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Hacking Dual Flights (An Advanced Travel Hacking Strategy Guide)


Hacking dual flights is an advanced travel hacking strategy where you can save money when booking two different flights by purchasing them as one ticket.

Updated: 2019-04-21.

There may come a time of the year that is especially busy for you, in terms of flying. December is like that for me; between holidays to see family and mileage runs to keep my elite status, the end of the year usually has several flights packed into it. In this new scenario, which shouldn’t take any extra time to comprehend, I want to quickly show you how you can save a few bucks by booking two itineraries together.

For my example, I need to fly from New York to San Francisco on the first weekend of December, followed immediately by a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico on the weekend after. I will be flying from New York City on Friday both times, and returning on Sunday. Also, for this example, I will use Delta.com to simplify things, but mixing the tricks here with some other fare hacking tips could yield further results on the cheap side.

For most people, it doesn’t seem to come into mind that these can be combined; it looks like (and, in fact, is) two separate trips.

Here is what I need:

  • NYC-SFO Nov 30 through Dec 2
  • NYC-SJU Dec 7 through Dec 9

Here is what it looks like when I do the normal thing and book each separately:

hacking dual flights example 1

That was the San Francisco itinerary, now here’s the San Juan:

hacking dual flights example 2

You see, the total of both flights comes out to exactly $746.

Now, what if we tried to book this as one itinerary? That would mean that we should handle this ticket as a multi-city itinerary, basically a trip from New York to San Fran for 2 nights, followed by a flight to New York for 5 nights, followed by San Juan for two nights. Get it?

Going to Delta and using their multi-city flight option, I input all four segments of the trip:

  1. JFK-SFO Nov 30, 5:00 pm
  2. SFO-JFK Dec 2, 4:00 pm
  3. JFK-SJU Dec 7, 8:30 am
  4. SJU-JFK Dec 9, 5:09 pm

Here is the result:

hacking dual flights example 3

Did you see what just happened there? It was a grand total of $746.00, now it is $673.71, a savings of $72.29!

And throughout, every aspect of the search stayed the same; same flight numbers, same times, same fare class. Now, I’m not sure what exactly allows for this cheaper fare when booked together, though, by looking above, we can see that we can rule out tax savings. I had previously thought that perhaps the carrier-imposed fees would be treated all as one ticket, but that’s not the case.

Whatever it is, it’s cheaper this way, so make sure you remember this simple tip the next time you have two flights in mind!

Did you enjoy this article? Check out our complete travel hacking guide for more advanced tips, as well as our travel terminology definitions if you’re unsure of a particular term or phrase. Thanks for reading!

Christian Eilers
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Christian Eilers
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