Different people prefer different ways to travel. While some might prefer direct flights, if you’re willing to spend time on a layover, you can save yourself some cash!
“Connecting Flights” vs. Open-Jaw vs. “Hidden Cities”
There are a lot of different ways to save money on flights by leveraging connections. You can book open-jaw itineraries which is when you fly home from a different airport than you flew into. (It’s one of the ways that the Coworkaholic was able to go to Dubai for only $100.) Then there’s “hidden cities” which is when you book a connecting flight to a less expensive final destination, only to get off the plane at the connecting city. (The one you wanted to go to.) While that method has become quite trendy and popular, there’s some downsides that come with it.
“Connecting Flights” however, offers a great way to save on flights just in case open-jaw isn’t an option or you’re having to check a bag or don’t feel like getting sued by an airline.
Using Google Flights Search Criteria
My brother (who lives in Denver) is going to Machu Picchu in a few months with a friend from Los Angeles and asked me to help him book tickets. He gave me his friend’s flight information and told me he wanted to be on the same flight as her. They are both paying cash for the flights and buying the Lima to Cusco flight separately.
Los Angeles to Lima Roundtrip (LAX-LIM): $630
Denver to Los Angeles (DEN-LAX) Considerations: Google Flights “Connecting Flight” Criteria
I assumed my brother’s flight was going to be more expensive because he had to (1) fly from Denver to Los Angeles to meet with his friend prior to their shared flight and (2) fly from Los Angeles to Denver to get home.
I had never really messed around with the “connecting airports” criteria on Google Flights even though I rarely depart from Denver on international flights paid with cash or miles. Notably, there were cheaper flights from Denver to Lima with a different connecting airport but he wanted to be on the same LAX flight with his friend. I set LAX as a requirement for the connecting flight.
Denver-Los Angeles-Lima Roundtrip (DEN-LAX-LIM): $627
I was so confused by the results. The exact same LAX-LIM roundtrip flights we wanted plus the DEN-LAX roundtrip was cheaper than flying direct out of LAX.
Takeaway: You Learn Something New Every Day
I did a Google search of this Connecting Flight Phenomenon, © Jonny Tran. Apparently, it’s a pretty well-known thing—so that copyright probably won’t hold. LOL! But if luddites like me or my friends are any indicator, I’m guessing this post might be helpful to someone out there.
The How to Save Money on Flights by Searching for “Connecting Flights” post was first published on Coworkaholic.