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How does open jaw work?

Can I book an open jaw ticket online? Do airlines give any sort of discount for open jaw? Is open jaw really just a fancy way to say "one way?" WHat's the inside scoop??

Posted by
506 posts

Open jaw really depends on where the open jaw takes place and how the fares are filed by the carriers.

Typically, it is a scenario when you book something like into Paris and return from Rome. How you get to Rome is of no consequence. What happens is that the system will price this as a round trip ticket - HOWEVER it will usually need to be on the same carrier. Discounts - no - not the purpose.

Unfortunately, this is not always so clear cut - there are little rules that can occur (very airline technical) that will not allow a ticket to be booked as an open jaw (Round trip) and force two one way tickets. An example being that the distance between the two cities (the open jaw portion) is greater than where you originated from - i.e. NYC to Paris return from Beijing to NYC.

Many websites will allow you to book - look for the "multiple destination" option.

Posted by
189 posts

Thanks for your reply. Do you think I'd be better off doing this over the phone then? We also want to use some mileage. Yikes, travel used to be so simple when we all used agents and didn't have the option of figuring it out ourselves.

Posted by
359 posts

Recently booked 'open jaw' into London, out of Rome; using ff miles. Tried the carrier's online site, got frustrated and called instead. Lucked out with a helpful operator, paid a few extra $'s for phoning versus online, and got their lowest(80K) mileage rate for business class, both ways. I'd phone it in.

Posted by
1449 posts

for frequent mileage redemption on open-jaw you usually have to call the airline. Ask nicely if they will waive the phone fee since you wanted to book it online but can't do open-jaw that way. Worked once for me...

Posted by
4745 posts

Doreen, I almost always book open jaw over the internet. Basically, this just means flying into one city and returning from a different city. For example, I might fly Washington DC to London and then return Paris to Washington DC.

On most web-sites, you will select an option that says 'multi-destination' or 'multi-city' instead of one-way or round-trip.

Where it sometimes is a little more challenging is if you want to fly a particular airline and they don't fly into one of the two cities. Also, if you are using frequent flyer miles, you almost always have to talk to a person. I use the site sidestep.com or kayak.com just to get an idea of what routes are possible.

Posted by
658 posts

Open Jaw used to be a really weird ticket with some very odd set of rules, but that was back in the not so distant days when it was often cheaper to buy a return flight than it was to buy a single. For the past five years at least most airlines have come to terms with the insanity of the way it used to be. Nowadays most major airlines offer sensibly priced one way tickets. So today’s open jaws are more often two one way tickets. Many will have a different fare basis for each sector. Nowadays the only factors governing the price of an open jaw is availability. Popularity of the route and time of day or day of the week. Years ago airlines used to have whole teams of Fares specialists who would calculate rates and fix the terms and conditions, these days it can be done by your average seven year old.

Posted by
658 posts

In fact there are days when I suspect that the whole of the travel industry is organised by a slightly demented seven year old !

Posted by
11978 posts

There isn't a discount for open jaw and there isn't one for roundtrip. One of the options will be cheaper, depending on where and when you fly, but it is as likely to be the open jaw route as the round trip. Be sure to check out "nearby" airports and various travel dates when you shop, sometimes the savings more than offsets the inconvenience of the change.

Some of the online sites aren't set up to book an open jaw. They can't seem to get past round trip flights. Others give you the option of entering your departure city for your return trip.

Since the best deals seem to change everytime I travel. I always check out multiple websites, then check directly with the airline before I book. I choose the best deal unless for a few extra dollars I can fly a better airline, better aircraft or better schedule.

Posted by
85 posts

Last summer I flew into Rome from Chicago and returned to the U.S. from Frankfurt flying into Dallas. This summerI will fly into Rome from Houston (via Newark) and return to the U.S. from Paris flying into Houston. It's easy to do and I've had no problems.