6 Different Airfare Types to Choose

by | Last updated Dec 25, 2023 | Transport / Travelling

Depending on the route chosen, your flight can take a few ice-filled drinks, wrestles with packets of peanuts, a dinner, a light refreshment, a breakfast, hopefully a snooze, a couple of trips to the loo and a movie or two. So what types of airline tickets are out there? I have found there are 6 different airfare types you can purchase to get you flying. To help you decide if an ‘open jaw’, ‘single’ ‘muti-city’ or ‘round the world’ is the right choice for your next holiday, here is a simple airfare terminology guide to help you choose the right ticket as there are different airfare types to choose from.

I have been lucky that my dad worked for an airline, so all my life I have been flying. Sometimes it was on an economy class airfare, sometimes a business class airfare and a couple of times a first class airfare. All discounted thanks to my dad. But then when I started flying solo and moved abroad to the UK on a working holiday, I had to pay the full fare myself. So of course, I wanted the cheapest airfare possible as a solo budget traveler. The research I did on airfares, I now pass to you in this post. Let’s get into it. 


6 Different Airfare Types to Choose From


One-way Airfare Ticket


First airfare on my list of different airfares to choose from is a one-way airfare ticket. A one-way ticket is great if you do not know when you will be returning to where you are leaving from. Or not returning at all. It allows a single flight between two destinations. For example: Melbourne to Sydney, Los Angeles to London, Delhi to Vancouver or Dublin to New York – I think you get the drift! Purchasing a one-way ticket will allow you the flexibility to return when you feel like it, you just need to purchase another ticket. They are really good if you are moving abroad on a working holiday holiday visa or country-hopping on a digital nomad visa.


Return Airfare


The most popular type of airfare is the return airfare ticket. A return airfare ticket is a flight to your chosen destination and then back to your original departure point. For example: Melbourne to Perth and then back to Melbourne or London to Paris and back to London. These can be very economical however, not always flexible. Often the cheaper the return airfare ticket the more restrictions they have, such as not being able to change the time or date of the flight.


Round-the-world Airfare Ticket


One of my favourite airfares of all the different airfare types available is the round-the-world airfare ticket. This ticket allows you to make a number of stops (where you can stay for a while) along your chosen route. The main thing you must do is continue in the one direction until you return to your original destination. For example: Melbourne – Los Angeles – New York – London – Hong Kong – Melbourne. If you know where you want to go then a round-the-world ticket may be for you.


Open-jaw Airfare Ticket


An open-jaw airfare ticket allows you the freedom to fly into one city and out of another. Thus, you will have the option to use other means of transport between the two cities. For example:  Fly Melbourne to Sydney,  then travel overland by car or train to Brisbane and then fly out of Brisbane back to Melbourne. Or fly to Singapore, travel overland to Bangkok then fly out of Bangkok back to Melbourne.


Air Pass


If you have limited time in a destination or don’t want to spend hours on a coach or train you may consider purchasing an air pass. With one of these you can fly to major cities and organise any short tours from there, then hop on a plane to another major city. These passes are available in most countries. For example, you may want to visit some of Australia’s major cities so you could buy an air pass that would start in Sydney, fly to Melbourne, then onto Adelaide, Perth and back to Sydney. Very similar to a round-the-world pass but for a particular country.


A Multi-stop Airfare Ticket


Last, but not least on my list of different airfares to choose from is the multi-stop ticket. A multi-stop airfare ticket is an individually tailored flight itinerary that allows you to stop off at multiple destinations before returning to your original departing point. For example: Melbourne – Honolulu – Los Angeles – New York – Houston – Las Vegas – Melbourne.

There are some terms you may hear while researching airfares including Lay-Over and Mixed Class ticket. A Lay-Over is when you have a ticket to a destination that has an enforced stop because the travel is a long time. For example: Melbourne to New York via Los Angeles – you stop in Los Angeles for a few hours so the plane can refuel or you change planes to continue to your destination.


Different Class of Airfare Ticket


As well as the different types of airfare tickets there are also different classes of travel within these tickets. There are 4 cabin classes offered on most airlines: economy, premium economy, business, and first class. Many budget travellers opt for the economy ticket however, many are travel hacking to receive upgrades to classes offering more room, a seat that reclines to a bed and better food! Upgrading is great on longer flights.

A Mixed Class ticket is when you change airline classes on different flights. For example, you may want to fly from Melbourne to London. You could fly to Asia in Economy Class and then fly the longer portion of the flight from Asia to Europe in Business class, as business class will be more comfortable. And being more comfortable on your flight can help you survive your flight and arrive at the other end not so drained.


Different types of published airfare

As well as deciding which type of airfare you want and the class of airfare, then you need to consider the types of published fares for airlines. These include unrestricted full airfares giving you the flexibility to change or cancel tickets. Then you have discount airfares or excursion airfares which most of us choose, but these often come with restrictions such as weekend stays, advance purchase and only travel at certain times of the year.

Are You Ready to Choose an Airfare?


I hope I have unravelled airfares for you in this post. My best advice to find your perfect airfare is to shop around until you find a ticket that suits you and your budget. I use Skyscanner on a regular basis to search and find great airfare deals at the best price possible. I don’t always purchase the airfare through Skyscanner, I often purchase directly through the airline. And don’t forget to take out travel insurance to cover you for any mishaps that might happen. I recommend WorldNomads for general travel insurance and SafetyWing for long term travel. If you find any other airfares available I would love to hear about them in the comments following.


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Sharyn McCullum Travel Writer and Founder Of Live Work Play Travel, Work Abroad, Work Online, Travel Blog Enjoying At Beer At The Coldstream Brewery In The Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia.

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to live work play travel around the world with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.

1 Comment

  1. Dearne

    How interesting, I didn’t know that there were this many types of air fares available! I will certainly consider them all. Thanks for the all the great information.


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