“I’ll never understand capitalism,” a friend told me after I shared how a multi-city flight itinerary became cheaper than a one-way.
“Maybe they’re just trying to get us to spend money in more places.”
Here’s what happened.
In moving to Costa Rica for a year, my wife and I purchased two roundtrip flights that had us returning to the States on December 16th — just in time for the holidays. We’ve been putting off purchasing our second trip from Cleveland to San José and back, because we’re not sure when precisely we will want and/or need to return to the States again. However, we did know that we need to be in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica by December 30th to honor a hotel reservation.
Finally we decided to see what kind of prices we were dealing with, knowing that the air travel Gods would surely punish us for daring to fly close to New Years Eve. Indeed, they did. A one-way flight from Cleveland to San José on December 30th came up around $700. This was about what we paid for our respective roundtrips earlier this year.
Simultaneously, I had been keeping my eye on a multi-city flight for $268 with Avianca Airlines that would send us to San Salvador, El Salvador on January 6th and back to San José via Guatemala City on January 20th. At first when I tried to combine them with our return from Cleveland, it simply added the costs together. Seemingly inexplicably, however, this changed just a few days later when we found a multi-city itinerary that sent us to Liberia, Costa Rica from Cleveland instead of San José, plus a 20-hour layover in Toronto. Bonus! This includes our El Salvador and Guatemala plans for a grand total that came up less than the aforementioned one-way from Cleveland to San José.
In short, we’re getting a bonus night in Toronto, a flight to Costa Rica and El Salvador, and a return from Guatemala for less than what it would have cost to do one flight from Cleveland to San José.
Whatever hocus pocus was at work, we’ll happily take it.