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I am currently in Europe and have the following flight scheme:

  1. Europe → USA (September)
  2. USA → Europe (Christmas)
  3. Europe → USA (January '15)
  4. USA → Europe (July '15)

First, does it make a difference which combination of returns I book? (That is, (1+4), (2+3) versus (1+2), (3+4).) Say I would like to keep two flights open right now (3, 4) – is there anything I can do without paying the huge additional price of business class or similar?

Second, is there anything else I should think about? I'll try to book all four flights with the same frequent flyer program – any other hints?

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Welcome to travel.SE. Can you simply try creating the itineraries and see what comes of it? –  Karlson Jun 16 at 19:55
    
I would guess that in general, it will make a difference. –  Max Jun 16 at 20:24
    
Booking (1+4),(2+3) is known as "back to back ticketing" and in principle could violate airline policy; see here. –  Nate Eldredge Jun 16 at 21:25

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

What you are describing is called Nested or Back-to-Back ticketing.

Many airlines will have policies against back-to-back ticketing, but ONLY when it's used to circumvent ticket conditions.

For example, if your ticket had a minimum stay of 7 days, and you used back-to-back ticketing to return 3 days later, then this would be a violation of the conditions for many airlines.

Given the time ranges involved in your example, it seems unlikely that any ticket conditions would be in play here, so I would not expect you to have any problems. Even then, I've never heard of an airline taking any action for a single abuse of back-to-back ticketing, even when it was against ticket conditions.

However what doesn't make much sense to me is that you're saying that you want to keep flights 3 and 4 open. The best way to achieve this is to simply not book those flights now! Book flights 1 and 2 now (as a simple return ticket), and then when you know the dates for flights 3 and 4, book those (again, as a return ticket).

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