Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: The logic behind proportionately higher one-way flight costs
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Thursday 20 December 2012
Q Why does it cost 50 per cent more to fly one way from the USA than a return fare? I am going on a cruise that drops off at Fort Lauderdale; I want to explore Florida, and come back from Orlando or Tampa to Gatwick, but the best price flying back in business class is around $7,000 and the return is $5,200. It seems wrong to me.
A I agree it looks absurd, but the airlines would point out that these are significantly different products. The one-way fare, aimed squarely at business travellers, is flexible - you can switch flights, change airlines, or even demand a full refund. In contrast, the cheapest return flights are heavily restricted, with little opportunity to change flights or get a refund. Across the Atlantic, most airlines adopt the same policy - presumably they don't like the idea of cheaper one-way business-class flights, because some of their high-spending passengers could surrender a little flexibility in return for a lower fare.
Many travellers before you have saved cash by booking a round-trip and throwing away the return half; while technically this breaks the contract, and the airline could in theory seek the fare difference, I have never heard of anyone ever being pursued. The savings are higher for booking business class outbound from Florida/economy class return, which most airlines will allow you to do, and which would reduce the fare to around $3,500. But if you don't mind changing planes along the way, two airlines will sell you a one-way ticket from Orlando - Aer Lingus via Dublin and Icelandair via Reykjavik. Expect to pay around $1,300-$2,000 for the one-way flight. You will get excellent service, but don't anticipate quite the same degree of luxury as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic deliver with their Club World and Upper Class offerings respectively.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
- < Previous
- Next >
30,000 to 35,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: We are currently recruiting on...
28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...
18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...
£20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...