What’s An Open Jaw Flight And Why Should You Care?

The simplest of round trip airfare consists of flying to one city and then flying back from the arriving airport to your origin airport. One example would be flying from New York JFK to London Heathrow and back.


Two map dots and a single line connecting them.

However, it’s possible to book a round trip ticket where either the return trip either departs from or arrives at a different airport. That’s called an open jaw:

denoting or relating to a trip in which an airline passenger flies in to one destination and returns from another.

Here’s where I imagine some people are preparing comments like, “WHO DOESN’T KNOW WHAT AN OPEN JAW FLIGHT MEANS!!!” or, “WRITE ARTICLES WITH REAL INFORMATION!”

If you’re thinking that, obviously this article isn’t for you. There was a time when all of us, including me and even you, didn’t know what an open jaw flight was. This article is for people just getting into points and miles who have never heard of open jaw flights before, or if they have, really aren’t sure exactly what the term means.

And if you’re one of the people who have never heard of open jaw flights, ignore the people who make comments like those above.


Now, back to the post:

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Here’s An Easy Way To Save $150 Per Person On A Trip To London

There’s a whole bunch of information you need to know when booking travel using points and miles. Some things you know by heart because you use the information all the time, like which airlines fly from your home airport to your favorite travel destination and what are the best points to book those flights. There’s a bunch more information that you’ll read and bookmark because you think you’ll need it later. There’s one more category of information that you’ll come across, the things that you remember you read about, but only AFTER you find out about them again by accident. For me, this trick, or way to use an airline’s rule to your advantage, just saved $300 on our upcoming trip to London.

I was doing searches, trying to find award space between the U.S. and London. To save time, I look at individual flight segments, as we’re willing to fly one airline to a location and a different one home. And frankly, with award flights, this might be the only way to make a trip. Anyway, I quickly realized that our choices were limited. We weren’t going to fly on United and they have no other partners who fly to London without connecting in Europe. You can book flights on British Airways with Avios or with American miles but they both add the fees British Airways charges to award tickets so it would cost several hundred dollars for each ticket on top of the miles required. So I had one choice left, Delta.

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How To Look For The Cheapest Round Trip Airfare

Searching for domestic round trip airfare is so 2000s. That was the time when you needed to book a round trip ticket to get the best price. One way flights were only for business people and because the bill was going to the expense account, were priced accordingly. But bit by bit, as technology improved, airlines started to price flights by the individual segments, so when you paid for a round trip ticket, you were actually paying for two one way flights on the same reservation number. Knowing this, you can now build an itinerary that best fits your needs and still save some money. I take more trips where I fly on two different carriers instead of ones where all my flights are on the same airline.

How can you search for flights individually instead of a round trip? Turns out, it’s really easy.

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