The number one reason to buy one way flights is to save money—although convenience may be as or more important than cheap flights.
“I did not know you could do that,” someone said when I mentioned buying one way tickets for a trip.
A round trip itinerary with a single carrier might cost more if one of the flights (outbound or return) has fewer available seats.
For example, an outbound flight might have seats at the lowest price but the return flight is $100 more. If so, buy the cheaper flight as a one way ticket and the return flight on another airline for $100 less.
How to do that?
Here are seven other reasons to buy one way flights:
- Preferred airlines. Fortunately, legacy carriers must offer one way flights to compete with younger airlines (like Southwest and JetBlue).
- Rails. Take a great train ride in one direction.
- Roads. Visit gorgeous scenic roads, deliver an RV or rental car, or help a friend move across the country.
- Relocate. Move to another country, temporarily or permanently.
- Different airports. Instead of a simple round trip between two cities, let’s say you will fly from New York to Los Angeles, drive up highway 1, and fly back from San Francisco. Such itineraries are called open jaw flights.
- Long trips. Discounted international round trip flights may require passengers to return within 30 days. If you want to spend a few months in Europe, buying two one way tickets instead of a round trip ticket will likely cost much less.
- Convenience. One way flights may be more convenient with the routings (nonstop or better connection airport), days and times, or whatever (preferred airline, frequent flyer bonus, to fly with family/friends).
By the way, the one way flights I booked were from Baltimore to Seattle and Calgary to Washington-Dulles. That shows you can get creative with your routings to create wonderful trips.