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End of this year I wish to come to the USA (I'm in the UK) to follow my adopted NFL team round for a full season. This means I will roughly be traveling to a new city every 1-2 weeks.

I tried doing this once before in 2001 and back then Internet wasn't big like now so all flights were booked by phone - calling different travel agents and companies to get quotes. By pure luck a lady in a call centre for KLM when I explained my plans informed me if I knew my exact dates she could add on internal flights with their US partner airline for a flat fee - back then was a very reasonable £40 per internal flight. This was amazing and though KLM was more for the same international flight than some of the agents only they being a direct airline could do this. So I went away and planed travel midweek to the cities where my team was playing. If the partner airline did not fly the route I had to buy 2 flights rather than go direct but at this price it was cheaper than going with a separately bought direct flight. It worked fantastic.

However when I tried to book similar a few years later I basically had people on the same KLM call line tell me I was mistaken (or insinuate I was blatantly lying), that it was impossible nothing like that ever existed to the public etc., etc., and no one - I repeat - no one, has ever heard the like I have ever told this to - so much so that if I had not done it myself personally I wouldn't believe it either.

So is there anything similar nowadays that I can do that will allow me to add on internal flights at a flat cost to my international ticket to make it one big multi leg ticket sort of thing to bring the internal flight costs down)?

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    2001 is basically forever ago in airline time, so I am sure they are right that there is nothing directly similar anymore. You may be able to book a big multileg ticket (if enough codeshares exist), and it may or may not be cheaper than separate flights, but it won't be priced on a "flat price per leg" basis. – Nate Eldredge Jan 20 at 2:16
  • Yes 2001 is forever ago but when I was trying to do the same again (talked about above) it was only 2003 and they was giving me that - impossible never heard of such sir and I've worked here so many years blar, blar, blar.... – bluelionman Jan 20 at 2:37
  • I had something of that kind in Australia, in 2005, so the phone person was not very well informed back then. – Willeke Jan 20 at 10:26
  • I'm not really sure what you're asking. You can certainly buy a ticket that includes both an international flight and a domestic one. For example, there are no direct flights from Europe to Omaha, Nebraska, but you can go to the website of any airline that flies from Amsterdam to the US and ask it for a ticket to Omaha: you'll get a flight from Amsterdam to somewhere like Atlanta, Chicago or Detroit and a connecting flight on to Omaha, possibly on a partner airline. And the price will probably be discounted, compared to buying two separate tickets. – David Richerby Jan 20 at 10:36
  • @DavidRicherby I believe that what the OP is asking about is called something like an "AirPass" . This a fixed price/low price pass that allows you to fly to a predefined set of destinations in a country - but can only be bought by foreigners coming to that country. Sort of like the class Eurail pass. – Peter M Jan 20 at 16:54
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Several airlines did do that type of pricing in the past. In fact, I once flew from San Francisco to Chicago to Miami to New York and back to San Francisco onto an international trip for less than $100 total (most of which was taxes). However I am not aware of any US airlines that have such pricing now days - at least not on cheaper fares (eg, you will still find it as a part of a round-the-world fare, but not standard discount round-trip fares).

That said, you can still sometimes benefit from booking your domestic flights on the same ticket as you international flights.

Airfares are complex beast, but for most carriers now days flights are based on an Origin, a Destination, and potentially one or more Stopovers in between. Pricing for that part of the flight will depend on each of those things as well - and not necessarily in a way that might make sense to you.

So, say you wanted to fly from Amsterdam to New York, and then from New York to Chicago.

There's two ways that flight could be priced. One is as two separate flights (AMS-NYC, NYC->CHI). The second is as a SINGLE flight, with a stopover (AMS-CHI, with a stopover in NYC). Which of those will work out cheaper will depend on the airfares at the time you're booking - it might be cheaper to price it as a single flight with a stopover, or as two flights.

Now, lets say AMS-NYC was going to cost you $500. And AMS-CHI, with a stopover in NYC, costs $550, whilst a separate NYC-CHI flight might cost $150.

By booking the flights together, and getting it to price as a single trip with a connection, you've saved $100. Sometimes the price can even go DOWN when you add the extra leg - it might cost $500 to fly to NYC, but only $400 for AMS-CHI (even with the stopover).

Of course, it's just as likely that it'll cost more to book it as a stopover. In this case good booking engines will give you the cheapest combination of flights (one trip with a stopover, or two trips) - but sometimes the airlines will put rules in place to stop them doing this so it's always worth checking both options.

The other advantage of booking both the international and domestic flights together is that you'll get the international baggage allowance (which is normally better than the domestic one) for the entire trip. This can save a significant amount in baggage fees depending on the airlines involved.

2

Times have changed indeed.

There a few remnant programs left in Asia (Asean Air Pass) and Europe (one of the sky Team guys, I think) but to the best of my knowledge, not in the US.

  1. You can typically add one domestic leg to an intercontinental trip (round trip or open jaw) for free or for little extra money
  2. Any 4th leg is likely to explode the price if a single itinerary, so your are better off booking this as individual legs are separate mini itineraries.
  3. The budget airlines (Jet Blue, Southwest, Virgin America, Spirit, etc.) tend to have a much simpler fare structure: one ways typically don't incur any extra charge. Fare structure for the mainline carriers (United, America, Delta) is insanely complicated.

These are all "rough" guidelines, air ticket pricing has become beyond complicated. Your options are

  1. Book it all yourself. There are some really good tools for research (http://matrix.itasoftware.com/, https://www.flightconnections.com/, https://www.skyscanner.com/airline/airline-direct-air-d1.html) and booking (www.hipmunk.com, google flights, every air line website)
  2. If you do it yourself, you can often safe a lot of money by jiggling dates and airports a bit. Many NFL stadiums have multiple airports in within driving distance. Tools like ITA Matrxi allows searching multiple airport, but it does take a bit of time.
  3. Talk to a local travel agent: I would NOT recommend this. Most travel agents these days just don't have the skills and tools to do this efficiently and they need to get paid.
  4. Talk to an agency that specializes in multi-stop trips. Example airtreks.com

No endorsement intended or implied.

  • Thanks to everyone for the help and advices I will refer back here when it comes time to making bookings after (and if) I get issued the visa. – bluelionman Jan 20 at 19:59

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