Ever wonder why the flight or series of flights you want are wildly expensive? It could be because no single airfare exists for it.

Not every route that can be flown has affordable airfare. For example, a complicated itinerary may produce completely unreasonable airfare. This is because, behind the scenes, that total may be made up of two or more individual airfares. As illogical as it seems, it may work out cheaper to do the same itinerary but include a few more stopovers, fly an alternative airline and purchase a return ticket when you only need a one-way airfare.

Routing Restrictions on Airfares

It’s not always clear why you can’t travel straight between A and B. This is because airlines need to maximize profitability, and even though it may seem illogical, this is achieved by traveling out of the way to collect more passengers.

For example, a flight between Auckland and London that flies via Seoul, Korea, and which involves an overnight stay is often cheaper than a direct flight. Direct flights commonly attract a premium even though they probably cost less technically. This is because demand for direct flights is greater. No one wants to stop over unless they have to. If there is a choice, most people will pay more to get between A and B as quickly as possible.


Flight Number Restrictions on Airfares

Ever wonder why you can’t just fly any flight number you choose? Sometimes specific flight numbers are restricted based on where the ticket is purchased, the combination of flights being purchased, and whether the airline is the operating carrier or a codeshare flight.

Airlines usually work within alliances to reach destinations that they don’t fly to themselves. It is how an airline can cater to the most significant number of passengers, even if it does not serve the destinations themselves.

For example, any domestic Australian travel must use Virgin Blue when flying between Sydney and Buenos Aires on Aerolineas Argentinas. Likewise, any domestic travel in Argentina must use only Aerolineas or Austral Lineas Aereas.

Airfare Rules and Cost Vary by Place of Purchase

Not all airfares are created equally. For example, an airfare that governs a domestic route can vary from an airfare sold from overseas in the same way. For example, a London to Auckland airfare on Singapore airlines is twice the cost when purchased from New Zealand as it is when bought from the U.K. Airlines decide where they want to sell seats from when setting their airfares.

Return flights may be cheaper than one-way flights. For instance, purchasing a one-way Lufthansa airline ticket between Frankfurt and Manchester might cost up to five times as much as purchasing a round-trip ticket. So it can work out to accept the return airfare and only use the first coupon.

How to Avoid Expensive Airfares

Airfares are not calculated in the way that an average person would expect. The most direct route is rarely the cheapest, even though it might be the shortest. A return ticket can be more affordable than a one-way airfare, and some seats on an aircraft are likely to be sold by other airlines.