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Combining Two Airline Tickets
Brings Terrific Savings
By Don Nadeau
Here’s a tip that the airlines don’t tell you: You can often
get great savings on airfares—especially international airfares—when
you use more than one airline ticket for the same trip.
But there is technique to it. Some challenges can arise
when you use two tickets – but don’t worry, I’m going
to tell you how to avoid them right here.
Coming up with possible combinations
When you use two tickets for your trip, you are using two airfares, which
normally couldn’t be combined on the same ticket. Typically, this
means booking different airlines.
So, how do you find two airfares that are cheaper than one?
One way is to think of popular cities between your origin and
destination that you would love to visit. Popular cities usually
have more competitive airfares.
For example, you may not find a reasonably priced ticket from your city
to Malaga, Spain, but you may find a great deal to Dublin, another fabulous
city to visit. And, because Malaga is popular with travelers from Ireland
and the United Kingdom, it should be easy to find a cheap ticket from
Dublin to Malaga.
You’ve saved a bundle, and enjoyed two destinations for less than
the price of one.
Another way to save with two tickets is to use a budget airline
for part of your trip.
For example, you probably won’t find good airfares from Raleigh
to Mazatlan, but you’ll almost certainly come across low fares from
Raleigh to Las Vegas and other major cities in the West because low-priced
Southwest Airlines flies these routes
And, because Mazatlan is a popular destination for travelers in the western
U.S., you can expect to pick up a great fare from major cities to Mazatlan.
In most cases, these two tickets will cost significantly less than buying
one ticket from Raleigh to Mazatlan.
To see where several budget airlines fly, check out the route maps of
Southwest, JetBlue, WestJet (Canada), and Ryanair (Europe, Ireland, and
the United Kingdom) at their websites.
Consider secondary airports and changing airports
When setting up your two tickets, think of secondary airports and changing
airports while traveling, if you really want to save.
If you’re traveling to Europe, Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, and London
all offer less well-known airports with incredibly cheap fares to other
points in Europe. (Ryanair.com lists its European airports, which are
also used by other budget airlines.)
For example, you may fly into London’s Heathrow Airport from the
U.S. on a bargain ticket, but you can fly on to other points in Europe
more cheaply if you fly out of London’s Lutton, Stansted, or Gatwick
Many cities in the U.S. also have more than one airport, and usually
the lesser known is predominantly used by budget airlines, such as the
Midway Airport in Chicago.
Five ways to avoid inconvenience when you combine tickets
Using two tickets does increase your chances for inconvenience, so follow
these procedures when you’re setting up your itinerary:
Plan to schedule at least one day between your two tickets.
Suppose you arrive late on your first ticket and miss the departure
flight on your second ticket? The airline on your second ticket may
not have another departure to your destination that same day, or it
may charge you high fees to rebook. You can avoid this potential problem
by scheduling your departure for the next day from the outset –
and possibly enjoy the sites, a great restaurant, or friends in that
city while you’re at it.
If you must check luggage, plan to schedule at least several
days between your two tickets. I always recommend that you
pack everything you need in your carry-ons, but I realize this is
not always possible. So, if you must check luggage, plan to schedule
at least several days between your two tickets.
Since you cannot check your luggage from one airline to another when
using two tickets, if your luggage is late, the airline on the second
ticket may not be obligated to send your luggage on. So, if you are still
in that city when it arrives, you will be able to pick it up yourself.
(You can see how picking a city you’d love to visit fits in quite
well with this strategy.)
And, speaking of luggage, be sure to check the limits on luggage size
and weight will all airlines. The rules occasionally change within the
U.S., and note that airlines outside the United States have far more restrictive
limits on luggage size and weight for both carry-on and check-on luggage,
when your ticket does not start or end in the U.S. The penalties for noncompliance
can be steep.
Consider asking a travel agent to set up your itinerary.
What if you pay for one ticket and then find that the other ticket
is suddenly unavailable for the price you expected? No airline price
(even one displayed clearly online) is guaranteed until it's paid
Because of this, you may wish to use a travel agent for two tickets.
In most cases, he or she can void the first ticket if you are unable to
get the second ticket.
On the other hand, if you’re flexible about your dates and airports,
you may wish to go for discounts on Priceline and other online sites for
Priceline Flights - Select your Exact Flight & time or name your own price!
If you’ll be switching airports, find out how much
time you’ll need. Research the amount of time you need
to switch airports and factor that into your flight departure time.
For example, if you arrive in Paris Charles de Gaulle and depart from
Paris Beauvais, transferring from one to the other can take hours,
unless you choose to go by taxi—quicker, but expensive.
Although a few budget airlines, such as Southwest and JetBlue,
are very financially strong, be sure to check out ones you're not
familiar with. If an airline’s stock price has lost
most of its value, the airline may offer more than the usual number
of flight cancellations and changes.
Using more than one ticket has helped me afford to travel the world.
But be sure to follow these tips to avoid inconvenience. You've heard
of knowledge = power. Well, here let's say knowledge = great savings
plus smooth traveling.