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What Is a One-Way Ticket?


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A round-trip or a one-way ticket?

When booking a flight ticket, you have these two options. Well, there are more options, and we talk about them on this website, but these are two of the most popular options. Most people will consider only between these two. In this article, we’ll help you understand what a one-way flight is and when it might be more ideal for your travel needs.

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1. What Is a One-Way Ticket?

A one-way ticket is when you travel only one way. Obvious, right? You may, and most likely, will be traveling back or onwards, but you are going to be booking that flight or flights separately. Most people use it when:

  • unsure of the return date. If you’re unsure of when you’ll be returning, then a one-way flight ticket is a perfect option.
  • returning or flying onward with a different airline. You may book one flight with one airline, and other flight with a different airline. Just like connecting flights with different airlines, this is also possible. This is also how oftentimes you book “connecting flights with budget airlines“; when your whole itinerary is a set of different flights. For example, when booking a connection with Ryanair or Wizz Air.
  • returning with a different mode of transportation. Maybe you are returning with a bus or train, and you just don’t need that return flight.

You may have a one-way ticket, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have an onward ticket/return ticket. It just may be a separate ticket.

2. Are One-Way Flights Cheaper?

One-way flights can be cheaper than return flights.

They can also be significantly more expensive.

It depends on the situation. If, for example, you are very flexible and can fly anytime and from anywhere, it may also be cheaper for you to book several one-way flight tickets than return tickets.

It doesn’t change the fact that sometimes they are exactly what you need. For the right situations, one-way tickets are the best.

3. When Is a One-Way Flight Ideal?

One-way flights are ideal for travelers who don’t know their return date or want to have more freedom and flexibility during the trip. For instance, if you’re traveling abroad for a long period and unsure of when or how you’ll be coming back home, one-way flight ticket is an ideal option.

One-way flight is ideal for gap-year travelers.

However, you shouldn’t forget that one-way travel comes with its own set of possible problems and things to consider. We have a separate guide on one-way international flights problems. It’s very important to know at least these basics. Not knowing that you may be denied boarding one day.

One-way flight is ideal for gap-year travelers.

One-way flights are also great when visiting one-way destinations.

For instance, if you wish to visit Europe/South America/Asia and will have time to explore a part of the region, not just one country, you may opt for a one-way flight. You might decide to fly from New York to Rome, and from there, take a train or bus to another destination, such as Florence, then go to Amsterdam and Barcelona, and fly home from Barcelona.

See our itineraries for inspiration:

One-way tickets are great:

  • if you want flexibility
  • if you are going on a long trip abroad
  • if you are going on a gap year
  • if you are visiting several countries
Bahrain airport arrivals
Bahrain airport arrivals

4. Benefits of One-Way Tickets

One-way tickets are ideal for dealing with unexpected changes in travel schedules. If all you have is just a single one-way ticket, that is. If you have several tickets, if you have a self-transfer, then it’s different.

They also allow for maximum flexibility. You can book a one-way flight now and book a return flight ticket at a later time, giving you more freedom and control over your travel schedule. You don’t have to stick to any schedule.

One-way tickets are also time-efficient as they allow you to skip backtracking or stopping over before your final destination. This opportunity is ideal for business travelers who need to travel to two different cities/countries for meetings or conference purposes.

5. Drawbacks of One-Way Tickets

One major disadvantage of one-way tickets is higher fees.

With the majority of airlines one-way ticket reservations cost more than one return journey on the same route. If you’re booking flights separately, this is what you mostly experience. It may also be cheaper, though, especially if you’re traveling with very little baggage and can go with any airline. Traveling with a carry on bag only can be super cheap.

You may also have problems with a visa. The other disadvantage to consider is that it can be a challenge to obtain a visa without a return flight booked. Some countries expect to see a return ticket when letting in a tourist on a short-term visa. You may be asked for a ticket also when you don’t need a visa for this particular country (they just stamp your passport or register you in their system).

In the worst case, you may be denied boarding.

Without rights to UK/EU flight compensation. Without right to care.

Know the Rules, Travel Prepared

A one-way ticket is a practical option for travelers who have flexible travel schedules or for those who wish to explore certain destinations without retracing their steps. For some, it can also be a cost-effective option.

However, it’s important to consider the drawbacks of booking a one-way flight in advance, such as higher fees, possible visa restrictions and/or problems with flights, and travel planning. We hope that now you will be better informed and will be able to make better decisions.

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What is your experience with one-way tickets? Have you ever had any problems with one-way tickets? How did you solve that?

About the author:

Co-founder and Chief Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Kaspars is a digital nomad and travel blogger who’s been traveling the world extensively since 2013. Since 2017, Kaspars has been writing about the less-known aspects of air travel, things like air passenger rights laws and regulations. He’s really good at simplifying complex concepts and making them easily understandable. Kaspars favorite airlines are Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.


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Connecting Flights Guide

Your go-to guide to air travel rules and regulations. Connecting flights, self transfer, onward tickets and more – we want you to understand air travel better

This article may contain compensated links. Learn more in our disclaimer.

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