Why would I buy one way tickets? Why should you consider them? The simple answer is that you can potentially save lots of money or find more convenient flights.
Sometimes, a round trip flight is more expensive than it should be because one the flights (outbound or return) has fewer available seats. For example, your outbound flight is as cheap as it can be but the return flight is $100 higher. In this case, buy your outbound flight as a one way ticket and look for a return flight on another airline for $100 less.
How do I do that?
On Kayak, click the "One-way" button and search each date. On Orbitz, click the "One-way" underlined option. It is that simple with other booking engines, too.
There are other times to look for one way flights.
* Buying a one way flight allows you to drive or take a train in one direction (or take a "permanent vacation").
* Buying one way flights lets you use different airports. Instead of a simple round trip between two cities, let's say you will fly from New York to Los Angeles, drive up highway 1, and fly back from San Francisco.
* For long trips (like a summer in Europe), buy two one way tickets instead of a round trip ticket, since most round trips require a return within 30 days.* One way flights may be more convenient with the routings (nonstop or better connection airport), days and times, or whatever (preferred airline, frequent flyer bonus, to fly with family/friends).
Fortunately, one way flights are easy to find, as the legacy carriers must offer them to compete with smaller airlines (like Southwest and jetBlue). Finding one way car rentals can be a challenge but that is another skill for another time.
By the way, my recent one way flights were Baltimore to Seattle and Calgary to Washington-Dulles. That shows you can get creative with your routings to have wonderful trips.
© 2008, Charles McCool