9

tl;dr: I wanted to book an open jaw with ORD-EWR-LHR being one leg and KRK-ORD direct being another and it doesn't let me.

I am answering Saving money on airline tickets when buying weird route because of Epilepsy

Now of course OP wanted to fly Oneworld on the way out on AA90 and back on *A on LO9 and a ticket usually is single alliance. So something needs to give. The easiest something, or so I thought, was the direct flight from Chicago to London -- there are only two daytime *A flights to Europe from the USA, one from EWR (UA934), one from IAD (UA122). Tons of flights between ORD and EWR and IAD both, that's not a problem.

Next, we need an open jaw because there are no direct *A flights from LON to KRK.

On the way back, we just want LO9.

Easy as pie!

But when I stitch them together into a multicity it doesn't let me but why? The usual open jaw answer for flying A-B and then C-A is that B-C needs to be shorter than both A-B and C-A but that obviously stands since the latter two are transatlantic while B-C is London-Krakow.

Search1:

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Result1:

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Search2:

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Result2:

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Combined search:

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Sad panda. I tried quite a few variants, nothing.

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  • 1
    That's United's website? I tried to figure it out from the screenshot and flight numbers but it might be useful to make that explicit. I wasn't sure what "it" was when starting to read the question.
    – Relaxed
    Jun 30 at 7:13
  • 1
    It looks like you're trying to put this together in ITA Matrix? You would still need to book elsewhere even if you pull this off, have you tried the UA site or a travel agent? Jun 30 at 7:14
  • 1
    Don't think the issue is with the open jaw, it's the same if you try ORD-KRK / KRK-ORD with just a -redeyes on the first and C:LO (or F) on the second. If you remove -redeyes then there are results, but all of them including a LOT flight for the transatlantic leg. There's something that prevents mixing that flight with other carriers apparently.
    – jcaron
    Jun 30 at 11:54
  • 1
    @Relaxed The screenshots are from matrix.itasoftware.com/search Jun 30 at 21:02
  • 1
    I know the question is aimed at people who understand this stuff, but... explain "*A" for my benefit please? :)
    – hobbs
    Jul 1 at 4:36

1 Answer 1

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There's really two different answers here. The first is why won't it let you combine the two exact flights/fare you've found. And the second is why can't you find any combined flights/fares for those routes.

First it's worth going and reading this answer to get a bit of an understanding of how airline fares work.

The answer to the first question is simple - because the rules for the flights/fares you've found in your initial searches don't allow what you're trying to do.

The outbound flight appears to be using a United fare WH106NCV. The rules for this fare include :

SINGLE/DOUBLE OPEN JAWS/ROUND TRIPS/CIRCLE TRIPS NOT PERMITTED.

and

TICKETS MUST BE ISSUED ON UA OR LH OR OS OR LX OR SN OR AC OR NH OR HR

The first of these condition is pretty clear - you can't combine this fare with another fare to form a round trip ticket, which is why you're attempting to do. It's a one-way fare only.

The second condition is simply saying that the ticket needs to be issued by United or one of a list of other airlines which importantly doesn't include LOT - we'll see why that's important in a moment.

The inbound flight is using Lot fare Q1HASEY6. This one includes the rules :

SINGLE/DOUBLE OPEN JAWS/ROUND TRIPS/CIRCLE TRIPS NOT PERMITTED.

and

TICKETS MUST BE ISSUED ON LO.

Again, the first rule this means this fare can't be used to build a round-trip like you're trying to do. The second means that the ticket must be purchased from Lot.

So you're trying to combine two fares into a single ticket. Not only does each fare explicitly disallow doing that, but the two tickets need to be purchased from different airlines, which clearly you can't do when they are a single ticket!

So now we come to the second question - why you can't find ANY combined fares/flights for that route. I haven't done sufficient digging to confirm exactly why, but it's almost certainly going to be that there are no fares available from either United or Lot (or any other airline) with rules that would allow these two flights to be combined. United do not appear to have any fares for flying KRK-ORD that allow flying on Lot. Lot does not appear to have any fares that allow flying ORD-LHR on United. Each airline has their own fares that allow these routings, including on a round-trip/open-jaw basic, but neither of those fares allow for ticketing on a single airline, so can not be purchased together.

The end result is exactly what you're seeing - you can purchase these two flights individually, on separate tickets, without any problem at all. However without any fare with rules that allow it, it's not possible to purchase them both on the same ticket.

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  • Thanks for looking this up! I never knew one way fares existed -- neither fares which can be issued on some airlines of an alliance but not all.
    – chx
    Jun 30 at 16:25
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    I would add one thing to this excellent answer: It is possible to buy a single ticket with two different airlines providing the "metal" (i.e. the plane flown on), either using code share flights, or (under some circumstances) through cross ticketing where specific agreements are in place. It is far from universal.
    – abligh
    Jul 1 at 8:00
  • There's certainly a warren of issuing, marketing and operating carriers resulting in weird possible/not possible tickets. And while paper tickets made the issuing (aka validating) carrier prominent and obvious, with electronic tickets that's no longer the case, even people who know of marketing and operating rarely know of issuing carriers... This is why the "MUST BE ISSUED ON" is so important. Otherwise you might be able to get, say Lufthansa, to issue the desired ticket...
    – chx
    Jul 1 at 21:27
  • @abligh Correct. I covered this partially with the "must be issued on" coverage. I deliberately skipped the fact that one airline can have fares that allow flying on another, mainly because it wasn't relevant as UA/LO don't seem to have any fares that allow it on these routes, but also because eventually it all just gets too complex to explain succinctly.
    – Doc
    Jul 2 at 0:05

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