The Risk of Booking Multiple Tickets
Updated: Jul 20
When purchasing international flights, more often than not, there will be connecting flights throughout travel. Because these flights can get pricey, we tend to look for every opportunity to lower our costs and find the “best” deal. In some cases, this might mean using several airlines or multiple tickets to reach your final destination.
You may have run across a situation like this before. Let’s say you are flying from Amarillo, TX to Entebbe, Uganda. You might notice that the airline options are extremely limited because of the size of the Amarillo airport. You might discover that if you depart from Chicago, IL your choice of airlines is significantly better and potentially the price as well. If you decided to purchase a separate ticket on Southwest Airlines from Amarillo to Chicago you could then take advantage of these other airlines and possibly save a little cash along the way.
Initially this sounds like a great idea, but it can actually be quite risky and what seems like a cheaper solution could end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Unless splitting your tickets is the only way to reach your final destination or if it cuts your trip cost in half, the price difference probably isn’t worth putting your whole trip at risk.
The reality of traveling by air is that snow, storms, or even mechanical issues could cause problems with flying. If you miss a connecting flight purchased as a single ticket (due to weather, mechanical issues, etc.), the airline is responsible for getting you re-accommodated on the next available flight. On the other hand, if you have multiple tickets and a delay on your first ticket causes you to miss the flights on your second ticket, the airline is not responsible for helping your group in any way. In many cases your second ticket will be voided and you could lose the entire value of your ticket. When this happens, the only option to continue your journey is to purchase a new ticket at the airport, which could easily cost 2 to 3 times your original ticket price assuming that the flights are not already sold out.
Sometimes your only option is to split a ticket and sometimes the savings is worth the risk. It is important to remember that you could potentially put your whole trip at risk. This can include but is not limited to the loss of your trip or the loss of finances. If you decide to split your tickets, make sure you give yourself more than enough time for delays. If at all possible spend the night at that connection airport or give yourself the whole day to account for any potential problems. Plan to have your first ticket arrive in the morning and the second ticket depart that evening to allow time for any unexpected delays or cancellations. If you do have any problems you will be glad that you gave yourself the extra time. If all flights go smoothly, take some time and go explore the city on your layover!
**Want to make the most out of your layover? Here are a few cool options around the globe to pass the time! (Most sites have translation available.)
Written by: Hannah Victoria Bewley
With help from Rusty Reams