Holidays and Airlines

I'm heading out on holiday (err... "vacation") in mid-May to see family and friends. I'll definitely be in London and Dover, England; I will almost certainly make it to Cologne, Germany and I'll probably make it to Brussels, Belgium for a couple of days before heading home to Melbourne, Australia for a week or two. Once there we could be doing a road trip to Adelaide or Sydney or who knows where...

Anyway, if any readers out there have travel tips or want to meet up, let me know. I'll probably be with friends most of the time, so I most likely won't want to spend all day geeking out, but getting together for coffee could be cool... obviously it would have to be in an open, public, high-traffic, well-lit area, in broad daylight, and preferably in full view of (or at least within earshot of) a law enforcement agency. I can't go taking any chances abroad, now can I?

Please note: con artists, drug dealers, and violent criminals need not apply.


Oh, and maybe someone reading this works for an airline (say... British Airways, Qantas, or United). Why are one-way trips so much more expensive than round-trip tickets? (And why are the airline web sites so useless? But I digress...)

I can fly from SEA -> LHR -> MEL -> LHR -> SEA for about US $2,500, using two round-trip tickets with one "nested" inside the other. The price isn't too bad, but it requires travelling much further than necessary and spending about 42 hours (almost two full days!) getting home. Note that that is elapsed time, not playing-with-timezones time. I'll be stuck on a plane for twenty-three hours from Melbourne via Singapore, then stuck at Heathrow for nine hours, then back on a plane again for another ten hours back to Seattle.

I would much rather go from SEA -> LHR -> MEL -> SEA, and spend only 21 hours getting home, but oh no. The airlines don't seem to like that idea at all - it would cost in excess of US $4,600 for me to spend less time in the air eating less airline food and consuming less jet fuel. Go figure.

I thought I might be able to alleviate the cost somewhat by using some of my stockpiled air miles to get the trip home "for free," bringing the sensible trip cost down to a "mere" US $3,000. But of course you can't use United miles on one-way flights, now can you? That would be far too convenient.


I guess the airlines figure they can charge whatever they want for one-way trips because it tends to be business people on whirl-wind sales trips or conference speaking circuits or bands going on tour or other kinds of travel where cost just isn't an issue (versus round-trip tickets where if it's too expensive to go on vacation, people just won't go).


Comments (7)

  1. Jeroen says:

    You should visit The Netherlands, seeing as you’ll be both west, east and south of it 🙂 And not just because I’m Dutch myself, but mostly because most foreigners I know always love their stays here, even though I can’t completely figure out why.

  2. Frederik Carlier says:

    If you want cheap travelling accross Europe, then check out these airlines:

    * Rynair (

    * Easyjet (

    * German Wings (

    * Hapag-Lloyd Express (

    * V-bird (

    and some others :). Of just do the real thing, and take the train (Eurostar – or Thalys ( That way you save the expensive tickets 😉

  3. Mike Walsh Helsinki says:

    This reminds me of getting to Manchester (England) to see my parents. Copenhagen (where MS was flying me and then back to Finland) is roughly half way so I thought it would be cheaper from there than from Helsinki.

    In the end it was, but only by booking my Copenhagen-Manchester-Copenhagen SAS flights from the (Swedish) SAS site rather than from the (Finnish) SAS site. [Note in neither case did the flight start or end in either Sweden or Finland].

    Booking via the .se site was also only possible because my son lives there so he received my credit card receipt (and promptly lost it)!

  4. ray says:

    There are plenty of companies offering around-the-world tickets – usually you can only travel in one direction, so no doubling back.

    This is usually the favourite way for backpackers from Europe/Australia/New Zealand/South Africa to see as much as possible in a limited time period (usually 1 year). You can find prices at most independent travellers agencies.

    You can also try:

  5. Peter Torr says:

    Thanks for the tip Ray. I looked into it at a local travel agency but they couldn’t do any better on price. I’ve nevertheless put my details into and will see what happens.

    Jeroen, I actually know someone in Holland so I might drop by for a few hours 😉

    In Europe we plan to either take the train or to drive.

  6. jeffdav says:

    Dude- I will be in St. Louis next month, so if you want to take a quick detour… er, oh, wait. I probably meet too many of your "need not apply" criteria. 😀

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