Multi-city vs. One way

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Mar 17, 2017
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#1
Hello! I would appreciate your expertise helping me understand if I should book one way flights or a multi-city trip. We’d like to fly from Detroit or Chicago to Seattle in mid-August, travel around and up to Vancouver Island, then fly out of Vancouver back home in early September. One way fares seem to be cheaper for the same flights. Are there problems I could get myself into by booking one way tickets? Thank you.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
Are you talking about direct I connecting flights? If you book as multicity you will have all the flights on one PNR and if you miss a connection, the airline will have to rebook you.

If they are separate one ways and a connection gets in late and you miss your next flight- you are on your own.

And depending on where you are flying you may have to get your luggage and recheck into the next flight.

If you have no connection - if both flights are direct going and comjng- the only difference may be the price. Sometimes it’s cheaper doing multi city then one way, sometimes it’s cheaper doing it as two One ways.
 
Likes: jsn55
Mar 17, 2017
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#3
I can do direct out of Chicago for both trips - no connection. I would be direct to Seattle out of Detroit but have a connection coming back from Vancouver. I was leaning toward Detroit just because it’s so much easier to deal with than O’Hare.

I’m not one to gamble just to get a deal. Having a stress-free trip is definitely more important. Thanks for the reply.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#4
I completely agree with Neil's assessment. One advantage of two one-ways is that if the unforeseen happens and you miss the outbound flight (i.e., a "no-show"), your return flight will not be canceled and you will not be faced with a total re-booking of your flights and the associated fares/fees.

So, my approach would be this: given your two-three week stay with cheaper on-way flights, your risk is minimal as long as the itineraries are booked as DTW-SEA and then YVR-DET on two tickets. I assume from your original post that this would be the case ...
 
Likes: Nancy
Jan 6, 2015
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#6
Another scenario where we put multi-city to good use is for connection times. On a recent trip we were considering, the typical round-trip search showed connection times ranging from 45 minutes to 1 hour, 15 minutes - too short for us. The multi-city tool gave us better options as we want a minimum of 1.5 hours for domestic travel.

On the other hand, where the one-way tool helps a lot is to see what outbound flights are available at each city going to the next stop. This tells us quickly how many flights there are that can reach the connecting city in time. We use this approach to ensure that there are at least two (2) flights after ours that will meet our schedule and minimize our chances of a missed connection.

And then we book using whatever method or combination of methods works best ...
 
Likes: jsn55

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#8
I've started booking one-way tix for better control, VoR states a good example of varied connection times. My issue was always the change/cancel fee ... one fee for a R/T or MC tix ... but a fee on EACH of the O/W tix.

I'm able to do this now because I use a Chase Sapphire card with comp travel insurance. With that protection, I don't worry about several change/cancel fees vs only one fee on a single PNR. Since I've only changed 3 or 4 flights over many years, I'm not concerned about my plans changing, but rather a problem that would force a change, such as an injury.
 
Sep 21, 2017
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#9
For trans-Atlantic flights, buying two one-way tickets will be an expensive way to anticipate an itinerary getting screwed up. Often a single one-way costs more than a round trip. Doesn't seem fair (oops, not fare...) but that's the way it is. A multi-city itinerary rarely costs much more than a simple round trip when other costs are calculated but, as this board probably knows, it must by calculated by a multi-city search function.
 
Sep 5, 2017
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#10
I usually book multi city. However, I saved almost $12,000 on Delta by purchasing 2 one way tickets from SMF to Tokyo and From Nagoya to DTW in Business. Even the Delta agent was amazed when
I engaged her assistance when I doubted it the savings. Always best to check looking at the costs doing it both ways.
 
Likes: jsn55
Mar 17, 2017
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#11
I usually book multi city. However, I saved almost $12,000 on Delta by purchasing 2 one way tickets from SMF to Tokyo and From Nagoya to DTW in Business. Even the Delta agent was amazed when
I engaged her assistance when I doubted it the savings. Always best to check looking at the costs doing it both ways.
I just booked my flights while you were sending me this message. I checked and double-checked and triple-checked. It was cheaper to buy two one way tickets on Delta. I even bought first class for the first time since it wasn't a huge cost upgrade. I'm glad to know about the multi-city function because I wasn't aware of that before reading this site. When I was checking flights on American, they have a feature where you can travel around the world with different flights! But that's a journey for another day...:cool:
 
Likes: VoR61