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
- 2 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 3 Andy Murray takes to Twitter to show off his Christmas jumper
- 5 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
TripAdvisor reveals the top places to visit in 2015
Chic new hotels in 2015: From Britain's first football-themed property to a Facebook millionaire's debut desert resort
Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
Yakutsk: Journey to the coldest city on earth
Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...