Travel begins with flight. When a traveler board on plane, it starts one’s journey. Airline booking is a first step for travel planning. This may sounds unfamiliar to someone with enough budgets, but majorities of people consider the budget and vacation period when they prepare to travel. One of the most important features of deciding a travel destination is, of course, the airline ticket price and flight schedule.

Sometimes a ticket price consists nearly half of the total travel budget, which drives airline ticket as a prime decision making factor. But choosing a 10 hour flight for 3 days’ vacation is just being silly.

Purchasing a convenient flight or right schedule is an essential condition for travelers. Great schedules make travel easy and help travelers to experience more. Purchasing cheap airline tickets could give extra budget which may turn into a romantic night in luxury hotel or a fancy dinner with wine. Sometimes the extra budget gained by inexpensive airline tickets could make impossible trip possible.

To buy airline tickets smartly, you have to understand the nature of airline tickets. Followings are the series of must-know rules for regular Full Service Carrier Airlines. However, some of these are not relevant to Low Cost Carrier aka LCC.

–      Airline Tickets are Perishable Goods which has value of ‘0’ after the certain periods of time.

–      A price gap could be happens in same cabin class, same schedule within the identical flight and have possibility of the maximum of 3 times.

–      Most of airlines choose “Hub and Spoke”, which connect cities to cities through Hub. However, many LCC choose “Point-to-Point” operation rather than “Hub and Spoke”.

Point to Point vs Hub and Spoke
Point to Point vs Hub and Spoke. Source: adapted from J.J. Coyle, E.J. Bardi and R.A. Novack (1994) Transportation, Fourth Edition, New York: West Publishing Company, p. 402.

–      In case of long distance, taking a connected short distance flight with long distance flight is cheaper than just taking one long distance flight in most cases.

For example, assume the right picture above is showing a Routing Map of Korean Air(KE). Put A as LA, G as Seoul, L as Hong Kong, ‘A-G-F-G-A’, which means ‘LA-Seoul-Hong Kong-Seoul-LA’ and ‘A-G-A’, also means ‘LA-Seoul-LA’. If we compare both, left picture below has the cheapest fare of $1230.00 for ‘LA-Seoul-Hong Kong-Seoul-LA’ and the cheapest fare for ‘LA-Seoul-LA’ from right picture with $1599.00. Of course purchasing the airline tickets in real life is more complicated and travelers have to pay both flight tax and fee in total.

Source: Travelport Smartpoint

– Fares depend on departure.

Therefore if the departure and arrival site have changed vice versa, this apply as a completely different fare which leads to a new price. So, round trip for ‘Hong Kong-LA-Hong Kong’ and round trip for ‘LA-Hong Kong-LA’ is completely different air ticket. Not only air ticket rules are different but also the price itself. The left picture below has the cheapest fare of $542.00 for ‘Hong Kong-LA-Hong Kong’ and on right picture below has the cheapest fare price of $1230.00 for ‘LA-Hong Kong-LA’.

KE HKG-LAX Fares vs LAX-HKG Fares

– It is not necessary to take the same fare in round trip.

In general, Open Jaw can be done in round trip. Apply ‘A’ fare in Outbound and ‘B’ fare in Inbound is possible and called Combination. In case of the Combination, fare calculation consists of half of each fare of ‘A’ and ‘B’.

Open Jaw. Source: support.travelport.com
KE LAX-HKG BJS-LAX Open Jaw Combination
KE LAX-HKG BJS-LAX Open Jaw Combination. Source: matrix.itasoftware.com

So far, what do you think about the nature of airline tickets? At a glance, you may think airlines sell tickets ridiculously and even think this isn’t fair. However, for airlines, they have been searching for an optimal way to maximize revenue and results are these series of nature. Many people just think air tickets are for simple round trips with direct flights. But using the nature of air ticket rules smartly, you can purchase multiple destination trips with cheaper price than simple round trip.

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