Are two one way tickets cheaper?

Jeff is planning an overseas trip and as he is trying to keep down costs, he is wondering if it’s actually cheaper to buy a one-way ticket and book his return from his destination.

Q. Jeff
Do you think that purchasing one-way tickets to a destination such as the UK and then purchasing return tickets at your destination is far cheaper than paying Australian prices for a return ticket?

A. It very much depends on where you are coming from, who you are flying with and where you are going. In Australia most domestic flights are the same price whether you purchase them as a return fare or as two one-way fares, unless you get a special deal on a return flight.

If you are travelling overseas and wish to fly both ways with the same Australian carrier, such as Qantas, you can only purchase a return ticket as Qantas does not allow you to book one-way fares which depart from outside Australia. If you do wish to purchase a one-way fare leaving Australia with an Australian carrier, the price per flight is usually higher than if you had booked the same flight as part of a return fare.

There are also a few logistical problems with leaving Australia on a one-way fare. Firstly you would need to make sure that the savings you make by purchasing your return flight from overseas are enough to cover the extra you pay to leave Australia on a one-way flight (and then some).

It is also possible that, by choosing not to book your return flight until you arrive at your destination, you may not be able to get a flight home as quickly as you had planned. This could mean that you have to pay more for food and accommodation than you expected to, eating up any savings you may have made on your airline ticket.

The last, and probably most critical, problem with only purchasing a one-way flight out of Australia is that many countries will not let you enter unless you can provide documentation to prove that you will be leaving again within your visa’s validity period. It would be awful to arrive at your holiday destination, only to have to spend hours stuck in airport security or to be denied entry to the country altogether.

If you do wish to purchase a one-way flight out of Australia and buy your return flight once you arrive at your destination, it might be worth trying to find someone in that country who can look up some specific fares for you. This way you can confirm that the savings you will make are worth the trouble.