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I live in the UK and I want to go to the United States next year, and I have friends in Washington and San Francisco.

So, I want to fly into the east coast Washington spend a week with my friends there, then fly to San Francisco spend a week with my friends on the West Coast, then fly back to the UK from San Francisco.

It seems to be cheapest to get a return from UK Washington and a separate return from Washington to San Francisco, than buying singles to and from the US.

Is this the best way to travel or would I be able to negotiate a cheaper price by talking to an airline/travel agents to avoid getting the Washington / San Francisco return ticket?

  • It all depends on cheap fare availability and rules. Try looking for an "open jaw" return though, eg UK to East coast, back from West coast, with a different ticket for the cross-country leg – Gagravarr Jul 24 '14 at 15:27
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You've basically got three options in terms of ticketing it:

  • Multi-city trip - A single ticket for UK to Washington, Washington to SF, SF back to the UK
  • Open-Jaw + Single - One ticket for UK to Washington, back from SF to the UK (the "open jaw"), plus a single ticket from Washington to SF
  • Two returns - A return ticket from the UK to Washington, then another return (/ two singles) from Washington to SF

As for which one is cheaper, it all depends on your specific case. Could be any! Sometimes the cheapest cross-country fares won't be combinable with the cheapest transatlantic ones, so to price it all up together would mean more expensive fares than buying individually. Sometimes, the cheapest cross-country fares are only combinable with an international ticket, so buying it as a multi-city will be cheaper. Whether or not the cheapest fare rules permit stopovers or not can change it. Sometimes, by buying two returns, you can match between carriers that don't normally work together, so get something cheaper.

Your only real option is to price up all three, either explicitly or via a website/agent that tries each under the hood, and see which works out best for your exact dates and cities.

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