Never heard of an open-jaw flight? You may recognize this concept, but we want to teach you how utilizing an open-jaw itinerary can save you time, money, or both. These flight hacks will make your jaw drop (pun very much intended)!
What is an Open-Jaw Flight?
An open-jaw flight is a flight itinerary is like your typical round-trip flights but with two separate parts: a flight from City A to City B, and then a flight from City C to back to City A.
For example, a departing flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and a return flight from Amsterdam (AMS) back to Minneapolis.
An open-jaw itinerary is slightly different from a multi-city trip in that there is no middle flight connecting City B to City C. Instead of flying from City B to City C as part of your itinerary, you’d make other plans for transportation.
Why Should I Book an Open Jaw Flight?
Let’s dive in on why an open-jaw booking may be right for you.
Let’s say you’re doing a trip through Europe and are planning to visit multiple cities during your travels. Perhaps you’ll start in Paris, and work your way east to end up in Budapest. Why buy a roundtrip ticket to Paris and have to make your way all the way back to France at the end?
You can save yourself some time by booking an open-jaw itinerary. Instead of wasting a half day getting from Budapest to Paris, just fly home from Budapest. In this case, your open jaw flight itinerary would be your home airport to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and then Budapest (BUD) back to your home airport.
These open jaw itineraries aren’t always cheaper, but they can be a lot more efficient. Save precious time during travel and avoid backtracking to your first city if you can fly out of another airport for a similar price.
Utilizing an open jaw itinerary can save you lots of travel time, especially in travel plans that involve visiting more than one city. But it can also save you money!
Traveling through Southeast Asia? Save money by taking advantage of cheap trains, buses, and boats between cities. Simply use an open-jaw itinerary to fly into your first city, and fly out of your last.
Plus, taking the bus, train, or ferry between cities can provide for even better views of the countries your traveling through. Save cash and see more? It’s a win-win!
Save on Flights to One City
Even if you’re just visiting one city, using open-jaw flights can save you money. Several cities have multiple airports: Why not fly out of the cheapest one?
Let’s say you’re heading to Paris. What if a flight into Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is cheapest, but flying out of Paris-Orly (ORY) is cheaper for the way home? Use an open-jaw flight to make that happen! Your open-jaw itinerary would look like this, for example: JFK – CDG, ORY – JFK. It won’t always be a money-saver, but this strategy is worth considering.
You can search for cheap fares into multiple airports on Google Flights. Google Flights allows you to input up to 7 departure or destination cities! For example, I recently searched for cheap flights to Napa Valley, California. Instead of only searching for flights into Santa Rosa (STS), I searched for flights to San Francisco (SFO), Sacramento (SMF), Oakland (OAK), and San Jose (SJC) – all near the Bay Area and accessible by driving to Napa. This saved me hundreds!
Or, type in the codes for cities rather than specific airports to see what your cheapest options are. For example, you can search:
- PAR: all Paris airports
- LON: all London airports
- CHI: all Chicago airports
- NYC: all New York City-area airports
- TYO: all Tokyo airports
And many more. It can be worth flying into or out of a different city airport to save!
How to Book an Open-Jaw Flight
Booking an open jaw flight is quite similar to booking a multi-city itinerary. In Google Flights, select “Multi-City” instead of roundtrip.
Then, input your departure flight (City A to City B), and your returning flight (City C to City A). Select the dates as you normally would, and hit search.
If you’re visiting multiple cities and want to save time or are simply looking for a way to save more on flights, try searching for open-jaw itineraries. Using this kind of strategy can help you see more for less! Want to learn more of our best cheap travel tips and tricks? Start learning with our Thrifty Traveler University online lessons.