I have been watching airfares to Europe in June and found that a round-trip ticket to Amsterdam is several hundred dollars more than continuing to one of two desired destination cities hundreds of miles beyond. Also, while an open jaw ticket to the two desired destination cities beyond Amsterdam is a great concept, it is far more expensive than a round-trip ticket to one city plus a separate round-trip to the other city. Insane? Sergeant Esterhaus' caution remains true, "Let's be careful out there."
Sometimes such things happens on the airline pricing world. It's all about supply and demand. Actually, it is quite common that a flight between A and B will be cheaper if you pick an airline that flies an indirect route via C with a connection. It's the way connecting flights get sold instead of direct ones (if they cost the same, who'd fly from US to Amsterdam via Rome or from US to Rome via Amsterdam?)
Flights are all supply and demand. Go to a high volume locale, and it's going to cost you more. If you think the flight prices are going to go down, don't be very optimistic. Airlines are controlling the seats to where they'll even park airplanes of a route is not profitable. There may be a few spot low prices for later this year, but they're going to come fast and go fast. If you think flights are high, high flying sister is taking a luxury cruise from Rome to Lisbon in June. Her business class tickets from MEM to FCO and LIS to MEM are $5700ish.
I think Bruce has raised a different issue and I have noticed it too. I have been monitoring prices between Seattle and LHR on British, just to see what happens for summer fares as we get closer to the date. Just now I checked that and also Seattle to Zurich with a stop at LHR in each direction, all on British. Here is what I found: Seattle to LHR RT, early July, mid-week flights, $1830 Seattle to LHR to ZRH RT, same dates, $1636!!! Go figure.
Are you sure you are looking at the right open jaw tickets. We fly open jaw nearly all the time and never find open jaw to be substantially more expensive and often cheaper. Be interested to know your open jaw cities.
Sometimes, it depends on when summer vacations will be in those various cities. If you check airfares for Frankfurt when school vacations begin or end here, the prices are vastly different than for a city that has their vacation at a different time. School vacations in Amsterdam will be at a different time than in Berlin, or Paris for example. It pays to check these out. Here is the Netherland schedule: http://www.holidays-info.com/School-Holidays-Holland/school-holidays-holland.html Other countries, including Germany:
The destination cities are Stockholm and Berlin. We use open jaw tickets regularly, but in this case a round-trip ticket to Stockholm (not Berlin) and then a separate round-trip ticket to the other city is the best value. It just shows that shopping various and sometimes counterintuitive flight options can be worthwhile.
Nope. That's just the way it works. Nothing all that surprising. Also, just as a word of caution since we are on the topic, if you feel tempted to buy that cheaper ticket to the small town and then just not take the last flight and stay in AMS... do not do it. You will lose your entire return ticket. For normal economy fares on normal airlines. I'm sure there are some exceptions out there, but for the most part if you miss a leg of your trip, you lose the rest of your trip.
Slow night so I have been playing around with Bruce's comments about "far more expensive" and cannot find the same conclusion. I have always found open-jaw to be nearly the same. $120 difference is hardly far more expensive especially when you fact in time and cost of the other RT ticket. RT Stockholm, mid-June $912 - $1079 Into Stockholm and home from Berlin $1200 Into Stockholm, to Berlin, and home from Berlin (3 legs) $1400
Frank: If you are using Denver for calculations that may account for the differences as we do not live next to a true international airport.
The starting point has impact on the total cost but not the marginal cost. The marginal cost between RT, open-jaw, or three legs is about same whether you go from Denver, Kansas City, or Chicago.
I think Bruce is looking at the extra cost to get from Whitefish ( Kalispel airport) to an international hub like Denver, Seattle, etc.
The fine folks in the cubicles setting airfares must not have received the rational pricing memo. For example, a quick check this morning reveals it costs $338 more to travel round-trip from here to Amsterdam, rather than more than 700 miles further to Stockholm. The flights to/from Stockholm stop in Amsterdam. Again, shop, shop, shop.
I have been following Toronto-Paris-Montpellier-Toronto prices for several months now. Air France has the best prices and connections. Prices started out in the $1300 range and over the last couple months have dropped to close to $900. We were waiting for our travelling buddies to come back home from Florida before we booked. They got back on the weekend and guess what, the price jumped over $300 a ticket Monday. I checked again today (Tuesday) and the price was back down to $900 for the flights we wanted. I guess the lesson is never buy airline tickets on Monday!!!
Bruce: There's nothing "insane" about airline pricing. It's all carefully designed (with decades of computer algorithms) to extract the maximum dollar from passengers. People seem to forget that the airlines' goal is not to give us cheap fares; that's our goal, as passengers. Their goal is to maximize revenue. An example I found, similar to yours, about 10 years ago: a flight on SAS from EWR through STO to SVO (Moscow) was about $100 cheaper than a flight from EWR to STO. Why? Because they can get more money from passengers flying Newark to Stockholm than they can from passengers flying Newark to Moscow. That's all there is to it. Domestically, I read years ago that flights to Atlanta (mostly business passengers) were often more expensive than flights through Atlanta to Florida cities (mostly price-sensitive leisure travelers). So, this old book advised booking a ticket through Atlanta to Florida, and just throwing out the un-needed ticket segments. As everyone has correctly posted above, if you try that now, the airline will cancel the rest of your ticket. Why do they do this? To prevent just this scenario! The airline has no intention of letting you "pull a fast one" (as they see it) and not pay a certain price for a certain route, if they can help it. More "insanity" (again, not crazy, just the caprices of what the market will bear): when I was looking at airfares for autumn 2011 out of New York, I found that Istanbul and Warsaw were substantially cheaper than anywhere else in Europe. And, while Warsaw and Krakow were almost the same price, Gdansk was $200 more. Again, why - who knows? Luckily for me, I ended up taking my mother to Istanbul, and we had a great time, so sometimes these things work out.