibility to leave whenever you want.
Except for when it actually costs an arm and a leg to extend your stay or change your flights. For example:
If you’re planning a vacation, you may find that a one way flight would be cheaper than a round trip flight. It sounds convenient, doesn’t it? Just buy the ticket and set off on your trip.
But there is more to consider than just the cost of the ticket when buying a one way flight. The price of the ticket itself isn’t necessarily the main thing that matters.
If you are planning on flying internationally, you may need to meet certain requirements in order to enter the country. You may even need to satisfy certain requirements in order to fly into the country.
For example, if you want to fly into Canada, you will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). This is regardless of whether or not you have a Canadian visa. The eTA costs $7 CAD and is valid for 5 years. It can be applied for online and usually takes less than 10 minutes to process. If you don’t have an eTA and try to board your flight, they will likely turn you away at the gate. The same applies for flying out of Canada; you need an eTA in order to fly out of Canada if your final destination is outside of Canada and Mexico.
In order to apply for an eTA, there
A few months ago I was at the airport to pick up a friend. He is British, and had flown over to Los Angeles from London on Virgin Airlines. As he walked toward me, I could see him struggling with his two bags. His face was red and he looked like he was in pain. I ran over and grabbed one of his bags to help him out.
“How was your flight?” I asked as we walked to baggage claim.
He gave me a look that said it all: “Glad it’s over.”
“I’m never flying long-haul again,” he said. “That sucked.”
I could tell something bad had happened, so I kept prodding until he finally spilled the beans:
“Yeah, the seats were uncomfortable and I couldn’t sleep the whole way… but that wasn’t the worst part,” he said.
“What do you mean?”
“When we got on the plane, there was a [expletive] in every seat except for one middle seat on the very back of the plane,” he explained. “So my wife and I sat down in our middle seats. The guy next to me was so gross — he smelled terrible.”
“Whoa, that’s awful.”