A close friend of mine is getting married in Puerto Rico in June. To me, a destination wedding is an excuse for another vacation in addition to the rest of the vacations I’ve planned or will plan this year. It by no means will replace a vacation. I had already booked my flights with American Airlines for this wedding, but a friend who is also attending the wedding emailed me to help her find cheaper flights – the least expensive flight she could find was about $515 roundtrip from Charlotte.
So I immediately got to work to find her a cheaper fare. I went on kayak.com (my favorite site for aggregating flight prices), and noticed that the cheapest roundtrip flight was in fact the amount she told me. However, what kayak.com does not do a great job with is looking into flights as if they are one-ways and giving you different airlines on the departure and return. Knowing this, I went ahead and looked into one-way flights. She could take Delta for the departure for $211 (including taxes) and than US Airways on the way home for $249 (including taxes). Immediately this was a savings of $50 from a round-trip on US Airways. I then thought about it and remembered that when I was looking for flights for myself the day prior from NYC a one-way on US Airways on the return was much less than $200. So I re-looked into a one-way US Airways flight cost from Puerto Rico to NYC and it was $185 (with a layover in Charlotte!). Ultimately the US Airways flight to Charlotte was more than the same flight to Charlotte then continuing to NYC. Since Charlotte is a huge hub for US Airways I started looking into other cities from Puerto Rico that would stop in Charlotte then continue on to its final destination. I tried every airport code I could think of and flying to Dallas was the cheapest option at $182. My friend would then get off the plane in Charlotte and not transfer to the 2nd leg of the flight continuing onto Charlotte. This flight was$67 less than the flight ending in Charlotte. Immediately my friend booked these flights for a total savings of about $120 than what she found on kayak.com.
Remember though – if you are checking baggage this tactic will not work! Additionally, make sure this is your final destination, once you miss a leg – they will cancel the rest of your itinerary on the same reservation number.