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What Is the Definition of an Open-Ended Ticket?

Sports teams and fans are often trying to figure out who to make the best air travel plans. If you win, you don’t want to waste airfare, but if you lose, you don’t want to stick around a town that is probably celebrating your loss.

Open-ended tickets are a great solution to allow sports teams the flexibility of having the ticket be ready when they are, win or lose. Open-ended tickets vary in price and terms. Always review the terms carefully when purchasing airline tickets.

Open-Ended Ticket



An open-ended ticket is an airline ticket that has no set return date. It is a ticket purchased with terms so that it is able to be modified or changed as circumstances change. When the ticket is purchased, a return ticket is purchased without a travel date, meaning this is to be determined as requested by the traveler.

When booking an open-ended ticket, it is important to understand the difference between restricted and unrestricted fares.



Restricted tickets are those tickets that are purchased with a return date but have the ability to change that date for a fee. These tickets are non-refundable.

Most are good for a year from the start of the trip. The restrictions should be carefully considered when purchasing them, as the terms and conditions vary from airline to airline and special fares.



Unrestricted tickets are good for one year and are refundable if not used. If a flight is missed once it has been booked, this negates the value of the ticket and is not refundable. Certain carriers may offer a stand-by fare for situations such as these.

This type of open-ended ticket is not as popular as it once was, since airlines began offering restricted tickets which are generally much less expensive and many are good for the same time frame.



One of the main considerations when buying an open-ended ticket is the urgency that may be required in returning. If for some reason, a priority arises and the need to get back demands a specific date, the airline may not be able to accommodate the open-ended ticket.

The reason is open-ended tickets are bookable based on availability. If all flights are booked, a person may be allowed to take stand-by status but may not be able to get on a flight for days if it is a busy period.



There is a substantial difference in cost between a restricted and unrestricted ticket. Both ultimately depend on the market and destination. Restricted tickets can be as much as three times less than unrestricted tickets.

The cost to change a restricted ticket is usually around $100 for most carriers. Because of the cost difference, most people choose restricted tickets that can be changed for a fee. The only real benefit to the unrestricted fare is that it can be refunded.



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