General Question

Evert's avatar

Why are single-trip flights so expensive?

Asked by Evert (167points) September 3rd, 2008

Does anyone know the (or a) reason why single-trip flights (in particular Europe <-> USA) are so ridiculously expensive? In my case, I want a trip starting in one European city, going to the USA, returning via Iceland to another European city. Three segments, four different cities. Prices I can find are around $5000.
Looks like I’ll have to end up with going back and forth between a few cities more than I like, to keep the price reasonable.

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9 Answers

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

They aren’t anymore. Most airlines, including Southwest, Airtran and Midwest allow you to book segments and not round trips. I’ll give you an example is a second…Check this link and you can see that you can book a one way flight…

Evert's avatar

Sorry, to be clear, I was rather specifically meaning intercontinental. Inter-US, or inter-Europe, can be cheap for single-lag flights. But I haven’t find anything even close to reasonably priced when travelling one-way from Europe to the USA.
Even if I don’t want such a trip, it still makes me wonder why they are so ridiculously expensive.

jballou's avatar

Gas prices have a lot to do with it, I would assume.

marinelife's avatar

1. Demand for one-way tickets is lower so the price can be higher.

2. One-way tickets have virtually no restrictions (such as length of stay, etc.).

3. RT travel to and from an airports hub is cheaper for the airline.

Evert's avatar

Gas prices? But those work both ways, right? So double the trip, double the price?
Marina, I don’t get 1: isn’t it normally so that higher demands mean higher prices? Or does economy work different for this? And I thought point 2 is the Saturday overnight stay trick, for people who actually want to get home for the weekend (family); two one-way tickets don’t have to equal a return trip, but being 5 times or more the price of a return trip is just plainly odd.

jballou's avatar

@Evert – Gas is actually pretty cheap in the US compared to some European countries. Perhaps the fact that the more expensive flights are the one that depart from Europe is because they have to fuel the planes there and pay the higher European gas prices, whereas when refueling in the US, it’s less expensive.

Just a guess.

marinelife's avatar

@Evert Perhaps I did not phrase it well. What I mean is that a person who needs a one-way ticket is sort of stuck and will pay a higher price rather than buy a round trip. More they get away with what the market will bear.

Evert's avatar

@Marina. Yeah, that makes some sense. Because buying a return trip (a lot cheaper than even a single one-way) and then not showing up at your return flight will probably get you into trouble with authorities.
Cannot wait till an airline fills in this gap.

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