6 Flight Booking Apps That Could Save You Money

This may be a one-way ticket to big savings.

Stop defaulting to just looking at round-trip airfare prices when you buy plane tickets. An analysis by airfare research app Hopper found that booking two one-way tickets — otherwise known as hacker fares — rather than a round-trip ticket can save you money pretty often.

“On domestic routes, we found hacker fares will be cheaper 11% of the time and offer an average savings of 10% or $33,” Hayley Berg, an economist at Hopper, told MarketWatch.

If you’re going overseas, the savings can be even bigger: “On international routes, we found hacker fares will be cheaper 18% of the time and offer an average savings of 14% or $92,” she said.

Don’t miss: 8 insider secrets to landing a comfortable seat on the airplane

Of course, those are just averages, so sometimes the savings could be even more. Travel site KAYAK KYAK, >+0.00%   — which has a section for hacker fares — found that it could mean up to 40% in savings.

Hacker fares may be particularly relevant for people who live in cities serviced by multiple airlines, particularly budget airlines that offer dirt-cheap rates. Indeed, recent sales (though now over) included one-way Caribbean flights for $59, domestic flights for $69 and European flights for under $100. Often with deals like these the return flight on the same airline is significantly higher.

Hacker fares tend to offer the biggest savings in certain cities, according to a new analysis from KAYAK. Booking hacker fares to Kona, Hawaii, and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., tend to offer the biggest savings (around 22%), followed by St. Augustine, Fla.; Palm Springs, Calif., and Niagara Falls.

See also: This is exactly how many days ahead you should buy a plane ticket

Expert flyers like George Hobica, founder of airline deal site AirfareWatchdog.com, say they frequently look for one-way tickets to save money for reasons other than just the savings on airfare.

Sometimes the timing is better, Hobica explains: “Maybe the flight times on a round-trip ticket on A or B might not be ideal for your schedule; buying one-ways you have more flight-time flexibility.”

And it could lead to lower cancellation fees, he says: “Let’s say you buy a $300 round-trip on [airline] A and need to change or cancel the outward trip or the return trip. You’ll forfeit $200 in cancellation fees,” he explains. “But if you’ve bought a $150 one-way on A and a $150 one-way return on B and you are only changing/cancelling one of the flights, you’re only out $150 (the cost of one of the segments).”



Catey Hill is MarketWatch's senior content strategist. She writes about how to upgrade your life, and helps readers find great deals on products and services. Follow her on Twitter @CateyHill.

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