Do you know how much more expensive one-way tickets are than round-trip plane tickets?
I recently bought a one-way ticket to Germany for August 19! That is the “moving date.” Just 10 days after our wedding in Georgia, we’ll both board different planes and head to Munich.
It would be great to be able to travel together, but he will fly a round-trip when he comes for the wedding, and I have had to dig around for a deal on a one-way ticket, which prevents us from flying together.
On most major airlines, one-way tickets cost at least as much as a round trip, but sometimes 2 or 3 times more. When I searched, the going rate for a non-stop one-way flight from Atlanta to Munich was between $2000 and $4000 on some airlines.
We’ll be up in Kentucky before we go to Germany, so a less-direct itinerary (for example, Cincinnati to some American city to some European city to Munich) is more in my price range. My one-way ticket ended up costing about $800. That doesn’t sound too outrageous. Still, in comparison to my round-trip ticket for my visit in May, which cost only $1100, it seems like too much.
You might think that one-way tickets would cost half of the price of a round trip. Half the fuel, half the meals, half the service fees… It can’t cost them more than half, right? Why does it cost me so much?
Well, I did some searching around on travel web sites, and the consensus answer to this question is that one-way trips are usually not bought by vacationers, but rather by business travelers who pay the higher prices with their travel budgets. So, the airlines charge more for one-way flights, because people (me) can and will pay for them.
On a related note, apparently there is some science to deciding when to buy a plane ticket. A study by CheapAir reveals that 54 days before a domestic flight and 151 days before a flight to Europe are the “magic numbers” for getting the cheapest fares. (Read the full article.) Keep that in mind if you want to come visit me in Germany!
I feel a bit ripped off by the one-way ticket prices, but at least I know when to buy now. Hopefully I won’t be purchasing any more one-way tickets for a while! Although I have complained about the price of a one-way ticket, there was something very exciting about submitting the payment and getting the ticket confirmation in my email. I’m really going back!