10

I need to fly domestically in the US from A -> B -> A on a return ticket and in the process meet-up with someone who will fly B -> A on a one-way ticket. (Note that this will involve a layover somewhere as there is no single B -> A direct flight)

Is it possible to use any of the online booking sites to do this and be able to co-ordinate the B -> A leg to ensure that we are routed through the same layover city (and sit together)? Or will I need to book directly via the airline?

13

It is not possible to book both tickets with different routes "together".

However by law all US airlines must allow you to either cancel a ticket up to 24 hours after purchase for a full refund, OR hold a ticket for up to 24 hours before purchasing it. (Most airlines do the former, but they are allowed do one or the other).

Thus your best option will be to buy one of the tickets, and then buy the second immediately afterwards. If for some reason you are not able to purchase the second (such as if the tickets are sold out after your first purchase) then you have the option of canceling the first ticket for a full refund.

The resulting two tickets will not be linked, but that won't have any real impact. You will still be able to select seats together, board together, etc.

6

I am not aware of any carrier, online booking site, or aggregator that will book a single reservation for two travelers with non-identical itineraries. Thus, two separate reservations will be needed.

There are two ways to approach getting adjacent seats with separate itineraries. The first is for one of the travelers to make both reservations, one immediately after the other. First, select a seat on the B > A flight with an adjacent empty seat. Then, when booking the second itinerary for the other travelers, select that adjacent seat. This could be done either through an online portal or aggregator, or directly through the airline.

Sometimes unsold seats are shown as "unavailable" because they've been allocated by the carrier to its code-share partners. The best shot to secure adjacent seats is by booking both itineraries at the same time with the same portal, or aggregator, or code-share partner, or carrier.

A second tactic is to buy separately, but in coordination. My wife and I have successfully done this many times. We sit at adjacent desks in our home office (and have also done it by phone or message when we're apart), book concurrently using the same source, select adjacent seats, and press "buy" at the same time.

5

One option would be to book a single ticket A-B Then book a two person ticket from B-A This would, of course remove any return fair discount, it applicable.

  • 1
    n my recent experience with Canadian airlines, there has not been a "return" discount for a number of years. So I'd strongly recommend the purchaser look into this option, on several airlines. – CCTO Feb 2 at 23:34
  • Many US airlines do charge different rates for return trips on specific routes. The bigger disadvantage of booking it this way rather than what I suggested in my answer is that if the first traveler needed to change/cancel for some reason, they'd be up for 2 change/cancel fees (as they have 2 tickets) rather than 1. – Doc Feb 3 at 9:18

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