Travel Tip: Save Money With Split Tickets AKA Split Fares (Revisited)

Many people are currently planning  summer trips and I want to reintroduce the split ticket strategy which can save you loads of money.

Recently, I have spoken to several people or read online about proposed itineraries with connecting flights.

I have received or seen requests for flights to Alaska, Istanbul, Berlin, Sydney, Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), and more.

The departure airports differed in each case but there was no nonstop flight option.

Each itinerary involves mandatory connecting flights. That is, the routings are such that the passenger MUST connect in an interim airport. There are no nonstop or direct flights between the departure and arrival airports.

When I am forced to make a connection, I research how much it costs to buy two different flights. This is what I call split tickets.

Flights to Sydney, Australia from the US East coast make at least one connection. The lowest fare for many flights between Dulles (near DC) and Sydney in July cost about $2,200 and connect through Los Angeles. Flights between Los Angeles and Sydney during the same period are as low as $1,200.

Buying two separate round trips (Dulles-Los Angeles AND Los Angeles-Sydney) makes financial sense if the Dulles to Los Angeles flight is under $1,000. Current fares are $376. By buying separate round trip tickets for this routing, you save more than $600 (per passenger!). Now you can afford to stay another night in Australia!

Three Advantages of Split Tickets

As the ad guys say, “but wait, there’s more!

First, split tickets can save you money. One example is above.

Second, you can pick your favorite airlines. For example, instead of choosing between only American, United, and Delta between the East coast and Hawaii, you can fly JetBlue or Virgin and Hawaiian Airlines.

Third, you can create stopovers. The above $2,200 fares between Dulles and Australia require passengers to travel straight through. When connecting in Los Angeles, you must take the next flight. If you wanted to stay for a couple of days, it is a different fare situation and much more expensive.

When buying two separate round trip tickets, you decide how long to stay in interim cities. In fact, I have created itineraries through two separate interim destinations. For instance, fly from East coast to San Francisco and stay a few days. Fly to Hawaii and stay a week. Return flight to Los Angeles (or San Diego or Las Vegas) and stay a few days. Return flight back to East coast.

Split tickets are not less expensive for every connecting routing. Every once in awhile, though, it makes perfect sense. After all, even the best baseball player does not hit a home run every time.

For more information about split tickets please see my previous articles: Air Travel Tip: Split Tickets and Air Travel Tip: Split Tickets Part 2.

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