How to Book Open-Ended Flights
An open-ended airline ticket allows you to control your travel schedule, but such freedom comes at a price. Not all airlines offer this type of flexible ticket, and the ones that do tend to charge more for the service. Still, people who want to linger longer on vacation or extend their stay for work can buy an open-ended ticket. Some airlines require you to purchase a round-trip ticket but allow you to reschedule or postpone your departure or return flight. Read the fine print, though, as airlines often charge a "change fee."
Choose a departure airport and write down where you wish to go. Consult a calendar to pick a loose date for your return. Some airlines allow you to purchase an open-ended ticket as long as the return flight is redeemed within one year from your departure. A few airlines allow only a seven-day window for adjustments. Flying internationally with an open-ended ticket is difficult because of tighter airline security. Some airlines charge large fees for the convenience of an international open-ended flight.
Compare rates using an online comparison tool like Fare Compare (farecompare.com) or Airfare Analyzer (fareanalyzer.com) to get the best prices for tickets. Choose between a secured and unsecured ticket. You can change the return date on a secured ticket for a fee but the ticket is not refundable. Fliers may request a refund for an unsecured ticket.
Select which airline you want to use and call it directly. Ask about open-ended flight fares. You might notice that this type of ticket costs more. Purchase your ticket using your credit card.
Accept that confirmed passengers on the return flight might have priority boarding. If flying back on an open-ended flight, you could get bumped multiple times. Prepare to wait and demonstrate patience.
Things You Will Need
You can purchase a standard round-trip ticket, change the return flight and pay the change fee. Airlines like Southwest (southwest.com) do not charge change fees.
Finding an international open-ended flight is more difficult than booking a domestic one.