15

I am planning two trips back to the UK from Australia, one over Christmas and one in the late Spring. I have found that booking the tickets differently can reduce the price I have to pay:

Type 1:

Australia - London - 15th December London - Australia - 2nd January

Australia - London - 15th April London - Australia - 15th July

This is the regular way I would book all my flights with each flight containing the way and way back.

The thing is, if I book my flights like this, the price is much less:

Australia - London - 15th December London - Australia - 15th July

London - Australia - 2nd January Australia - London - 15th April

As you can see the first flight encompasses the entire trip with the middle bit being a return flight from London.

The reason that this is less is because there are less English who want to fly from the UK to Australia after Christmas and more Australians who want to return from England then.

I am wondering if there are any problems with booking flights like this? In my head it feels that it should be ok (eg: if I wanted to pop back in the middle of a trip for a funeral) but it also feels strange leaving the country on a different ticket than that which I came in on.

It is worth noting that I have a British passport and a valid Australian visa meaning that there shouldn't be any issue with me coming in and out of either country.

  • 3
    It's totally normal to book a return flight "inside" another one. Go for it. Note that, simply as a matter of Airline sales policy, sometimes they simply don't allow you to (example) book a ticket "from" Australia if you happen to be a person from the UK. (Just as a matter of them maximizing income - just as , for example, car rental prices are completely different in Sydney for people who live in Sydney versus people who live in London.) – Fattie Oct 31 '16 at 14:10
  • @JoeBlow In general though, you can just go to a sales office in Sydney (or call them, or visit their website) and buy the ticket at the local price. The only place where this can be troublesome is in South America where a few countries do have residents-only fares which may require presentation of a local ID card at check in. Within Europe this price discrimination practice is specifically banned by EC 1008/2008 article 23(2). – Calchas Oct 31 '16 at 16:03
  • quite right, Calchas. generally it's a non-issue as you say. sometimes with say Expedia there are combinations like "if you are living in germany and you have a UK credit card you can't buy a ticket to fly from New Zealand ..." or the like. in any event the simple answer here is "sure, you can do that!" – Fattie Oct 31 '16 at 17:03
  • Please note that there might be a slight difference in your right to compensation (or at least, the airline's interpretation of that right) if your baggage is delayed on a return flight compared to an outbound flight, since you're expected to have emergency supplies at home. This is probably not a problem for you if you're going to stay multiple months in both countries. – Jacob Bundgaard Oct 31 '16 at 23:40
16

This is quite normal, I often structure my itineraries like this, or even in more complicated ways such as four or five ticket deep nesting. You should have the details of the other ticket to hand in case you need it, but I have never found anyone who questioned me about it.

I don't actually believe that the immigration people get access to the ticket information unless you provide it to them.

11

There is a technical term for what you are doing: back-to-back ticketing. There is nothing wrong from an immigration point of view, except that you may get more questions.

However, there are airlines that don't exactly like this. The practice is listed under "booking ploys" on Wikipedia. Some airlines, such as American Airlines prohibit this practice. But there are few reports of travellers who were asked for a surcharge after they have been "caught".

  • 8
    Gotta love capitalism "You've found a way to get a cheaper flight through our service? That'll be a surcharge" – SGR Oct 31 '16 at 10:58
  • 2
    @pnuts I recall having read once that Lufthansa at least tried to charge someone who booked back-to-back within Europe. But I can't find the respective forum thread online (which is a pity as linking to it would have made the answer better). – DCTLib Oct 31 '16 at 11:56
  • Note too that the person may well be on a totally different airline on the "inside" flight. – Fattie Oct 31 '16 at 14:10
6

The only problems I can see with this are:

  • Each time you check in for your flight from London to Australia, the airline agent will not see your return itinerary right away, and might ask when and how you plan to leave Australia. If this happens, you'll need to show the other booking. This could happen on both flights.

  • Each time you enter Australia, the immigration officer will see the details of the ticket you are currently travelling on, and won't see your return itinerary (or it will appear to be much farther away than your allowed 3 months stay). You may be asked the same questions, about when and how you plan to leave Australia, and again will need to show the other booking.

  • Quite so; indeed OP mentions they even have an Aussie full visa - so it's very unlikely there would be any issue. – Fattie Oct 31 '16 at 14:12

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