Over the last few weeks, a number of travel TikTokers have been drawing attention to a way of booking travel that some have never considered while others have been knowingly or unknowingly using for decades.
“Have you ever heard of an open jaw flight? There’s a chance you’ve already taken one before,” the travel influencer behind the @ColleenYouOut account on various points and airline rewards programs, explained to her followers. “An open jaw flight is simply a flight where the destination and/or origin of the flight are not the same in both directions.”
Related: Donald Trump’s Team Just Admitted Going Around Airlines in Popular Travel ‘Hack’
But contrary to the multi-city booking option that airlines will offer on their website, “open jaw”-ing typically means booking two one-way flights from and to one’s destination. An example could be flying from Chicago to Paris and then back to Chicago from Munich after getting there by train, car or a low-cost regional airline — many who go on big European vacations typically do this to squeeze multiple countries into one trip.
All that you need to know about open jaw flights (including how to book one)
“Open jaw flights could save time or add more destinations to a trip for a similar price,” Justin Hayward of SimpleFlying wrote earlier this year. “If your travels will take you from one place to another, there is no need to have to return to the same airport.”
But whether one will actually save money depends a lot on where one flies. As return flights are typically cheaper than two one-ways, this only works as a money-saving tool if one books from a city with cheaper flights or stumbles upon a deal. Some risk-loving travelers will book a one-way ticket and then scour the internet for deals while already on vacation.
Representatives from Expedia (EXPE) – Get Free Report previously said that there has been an increase in travelers seeking out open jaw tickets amid the explosion of post-pandemic travel.
“It can also be a great way to build more flexibility and spontaneity into your trip, allowing you to explore more destinations during your trip,” an Expedia representative told Travel & Leisure.
Greater flexibility also comes with a cost, frequent travelers say
The traditional there-and-return ticket is generally becoming less and less common as more people spend extended time traveling and move across cities. A double-double jaw can also be used to refer to a ticket in which one flies between four different cities — for example, flying from New York to Paris and then getting back to the U.S. by flying from London to Houston.
But the biggest drawback of booking flights this way are the protections one gives up in the event that something goes wrong. Whether a simple return or a multi-city ticket, airlines are legally required to get the traveler to all of the destinations on one’s ticket or fully reimburse it.
By booking different legs of the trip individually, one will still get a refund if the flight is canceled and provided assistance with delays but is much less likely to get compensation if a problem leads to missed journeys further along in the trip.