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I'm looking at a one-way plane ticket on Spirit Airlines. The itinerary requires a stop, and playing around with their website I discovered routing the connection as a single Multi-city booking on the same exact flights is cheaper than booking a through one-way ticket.

Further, the passenger usage fee, which I intend to avoid, is also higher on the multi-city option meaning I could save even more using this option (price minus usage fee):

Prices

I understand that additional fees, like for baggage, might be levied for each segment on the multi-city ticket, but I don't plan to require those services.

The connection time is very short. Spirit does not have the most generous customer service and rebooking policies even in normal cases. If I misconnect is there a disadvantage to being booked on a multi-city itinerary? Is it similar to being booked on two one-way tickets, where I'm at fault if I don't show up on time for my second flight, or is it like a single through one-way ticket where the airline is at fault and responsible for accommodating me?

  • If two single tickets with distinctive PNRs, then both are considered separate from each other, like two separate contracts. First one promises to bring you first city, and that's all. It might be late, cancelled, anything, without affecting anything to second ticket. Second ticket will just assume you no show, if for any reason you do not show up at check-in counter, their fault or yours or God's. – DavChana Jan 10 '17 at 7:09
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    @DavChana sure, I mean that's what I'm asking. Does using the multi-city booking tool result in multiple PNRs or one? – Carl Jan 10 '17 at 9:18
  • @DavChana: I certainly cannot vouch for this airline, but in the past I have personally experienced linking two PNRs, missing the second flight due to a delay in the first one, and the airline rebooking the second flight. – Martin Argerami Jan 10 '17 at 11:04
  • If it is one of the hacker fares as they say on Kayak.com, or multiple Airlines settings on some other websites, it most probably will be two different PNRs. Source: I booked DOH-ORY, ORY-HEL, HEL-ORY, ORY-SAW, SAW-DOH as multicity on Kayak.com hacker fares, got all tickets with individual PNRs, & all on seperate airlines (PGS, AtlasGlobal, Norwegian, SAS & Turkish. At same time, I bought a ticket from Agent long time ago, & it was on Air India, KLM, Copa Airlines, & had single PNR (& luggage booked all the way). – DavChana Jan 10 '17 at 11:55
  • One hint could be is how many times website is asking you for Payments (maybe if you are paying all in one for whole journey, it might have single PNR, if separate payments, then separate PNRs). – DavChana Jan 10 '17 at 11:57
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I contacted Spirit and got this response:

...a multi-city booking is considered as flight booked separately and we cannot guarantee that our airport representative could assist you in making the connection in the case you are to miss it.

They also confirmed it will complicate things if you have checked baggage.

In that case, each flight will require its own baggage charge and the bag will have to be picked up at the intermediate destination and re-checked.

In practice there were no issues with taking the flight. I was able to get both boarding passes from the check-in agent at MSY. Self check-in didn't work so they checked me in manually but didn't charge for it. The flights were operated by the same plane as Aganju pointed out - I just had to get off and reboard. I had no checked bags and just a free "personal item" as carry-on, otherwise this probably isn't worth it.

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Considering that the two segments of the multi-city flight you show are on the same plane and flight number, a delay would with high probabilty just delay the second segment too. So although in general multi-city brings some risk, in your case, there is little difference to the direct booking.

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    @agnaju great point. Certainly should make misconnecting a non-issue but I'm still curious about how the booking is handled because say for instance the first flight is cancelled and a replacement aircraft is sent to operate the second flight - would I be a no-show for the second flight? – Carl Jan 10 '17 at 14:59
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If you book with two different bookings, then the airline responsibility won't be the same as if you had one single booking with multiple flights.

The maximum protection comes with one single booking. In that case, if you miss the connection, then the airline will have to find another flight for you. They accepted the contract with the two flights and the limited connection time so they have to make it happen. If for some reasons, they can't, then they have to offer a solution to you.

If you have two separate bookings, it is your responsibility to show up in time and it will mostly be goodwill from the company to offer a solution with another flight if you miss the second one.

Companies perfectly knows the tricks to pay less for tickets. So in this situation, don't expect too much goodwill from them. They will see that you had 2 different bookings...

Then, the delay circumstances might help you. If this was clearly an issue with the company like a damaged plane, they might be more helpful than if it was due to fog or something outside of their control. Same if you are loyal customer, it will help as well.

The special case of a multicity booking within the same booking session should result in one booking number. So you should be more protected than if you had two separate bookings but less than if the airline made the connection delay decision for you. With a multicity booking, you are bypassing the minimum delay required by the airline to make the connection so they can easily claim that they wouldn't have allowed or backed this. Still you have one booking so they are more liable than if you had 2 bookings.

I would suggest to get this confirmed by the airline customer service as different airlines might have different policies in this situation.

  • Yes, but is a multi-city booking one or two bookings? – Carl Apr 7 at 22:36

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