I discovered this trick a couple years ago and I'm not even going to pretend to be modest, it's good! Not only has it saved me hundreds of dollars, but also countless hours by avoiding a layover. I was apprehensive about sharing it online because I'm nervous that if it catches on too much, the airlines are going to change their booking protocol to prevent people from doing this. But after the overwhelming amount of wonderful and encouraging feedback about my blog I have been getting, I can't not share it with you guys! You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.
So here it:
Over the past few years flying to Minnesota from Philadelphia to see my family so much, I was extremely frustrated by how expensive the flights were! I was never able to book a roundtrip flight for less than $500. On top of that, they always had ridiculous out of the way layovers. It boggled my mind..."How can I book flights to California, all the way across the country, but going to freezing-cold Minnesota costs twice as much? And how can it be cheaper even when some of the flights across the country have a layover in Minnesota!?" Then it hit me: Demand. Airlines are going to price their tickets based on demand. People are willing to pay more for the convenience of having a non-stop flight, so airlines are going to jack the price up for them.
Sounds confusing, I know, but take a look for yourself!
Here is an example of booking a flight from Philadelphia (PHL) to Minnesota (MSP) on Friday, March 13- Monday, March 16:
The average person is just going to plug that information into a discount travel site like Orbitz or Expedia, just like what I used to do. Here are the results that you will find:
The prices are ridiculous!
Its a high of 1° F in Minnesota right now... How do airlines even have the balls to charge that much to fly to this frozen tundra!? (Unless of course you're visiting your friends and family, love you guys)
Now, watch what happens when you book a ONE-WAY flight to a different city around your destination area. Chicago, for example:
I was able to find a one-way flight to Chicago with a layover in Minnesota, where I wanted to actually go, for $154!
So, heres what you do... Ride the plane to the first stop (Minnesota) and then just don't go on the remainder of flights! It's that simple!
Look, this is the exact same flight Delta has listed if you booked direct Philadelphia to Minneapolis!
$608 one way, what a scam!!
Use the same technique to book your return flight. It's very important that you book both your tickets one way. For your return trip, you need to find a different city near your destination that leaves from where you are.
Example: Getting back to Philadelphia (PHL) from Minnesota (MSP), I chose Pittsburgh as my final destination:
Ride the plane to your layover in Philadelphia, and then just get off!
And here is how much that exact same flight is if you booked it directly to Philadelphia:
So there you have it! The total cost for a (technically) direct flight is $317 by booking your tickets this way! Compared to the cheapest direct round-trip airfare of $536, you're saving $219!!!
I can't guarantee that there is always going to be a cheaper layover flight for every destination, but I have found that the majority of the time there is. It helps if your destination city has a major airline hub at their airport.
For example: Delta Airlines has a hub in Minneapolis, so chances are, any Delta flight that travels near or over Minnesota, is going to have a layover there.
Make sure you don't check any luggage! Which shouldn't be a problem for you because you read my blog post about How to Pack Like a Pro, right?!
As I stated above, this only works if you book your flights as TWO ONE-WAY tickets. You need to start at the airport that your ticket is for. Unfortunately, you can't just skip the first flight and get on the plane for the second leg of the trip without your whole trip getting canceled. I repeat, YOU MUST CHECK-IN AT THE AIRPORT WHERE YOUR TICKET STARTS.
It can be a little tricky booking flights like this; It's all about doing a little searching and plugging in different destinations. Once you get the hang of it, you will be appalled by how much the airlines markup certain flights and see how much money you could have been saving!
Now, go and stick it to the man (airlines) and don't let them rip you off anymore!