I have noticed that with all online travel sites, you have to leave and return on the same airline (or partner) for international trips. Is there a way around this? It seems as though when you try to book a one-way flight it always ends up the same price as a return.

  • Can you be more specific? Give some steps to reproduce? What travel site do you using? – VMAtm Jul 28 '11 at 5:01
  • Search for one-way tickets and see if each leg on a separate booking is cheaper? – Ankur Banerjee Jul 28 '11 at 5:08

It depends - for example, in South America - a return flight is almost always cheaper than a oneway flight. I have no idea why, but seriously, this often works out.

What I do is load up kayak.co.uk or similar flight search engine. I do 3 searches:

  1. A return flight search
  2. A one way search to destination
  3. A one way search back from destination

This way, if two individual airlines are cheaper than sticking with one, then you'll find it. Ie if 2+3 < 1, you win! And if not, then you rest easy that you've gotten a great rate.

If you're really fussy, as I was a few years ago, you can search intermediate locations. I found four separate airlines that got me to Cairo and back on 4 flights, which worked out cheaper than a direct :)

(London to Brussels to Cairo, to Cologne to London)


This depends on airline policy - because they don't want to send airplane from A to B full of people and return it empty - this causes that two one way tickets are more expensive than one two way ticket with one company ( they have insurance that you will fly both ways )

  • Not always (see my South American comment) - it's weird, but seriously a return flight from La Paz to Santiago was cheaper than a one way with the same airline. – Mark Mayo Aug 1 '11 at 10:07
  • dind't you mind that return flight from La PAz to Santiago wasn't cheaper than a two one way with the same airline. - then my answer will not always work – SergeS Aug 1 '11 at 10:19
  • I seem to be confusing. It was cheaper than two one way flights - because it was cheaper than ONE one way flight. It really was that cheap. Just checked two arbitrary dates in August with LAN - ONE one way flight to Santiago: 617 pounds. A return flight - 354 pounds. Go figure. – Mark Mayo Aug 1 '11 at 10:23
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    it is exactly what i said , that one two way is cheaper than two one way :-) so now to figure out who is more confused – SergeS Aug 1 '11 at 10:57
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    How much wood could a wood chuck chuck? ;) Yeah, I think we're botn on the same line now, I read 'two one way' as 'one two way' somewhere and it went off on a tangent, haha - both saying the same thing in the end :) Although your statement 'return flight from LaPaz to Santiago wasn't cheaper than two one way' - not true, it WAS cheaper than two one ways - in fact, it's cheaper than even ONE one way :) But yeah, I guess the overall point is - it's always worth pricing one way, return, and two one-ways with different airlines, as as you put it - airlines have different policies :) – Mark Mayo Aug 1 '11 at 11:14

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