When One-Way Tickets Are Cheaper Than Round-Trip Fares

“From Salt Lake to Jacksonville, it’s like $450 one way,” Mr. Sommer said. “So, instead I’m going Salt Lake to New York for $119, and then New York to Jacksonville for around $100, both one-way tickets.”

That sounds convoluted and also counterintuitive. Aren’t round-trip tickets always cheaper than one-way fares? “No, you’d be surprised. You have to work the system,” said Mr. Sommer, a technology consultant who flew about 200,000 miles on business last year.

There are lots of people out there who are very good at booking flights, and flying around the world for very little. I am not one of those people, so I depend on my obsessive deal-watching friends to alert me to $250 round-trip tickets to Spain. I’m especially interested in how this frequent flyer buys affordable plane tickets, because I too prefer to buy one-way plane tickets instead of round-trip flights, even though that’s generally a more expensive thing to do — but apparently not if you plan your trip right!

But buying a bunch of different one way tickets to get to your destination also sounds like a bit of nightmare to me, especially since I don’t like to be at airports any longer than absolutely necessary. Still, I am intrigued! Does anyone else fly in roundabout ways to get cheaper fares?

Photo: Greg and Mellina/Flickr

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.