One-way Vs Return Flights
Now that you have gained knowledge of fare validity and the rules to making amendments to flights I want to take a look at what kind of flight is the best option, one-way Vs return flights.
To find out what the best option is for you will depend on the type of trip you are taking and whether or not you know when your return date will be.
Generally speaking, a return flight is in most cases, the cheapest option. Many believe that getting a one-way flight should literally be worth only half the price of a full return fare. This is certainly not the case.
One-way flights are around the 60 to 70% mark when compared to the same fare for a return, which is the same booking class.
In fact, some of the airlines do not allow one-way flights on their cheaper booking classes.
Just a reminder, that the booking class is grouped into roughly 9 seats per price.
Therefore for a one-way ticket you are paying that 60-70% of the higher booking classes of that airlines return ticket.
The reason for this is due to the fact that the airline now needs to sell a seat from your destination back to the place of origin. So they bump up the price to make up that potentially lost money.
Seeing as one-way flights can be up to that 70% of a full return fare, it may still be cheaper to buy a return ticket, even if you are only travelling one-way.
So make sure that you get a quote for both one-way and return. If the return fare is cheaper, all you need to do is be a no-show for that return flights departure.
But what if you do want to return? Which would be the best option?
As I mentioned in the previous article, your return must have an end date within that tickets fare validity to avoid fees, avoiding the possibility of increased fares and of course seat availability.
If you change your dates outside that fare validity then you need to buy the increase in ticket or buy a whole new ticket. Therefore choosing the correct fare type has become essential.
When you book your return fare you must put in the departure and return date, re- gardless of how long that validity is for.
So if you book a 3 month valid fare in order to save costs then you must return within that time frame. If you extend the time longer than the 3 months then you may need to book a one-way or return (if it is cheaper) while you are at your destination. Therefore you end up spending more… a lot more.
What you need to do is have a long hard think about when you plan on returning from your destination. If you a flying to a destination for 6 months for example, but you are thinking you may stay a little longer, then make sure you buy a 12 month valid ticket.
The comparison of the 6 month to 12 month fare may not to be too large of difference to worry about and therefore you should go ahead and book that 12 month ticket.
If you return within that 6 month period then you have only lost the difference in the original fare, but if you do over stay your fare validity then you will be losing money on upgrading your fare to the 12 month ticket.
Another bonus with the 12 month ticket is that airfares generally only come out up to 10 months in advance.
You’re probably thinking why you would buy a fare for 12 months validity, but can only book up to 10 months?
I thought the same thing when I first looked at a 12 month ticket to Europe.
In actual fact, when I backpacked Europe I had no idea how long I would stay. Maybe 12 months maybe less or maybe more. I really had no idea.
So I booked a one-way flight but as I returned within the 12 months I would have been better off booking that 12 month return ticket and just changing the date when I knew I was to return.
Seeing as the flights only come out, up to 10 months in advance means that you have to put in a return date to actually purchase the ticket. But it only allows you to put in up to the 10 month mark. So the airlines are a little more flexible on these 12 month fares.
Let’s say you are booking a flight from the 1st of January and plan to return on the 31st of December. When you go to book that flight you can only book
your return flight up to the 1st of October. And so, you must add some tentative date for your return.
What you need to do is contact the airline immediately after booking, or contact the airline directly to make the booking. This way they put in your return date as the 1st of October, but they will put a note in your booking to say that no amendment charges to be charged to you to changed up to that 12 month mark.
This has to be done at the time of your booking; otherwise they will charge you amendment fees. This is why it is probably best to get the airline themselves to book in the flight.
Keep in mind however that you can only change the one time without any charge. Any further changes will of course attract the fees and charges as per the airlines terms and conditions.
The best trick here is to book that return flight as soon as it becomes available.
In the above example you would look at changing your return leg sometime in March. The reason you want to do this as early as possible is to avoid any fare increases plus for better chances of seat availability.
Chances are you may still not know what date you like to return by March and therefore you should hold off to avoid amendment fees later on. That is changing your flight in March for free and then changing it again later on which is then attracting the fees.
However do be careful because if you leave the booking for the return date until later in the year then you must keep in mind that seats on those flights will start filling up.
In general the earlier you book, the better. Hopefully this book has at least taught you that so far.
If you booked in March, you will most likely get the cheapest booking class, but if you left it until October to change the return date then you will likely only be able to get the highest priced seats, due to availability. This means a much higher fare and you pay the difference.
If you really do need to wait to book that return fare, then try at least make it no less than a month prior to the return.
Hopefully this clears up which ticket you should get. Remember that return fares are typically cheaper.
Also remember that if you book a 12 month ticket, you can contact the airline and get a note added so that they won’t charge you for that first amendment, so long as it is within the fare validity.