Open-jaw flights: What are they and why you should try them

By Alina GoncharovaFeb 24, 2024 22:45 PMBudget trips
Open-jaw flights: What are they and why you should try them
Comfortable airplane travel. Source: Image ThePixelman/Pixabay

When planning a trip, you may find that a significant portion of the costs are for airfare, which in some cases can be very expensive. But is there a way around this? If you're looking for a way to save money while travelling or are preparing for an upcoming vacation in advance, we recommend booking an"open-jaw flight". These flights allow you the flexibility you need to travel and are especially popular with those who like to discover new places and explore different parts of the world. Find out how flights with a change of return destination can dramatically change the way you travel and positively impact your trip.

How open-jaw flights work

A standard round-trip flight involves departing from one place and returning to the same place. For example, you can book a ticket from Washington to London, spend your vacation there, and then return to the United States capital via a similar route.

Open-jaw flight implies that the user travels from the point of departure to the destination but returns to the starting point from a different location. Using this method, it is possible, for example, to fly from San Francisco to Atlanta, then travel along the Los Angeles coast and return to San Francisco. Such flights can be operated by one airline or by different companies when you need to buy two one-way tickets.

Open-jaw flights vs. multi-city flights

Open-jaw flights: What are they and why you should try them
Making an itinerary. Source: Image TheAndrasBarta/Pixabay

Open-jaw flight is often used in the aviation industry to describe flights that have a non-standard route structure, for example, when a passenger flies from one city to another and then returns to the starting point from a different location to the "home" airport. This usually involves using an additional mode of transportation between the two destinations, such as a boat, car, train, etc.

The biggest difference between open-jaw flights and multi-city flights is that you don't need to book one-way airline tickets for the entire trip. There are other types of multi-city flights where the traveller visits each destination during their trip, such as New York to London, London to Paris, Paris to New York, or where they book a series of one-way flights and do not return to their "home" airport. Open-jaw flights or itineraries that include multiple cities are a great way to save time and money.

What are the benefits of booking a flight with a change of return destination?

There are several reasons why an open-jaw flight is a good choice.

  1. Save money. This travel option is especially beneficial if you are travelling to a location with a well-developed railroad connection. For example, if you are travelling from the US to Europe, you may want to visit several major cities at once, such as Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, etc. Thus, there's no point in returning to the same city again as it's better to spend this time exploring a new location. In this way, travellers can not only see more interesting places but also save on a transatlantic ticket and travel within Europe.
  2. Flexibility. You can analyze different options from several carriers and create your own customized itinerary. It is also a way to add spontaneity to your trip as you can explore more places.
  3. Wide range of options for planning your own route.

Even if you don't have a goal to visit as many places as possible, you can use this flight model when travelling to large cities with multiple airports. For example, it can be much cheaper to fly to John F. Kennedy International Airport and depart from LaGuardia Airport in New York even if you use the same carrier.

How to book an open-jaw flight

Open-jaw flights: What are they and why you should try them
Booking a flight. Source: Image Jan Vašek/Pixabay

Flying in a bi-direction requires an idea of where you're going to stay during your trip. For example, if you're travelling from New York to the French capital, think about cities that are conveniently accessible from Paris by train. You might want to visit Amsterdam or Brussels and book a return ticket from one of their airports. It is also possible to fly back to New York via Geneva.

Once you have a rough itinerary, use search engines like Google Flights or Expedia to get all the options. To do this, select "multiple cities" instead of the standard "round trip" field and enter the departure and destination for each route. Specialized flight search and comparison sites offer more than 500 airlines, so you can choose the most favourable option according to price and preferences. It is worth considering that when booking tickets directly on the carrier's official website as you can save money by using your accumulated miles, not just cash.

Open-jaw flights are a great option for travelling on any route. However, be prepared to spend a little more time planning than you would for a standard round-trip ticket. Still, the effort is worth it as you can use the money you save for your next trip.

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