Open Jaw Flights: The Booking Trick You Should Know

With the state of air travel this summer—constant delays and expensive airfares—any small booking tip to save time or money can make a big difference.

One such trick is booking open jaw flights. An open jaw flight is a different type of round-trip itinerary that includes multiple cities for the destination and city of origin. They can be helpful when planning expensive international trips (especially to regions that are seasonally popular with tourists, like Europe or Asia) or when you’d rather end your trip in a different city than where you began. The good news is that if you know what you’re doing, open jaw flights are incredibly easy to book.

Here’s everything you need to know about open jaw flights, from how to book them online to the best ways to use them to save time and money on your next big vacation.

What exactly are open jaw flights?

Open jaw flights are itineraries in which you continue on to a different city than where your trip originated. For example, if you flew from New York to Rome, instead of returning to New York, you might continue on to Paris before looping back to New York. (As opposed to a regular round-trip flight, where you would go right back to New York.)

It’s important to note that the leg of the trip to the second destination—from Rome to Paris in our example—is not part of the flight itinerary. That would be a slightly different booking maneuver called a multi-city flight. Instead, travelers generally take a different mode of transportation on that segment of the journey, like a train, bus, or car. 

How can open jaw flights save time and money?

As with all plane tickets, the price of open jaw flights depends on a multitude of variables, including the time of year you plan to travel, how far out you book, and the destination. But it’s possible to find more affordable flights, especially internationally, using the booking method. 

They’re almost always cheaper than booking two one-way flights abroad, according to flight deal site Going, and can often be less expensive than a regular round-trip. “While researching a trip over to Europe for this summer, I saved over a hundred dollars by flying out of Dublin instead of London (where I’m flying into),” says Katy Nastro, a travel expert for Going. “Now, instead of rushing back to London, I can explore a bit of Dublin before heading home, offering another city to my itinerary without additional cost.”

Flying into a smaller regional airport on one leg of the trip is a good way to save money using open jaw flights. For instance, if you were flying from New York JFK to Reykjavik, there could be a cheaper return flight available if you’re willing to detour a bit and fly into New York Stewart airport on your way home. While this might be a more time-consuming option, it could be a good idea for travelers with more flexibility who are looking for a deal.

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