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?

  • 2
    Welcome to travel.SE. Can you simply try creating the itineraries and see what comes of it?
    – Karlson
    Jun 16 '14 at 19:55
  • I would guess that in general, it will make a difference.
    – Max
    Jun 16 '14 at 20:24
  • Booking (1+4),(2+3) is known as "back to back ticketing" and in principle could violate airline policy; see here. Jun 16 '14 at 21:25

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).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.