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Flying Open Jaw

Rick Steves often recommends flying open jaw as a cost saver. However, when I checked prices from various airlines for return tickets and then for one way tickets, the prices for one way were only $100-200 cheaper. So, how can open jaw be less$$$ when I will still need a return flight from my last destination in Europe? Won't this be a higher price in total than the up-front fee for a 2 way ticket?

Posted by
4555 posts

Helen....many of the airfare search engines will allow you to do "multiple cities" or something similar, allowing you to fly to one city and return from another. This is much different to the airlines than simply requesting a one-way ticket. Try some "open jaws" destinations under these conditions, and see what you come up with. Sometimes they can save you money...sometimes not.

Posted by
1003 posts

I wouldn't buy two one-way tickets. Check the consolidators like expedia, orbitz, and the like. I got a ticket from LA to London (nonstop) on Virgin Atlantic and then Rome to Boston (nonstop) on Alitalia for just over $1000 for travel over the summer last year (aka, when prices are higher) through Expedia. I thought this was an excellent deal all things considered, but if I had bought the tickets direct from the two airlines' sites, it would have been more than double!! And it was just so much easier because I didn't have to travel extra to get back to London to go home, and it made it easier to stop and see my parents in Boston on the way back. I could just stay in Rome to the end, hop on the train and go home. So much easier and even if I hadn't saved much money I think it would've been worth it for the ease and convenience and the extra day I got to spend sight-seeing instead of traveling back somewhere just for a flight.

Posted by
1167 posts

The cost saving is not so much on the air fare as on the cost (time, money and inconvenience) of travel back to the arrival/departure city.

Posted by
11450 posts

I am with Helen, I did not find any open jaw ( I needed Vancouver to Rome, Rome to Vancouver) even remotely cheaper, in fact they were all alot more. I booked a return fligh to Paris and got a cheap inter Europeon flight on Vueling air to Rome. Still comes out better for me.
I do not have as many choices as some people who live near big city hub airports, so for those, perhaps they can do much better.

Posted by
357 posts

I'm not sure you're understanding what Open Jaw means. You don't book one-way tickets. You book what is usually considered multi-itinerary tickets, but only have a there and a back on your itinerary. For example, we booked on Air France (directly on their site) from Seattle to Rome (layed over in Paris) and came home from Verona to Seattle (which also layed over in Paris).
I found these to be slightly more than in and out of Rome, which would have required a trip back that would have cost as much or more than the difference.
So you are booking a 2-way ticket, but you're not flying into and out of the same airport. For example, if you want to begin your trip in London and end it in Paris, you'll book (using Seattle for me) SEA-LHR and the return trip will be CDG-SEA.

Posted by
4125 posts

My own experience is that the cost of flying into A and home from B is equal to half the cost of a round-trip to A plus half the cost of a round trip to B.

Posted by
31319 posts

PAT, I also found that Vancouver-Rome was a tough combination for flights. AC had some listed, but at a cost of $4K, which was totally unacceptable. I also came to the same conclusion that using charters to Europe and then regional flights to Rome was the best option. I believe Air Transat flies to Munich, so that's one possibility to get to Europe (closer to Rome than Paris). The other option would be WestJet to Toronto, as one of the charters has flights to Rome from there.

Although not the true "open-jaw" concept, I've used one-way tickets with two different airlines on past trips to Europe, as these were the only way I could get flights that fit my time frame. The cost was fairly reasonable.

Posted by
21332 posts

I concur with most of the other postings in that you are not using the search engines properly. Must use the multi-city and not two one way tickets. Also times and airport makes a difference. We fly Denver/Rome and Zurich/Denver last summer for about $200/person less that RT Rome. Never checked a RT for Zurich so it is possible that it was more expensive because I know that Rome is expensive because it is a high demand location. Recently priced a March ticket for a friend who could not get the "open jaws" to work. The ticket was Denver/London, Paris/Denver and it was actually $10 cheaper than RT Denver/London. I am sure it varies but it should be seriously consider for convenience and return transportation costs.

Posted by
842 posts

We could not find any cheap flights into and out of Europe for our Christmass trip, but got a great! deal on a "open jaw" Portland to Frankfurt, and then Lisbon to Portland.

Usually we can find some sort of cheap "over the pond" flight. We don't care where it goes. As spoon as we land in Europe, we have the inter EU legs of our trip booked on the lo-cost EU airlines.

But this time the "open jaw" option worked great. As has been previously stated, "open jaw" is NOT two one way tickets; when I use Orbitz to find a flight I just use the "multi-city" option, and plug in one destination for the flight over, and another for the flight back.

"Open Jaw" give you another option in your search for the best prices........especially when you use the lo cost inter-EU airlines, or train, or drive between destination cities.

Posted by
95 posts

I pretty much only fly on "sale" fares to and from Europe (teacher's budgets won't cover it otherwise). I've never found an open-jaw for the same price as a combination of the sale fare round trip and RyanAir or similar. That said, our round trip DC-Dublin this summer is $500, and our RyanAir to Frankfurt was $60, so we got a pretty good deal

Posted by
11450 posts

I know what an open jaw ticket is and how to book it (multi city) but since my point of origin is a Canadian city perhaps some of you don't understand that our options ARE more limited and no , an open jaw from my airport are outrageaously expensive, look up Victoria to Rome , Paris to Victoria, it is gross.
I will fly this discount airline( Zoom) and just take the ferry over to Vancouver( I live on the island) .

PS Zoom is now flying to Rome , BUT, darn, only from Toronto!

I have booked with Zoom Air Van-Paris return, I was able to get a premium economy ticket for just slightly more then a regalar ticket on Air Canada, and my flight to Rome was cheap!!( Vueling air)

Posted by
4555 posts

Pat...I think the point was you weren't suggesting open jaws in your original post, just round trip (Vancouver-Rome, Rome-Vancouver), and people didn't want Helen to get confused. Luckily, Helen lives close to the "center of the universe," so hopefully her open jaws options will be better :) BTW, I got Vanc-Rome, Paris-Vanc for about $75 cheaper than Vanc-Rome return.

Posted by
2703 posts

Hi Helen,
We flew "open jaw" this past Oct. which we booked directly through Lufthansa for NJ to Frankfurt and Munich back to NJ. Use the "multi-destinations" tab on websites you're looking at. The prices are constantly changing so you need to be diligent about checking fares. We wound up paying less than $600 per person. I thought that was pretty good.

Paul

Posted by
268 posts

Helen,
Flying open jaw will save you some cash, but your biggest "savings" is time not spent backtracking. For example, if youre going to tour Italy, if you can get comparable airfare by arriving Rome and departing Venice or Milan, why take the time to go all the way back to Rome at the end of your trip?

Posted by
11450 posts

Norm what airline,, WOW, I cannot believe it, there was a big difference when I did the math.. so what airline did you look at , I was only able to look at Air Canada ( out of Van) and I also looked at Northwestern out of Seattle( although the costs of getting to Seattle don't make it a good option usaully )

Posted by
486 posts

Another suggestion on open jaw. If your cities are flexible (land in Rome or Milan with return out of Paris e.g.) check both. If your itinerary is flexible (Start in Rome, end in Paris or vice versa), check both. There are differences depending upon competition, availability at time of booking, etc.

If it doesn't make any difference, go to furthest city first. Makes return flight shorter when the fun is over anyway and you just want to get home.

Check independent sites (Orbitz, Travelocity, etc) as they will look at multiple airlines and it could be Delta has cheap flights to Rome and AA has cheap flights from Paris but not vice versa)

Posted by
357 posts

When researching our open jaw options for Seattle to Italy, my only limitations is that the trip would involve both Rome and Venice. As far as we were concerned, any other city was going to be optional and based on cost of airfare.
The airports we assumed would have the best prices were Rome, Venice, and Milan. As it turned out, the cost to fly out of Venice was cheaper (by ticket) than Verona. However the early flight out required spending over 100 EUR to get to the airport from Venice. So instead I checked Verona which was just a bit more for airfare, but the price to ride the train in the day before added to the taxi fare to the airport was less than half the cost to take an arranged water taxi to the Venice airport. And the hotel cost was around 20 EUR less for that night. Plus it gave us a another town in our itinerary. I checked every airport in our regions before deciding on this itinerary. The key is flexibility (and time of year).

Posted by
18 posts

A comment for Pat. I'm in Delta (Tsawwassen) and recently booked for my family of five to travel to Europe. My advice is forget Vancouver, fly from Seattle. I couldn't find any reasonable combination out of Vancouver. I booked open jaw SEA to Paris, Rome to Seattle for 730 Can ea. all taxes in on AA. Granted this is for March and was booked in October. Good advice from others to search the consolidator sites. I like Kayak.com, but once you find a fare combination, see if you can get it from the airline site directly. I did book directly with AA.

Posted by
11450 posts

Yes, Mark, I agree Seattle is an option for us, but, remember we are stuck on this island( I love it but when planning travel it does complicate things) so we can't just jump on a bus or drive to Seattle, it involves another flight, and since many of the trans alantic flights seem to leave in morning it means an overnight in Seattle so it can often be a false economy for us. I know a friend in Surrey who will fly out of Seattle often though, they just drive down and even with parking it saves them money.

That is a great fare you got though!

Posted by
26 posts

Many thanks to everyone who responded. I checked the multi for some airlines but the rates were not that great.I also need to see about charter flights, along with using Ryan Air etc. Half of the fun of geting there is planning and getting your responses filled with great ideas. Thank you.

Posted by
5462 posts

Helen; I think some of the confusion may be due to us not knowing where you are going to or leaving from. It may very well be that your combination of cities just does not work Open Jaw via common carriers, just as some destinations may not be served well by some airlines (I may pay a fortune to fly Northwest some places that United flies for pennies) Sometimes slight changes in destinations can yield big savings. If taking the "round trip then use budgets" strategy, make sure you consider additional factors. For instance, a transfer from Heathrow to Stanstead is a significant cost in time and money (above the ticket cost), maybe even too tight to do the same day without risk of losing your flight. Other combinations have the same issues when budgets fly from different airports. You might consider too that you lose a day fying back to your departure destination if that is the case, and what the value is to you. Bottom line, look at more than ticket cost.

Posted by
2 posts

I have used www.kayak.com several times to book open jaw. When you first open the page up, click on multi-city.
My last trip to Europe was into London and home from Paris. My RT Ticket from San Francisco was $706 with tax included.

Posted by
31 posts

Sometimes you need to be creative. For instance, Aer Lingus may have some attractive round trip prices but their service area is limited. It may (or may not, do the math first) be a money saver to book roundtrip from Orlando to Dublin on Aer Lingus, then open jaw Dublin to Berlin and then Munich to Dublin. You will also need to book round trip from your nearest airport to Orlando (or Chicago or Boston or whichever Aer Lingus hub is closest). So you fly "home" to Orlando to Dublin to Berlin. Hopefully you like airports. Return is Munich to Dublin .... This way you can also schdule a couple days in Dublin, if you want. Allow airport time for late flights and gate checkin.

Another thing to try is find the airport's website, Munich for instance. Find out what airlines fly into Munich airport, then see which ones also fly into your airport. There should be more flight opportunities with less plane changes within the same airline.