August 11, 2003

One Way Airfares

Category: Aviation

Your Airline: I'm not the first person to be baffled by the complexity of airline ticket pricing, so I'll concentrate on one minor area: One Way Ticket Pricing.
How can it possibly be to an airline's advantage to price one-way tickets higher than round trips? On the rare occasions that I've wanted a one way ticket, I've found that it's cheaper to buy a round trip and just discard the return segment. This works for me, but I imagine it throws further disorganization into the airline's already impossible computer system.

Airlines expect a certain number of passengers to fail to show up for flights. Anyone who's ever experienced an "oversold" flight, knows this science is imperfect! Anyway, I don't know how many "no-shows" are people who tossed their return ticket, but by pricing one-way fares appropriately, and thus getting people to be honest with their intention to return, airlines would be able to predict the no-show quotient with at least some degree of greater accuracy resulting in fewer headaches for us all!

Posted by Nick at August 11, 2003 11:45 AM | TrackBack


One way tickets are often fully flexible. You can change the flight time as many times as you like, get a refund, etc. This is also true of full fare economy tickets (which do cost more than a one way ticket) but is usually not true of discount economy tickets, which will often cost less than a one way ticket.

Posted by: Michael Jennings on August 14, 2003 10:00 AM

We shouldn't forget that many of the discount airlines (thinks EasyJet) only sell one-way tickets.

Posted by: Patrick Crozier on August 20, 2003 02:03 AM

Right, I think that's a great service the discount airlines provide. Probably saves them time and money, and infinitely simplifies my choices when booking.

Posted by: Nick on August 20, 2003 10:14 AM

Patrick: This is not always true. (It is for Easyjet). Ryanair quotes one-way fares for each sector of a return trip, but these are techically fares for half of a return ticket - you you have to buy an outward and a return sector to actually qualify for them. If you genuinely want to buy a one way ticket, the fare is greater (and it may or may not be greater than a return ticket with an outward sector on the same flight).

Posted by: MIchael Jennings on August 21, 2003 10:57 AM

JetBlue has been causing havok in the US by stripping down its system to the essentials, including true one way tickets, without feeling like a discount carrier. In fact the simplicity of their system tends to dramatically reduce the chaotic friction at the gate, making them feel like a better airline then big boys. Only draw back is that the secret is getting out and their flights tend to be completely packed...

Posted by: Abe on August 26, 2003 02:13 PM

I think Southwest in the US used to do one-ways, before they raised their fares enough to not qualify as a "discount" airline in my book. (But sill no food on the flight.)

And, hey, doesn't buying a one-way ticket mark you out as a terrorist? :-)

Posted by: Andrew on September 2, 2003 08:51 PM

salt lake city to jfk/islip

Posted by: kevin on September 17, 2003 07:42 PM

Can anyone travel one way these days? The fares should be much cheaper I donot know what the airlines are trying to do charging so much for these fares. Grant it they are loosing money in some cases. But stealing from the little people is ludicrist. A one way should be cheaper that is the bottom line.

Posted by: julia on April 26, 2004 08:52 AM

People should be charged according to their weight...enough said.

Posted by: Raymond on September 29, 2004 12:05 AM
Post a comment