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Open jaw flights

I see that open jaw flights are popular on this forum. I can find them on places Skyscanner and google flights for decent prices. Where do you usually book them? I see people also saying they book their flights directly through the airlines (vs Expedia, Travelocity, etc) but then I don’t have the open jaw option (unless using same airline and then it seems more $$).

Posted by
291 posts

Some people tend to use "open jaw" and "circle fares" interchangeably, though technically I suppose there are differences.

If it's a multi-city (for example, fly from SFO to LHR, then FRA to SFO) ticket you're interested in, though, most airline websites will have that option. They just tend not to present it by default on their homepage, or the first booking page/interface on their site. There's usually an "Advanced Options" or "Advanced Search" link on the airline site, that will then give you the option to search multi-city fares and book multi-city tickets. If you're wanting to avoid using the same airline or partners because their prices aren't appealing, you'd really be looking at two one-way tickets (which often isn't the cheapest way to go). In fact, I think one of the main reasons open-jaw flights can offer up so many savings for someone planning on visiting multiple cities is the airline is essentially treating it as a round trip, which often nets better prices than two one ways.

Posted by
852 posts

Open-jaw is often called multi-city on airline sites, and they may not be cheaper, but they can save you the time and expense of returning to your first city. Your itinerary will decide if it's a good choice.

Posted by
371 posts

We always book open jaw/multi city - we book on the airline website -- or we have AAA book for us. We don't ever like to circle back to the same place - we've been to Europe many times and have never flown in and out of the same city.

Posted by
3141 posts

Multi-city is the option to choose when booking an open-jaw itinerary. I book them on Delta as I typically fly that airline.

Posted by
5019 posts

Different airlines use different terminology. Usually it's something like "multi-city".

Posted by
6543 posts

With the budget European airlines I fly, flights are purchased from Point A to Point B. And then from Point C to Point A--if that makes sense.
The open jawed flights sometimes cost a little more, but often they don't with the big legacy carriers.
But traveling back to the original point of arrival is inefficient, expensive and time consuming.

Posted by
3441 posts

Yes, many airlines offer multi-destination searches. Especially across the Atlantic they can save money and lots of time. The process gets more complicated when there are two or more airlines connecting for part of the round trip. If they don't share tickets, then it may be necessary to use an on-line agency such as those the first post mentioned. My favourite for information is matrix.itasoftware.com which I thinks list more combinations than most searches, more than Google Flights even though the Matrix is owned by Google. But the Matrix information must be pursued through another agency since it does not sell tickets.
For ease and efficiency I often look at www.cheapoair.com despite the frizzy name.
Warning: For seat reservations on complicated itineraries it is often necessary to go to the appropriate airlines after purchase. You may need to know both your reservation confirmation and booking number, and you almost certainly will have to pay for the reservation, on each flight. That's how the business works these days. And a small tip: Check the baggage restrictions on each airline site since the carry-on limits may vary between the airlines.

Posted by
20 posts

I guess I didn’t make my question clear. Sorry. I know it says multi city. So say I find a trip on google flights for LAX to FRA and then Munich to LAX say Aer Lingus one way and then back is American Air for a reasonable price but would have to book through some weird site that I’ve never heard of (Fareboom or vayama). It seems people avoid doing that and of course if I book the one way on American’s website then it is way more expensive. So do most that do this multi city flight use one airline only? I’m not finding good deals using one airline multi city options only when airlines are mixed and matched. With the exception of Norwegian of course which I just am trying to avoid. Hope I make sense!

Posted by
20634 posts

As stated many times it is multi- city and it can be more than just two cities. We have done as many as four legs (four cities) on one set of tickets and the saving can be substantial. However, you need to price all options. We almost always say that two one-way tickets (out and back) are more expensive. BUT !!!! just this last week I book two one-way tickets that were $300 cheaper per ticket than the exact same RT ticket. And that was directly with the airline. Have no idea why that was but I didn't complain. The airline fare game will never be understood by anyone.

Posted by
20 posts

I’m sorry- I see the first reply I got actually answered my question a bit. Not finding a good deal using the actual airlines!

Posted by
291 posts

It's worth keeping in mind what's being compared to what in order to define "good deal".

For many people, they're including in the decision the hassle of getting from wherever their vacation leads them back to the airport they originally flew in to. If you're visiting multiple cities and countries in Europe, the time, effort, and money (for a short hop flight or train ticket) getting from wherever you are at the tail end of your trip back to that arrival airport could make a round trip from it less of a deal than multi-city - even if the multi-city fare is a bit more than the round trip fare.

Posted by
3316 posts

When multiple airlines and an online booking agency all get involved in your flight, it can lead to you getting left behind when things don't go as scheduled. Each airline points to the other and they all point to the booking agency and says "They need to fix it!" If you book directly with an airline, you avoid most of that since you have eliminated where the fingers can be pointed.

I always book directly with airlines. If that means booking one way flights on different airlines and getting a better price than the multi-city option, then so be it. Unfortunately, one way flights are seldom to never less costly than the multi city options.

Posted by
1060 posts

Yes, this can be confusing. Yes, if you find a good deal using 'multi-city' with one airline (or code shares), then best to book directly with the airline. But you are right that sites like Expedia or Travelocity offer multi-city combinations pairing different airlines - maybe out on American, return on United. If you find something like that and it's definitely better than anything you are finding for sale by one airline, then go for it! Sites such as Expedia and Travelocity are reliable; I have and will continue to book with them if I find a deal that's much better than I can find on an airline site. As soon as you book via them, you will get confirmed flights and flight codes for each of your flights. However, less well known sites (Cheapoair, etc.), be very careful; there are a lot of stories of people having problems / poor customer service. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
613 posts

LIZinPA nailed it. I usually start with Kayak to see where to go next, usually an airline website. If you are taking a tour or a cruise, the tour company or cruise company's travel department may offer the best deal.

It may also be worthwhile consulting a travel agent for consolidator fares.

Posted by
2046 posts

I have had some great success with the site “Fareboom”. They have good reviews. What I discovered is that while most of their fares can be found elsewhere, they appear to be able to consolidate BA and American flights. We will later this year be taking our second open jaw this way, out on BA, back AA (or vice versa), at a substantial savings to the combo being sold on either BA or AA websites. Why? I do not know. And as an added bonus, the economy seating chart on the AA flight is available with Fareboom for selection immediately from all of the seats that are not marked up until check-in, the BA seating of course must wait until exactly 24 hours before check-in to select - and not a second sooner.

Posted by
2811 posts

I think your main question is what site to book from for the best prices of open jaw flights.
As stated, my first stop shop is matrix ita software. If it is listed there, you should be able to build it on the airline's website, even if it is with a code share airline.

I find that sometimes you can get a flight A - B, but C - A doesn't work because the originating airline doesn't have a code share from that city. This might be where these obscure websites look to fill the void, but it might mean moving away from the framework of a 'one ticket' multi leg trip.
Sometimes you get what you pay for. If cheapest, it might mean losing the ability to get any support if things don't go well. That tends to matter as trips get more complicated, or winter/weather travel, or problematic airports used for transfers.

Using 3rd party agents have traditionally meant lost of customer support. Travelocity and Expedia have some reputation for helping, but when things are urgent it is less than satisfactory to be standing in a foreign airport trying to get Expedia on the line when the airline agent is right in front of you. Other than these, service is not well reviewed.
You have to decide what ease of mind costs to you.

Posted by
2046 posts

I guess I didn’t clarify my post about Fareboom. In both these were “open jaw” trips. Last year was Philly to Munich via Heathrow on BA and return direct from Prague to Philly on American. this year it is actually double open jaw, direct from Newark to Heathrow on BA, and home direct from Edinburgh to Philly on American. Again these were at substantial savings per ticket, in the hundreds, and could not be done except at regular prices on either airline's site.

Why Fareboom could offer this, I do not know.