Do One Way Tickets Subject People to Extra Screening?

Old May 27, 07, 3:46 pm
  #1  
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Do One Way Tickets Subject People to Extra Screening?

I tried to do a search to find my answer and it didn't work, so I guess I'll ask my question here.

I might be going to New York to visit family in September (9/17) and plan to return on 9/22.
My original plan was to fly JetBlue from BUR into JFK, and on the return fly into ONT as I have something to take care of in that area when I come home.

When I checked available flights into ONT I noticed JetBlue only has ONE flight into that airport and it arrives at 11:00pm.

So I checked SWA and they have several flights from ISP to ONT.
The flight I'm looking at would go from ISP/MDW/ONT and would arrive at 1:10pm.
------------------
Now for my question-
Since I would be basically travelling one way on both trips does that stand out in the eyes of Security that would subject me to additional screening?

The only baggage I'll have will be one bag with my clothes and my laptop case that I'll take on the plane w/ me (no checked bags)

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old May 27, 07, 3:50 pm
  #2  
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One way ticket purchases substantially increase the odds for being selected for addtional screening, but additional scrutiny is not as frequently the result as it used to be for one-way ticket purchases.
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Old May 27, 07, 4:58 pm
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I traveled about a month ago on a one-way ticket and was not subject to any additional screening -- much to my surprise.
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Old May 27, 07, 6:00 pm
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I purchase a lot of last-minute, one-way tickets. Now, when I say "last minute" I really mean it--- of the 6 one-way tickets I've bought in the last few months, all 6 of them were purchased from inside the secure area, all results of diverted or cancelled flights, I'm stranded somewhere between home and my client and "I absolutely positively gotta be there overnight." I've had the SSSS on my boarding pass on all of them. Fortunately, since I was booking these from INSIDE the secure area, I could use kiosk check-in from the pier/terminal and not have to go back through security.

I don't get the same SSSS-action on my last minute, round trip fares, though.
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Old May 27, 07, 7:54 pm
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Sadly, one-way tickets are still a metric that the ...-clowns who wrote the haraSSSSment algorithm use.

However, as others have noted, you can substantially reduce your risk of idiotic, unnecessary, and un-American haraSSSSment by getting a FF# into the reservation prior to ticketing. Paying with a credit card with a history of ticket purchase use for the traveling passenger also helps to reduce this risk.

Many one-way tickets are refundable, though not all. It used to be that a one-way ticket was frequently a full-fare ticket, but Southwest's ticketing practices have forced the other carriers to also offer restricted and cheaper one-way tickets. In any event, if you have a refundable one-way ticket, the tactic to take is:

If you receive haraSSSSment, tell the agent:

Remove It or Lose It

That is, if the airline will not deselect you, refund your ticket and buy another on a competitor.
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Old May 27, 07, 8:01 pm
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There seem to be three schools of thought on this:

1) YES!!
2) Why do you want to know?
3) Do you want to fly today?

I have seen the incidence of the SSSS on a one way ticket becoming less prevalent. While no one will officialy discuss how you are selected, some combination of round trip vs. one way; last minute purchase; method of paymnt and destination seem to all play into it.

Not long after 9/11, a one way fare was a guarantee for additional screening and on most of my experiences, some asinine quesitoning as well (Why are you flying one way? Are you returning to Chicago? Wy didnt you buy a one way ticket? What is the purpose of your travel to ____ today?)

One day I was told to fly immediately from Phoenix to Las Vegas as soon as the job I was working on was done. I walked up to the America Worst counter at PHX and paid with a bunch of $20 bills for a walk up one way fare. I was actually surprised that I was not wisked off to the cones of silence for interrogation.

Just a couple of weeks ago I bought a one way ticket 6 hours before departure and had no SSSS.

--PP
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Old May 27, 07, 9:29 pm
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Originally Posted by VideoPaul View Post
There seem to be three schools of thought on this:

1) YES!!
2) Why do you want to know?
3) Do you want to fly today?

I have seen the incidence of the SSSS on a one way ticket becoming less prevalent. While no one will officialy discuss how you are selected, some combination of round trip vs. one way; last minute purchase; method of paymnt and destination seem to all play into it.

Not long after 9/11, a one way fare was a guarantee for additional screening and on most of my experiences, some asinine quesitoning as well (Why are you flying one way? Are you returning to Chicago? Wy didnt you buy a one way ticket? What is the purpose of your travel to ____ today?)

One day I was told to fly immediately from Phoenix to Las Vegas as soon as the job I was working on was done. I walked up to the America Worst counter at PHX and paid with a bunch of $20 bills for a walk up one way fare. I was actually surprised that I was not wisked off to the cones of silence for interrogation.

Just a couple of weeks ago I bought a one way ticket 6 hours before departure and had no SSSS.

--PP
Thanks to everyone that replied to my post, I really appreciate it.
Paul, to answer your qusestions-
---------------------------
1) YES!!
2) Why do you want to know? So I know if it's going to be an added problem to choose one-way travel w/ two airline rather then book round-trip out of BUR.
3) Do you want to fly today?- No planning to fly to NY in September (read my origional post) to visit family. BUR is the closest airport to me, so I'm looking at a direct flight on JetBlue to JFK.
I have something I need to take care of in Ontario when I come home, and JetBlue's only flight to ONT arrives late at night, but Southwest has several flights into ONT that arrive during the day, so...JetBlue to JFK (one-way) and SWA to ONT on the return (also one-way)
Before you ask-Why am I thinking about using JetBlue into NY and SWA coming home...answer is cost, JetBlue is a little cheaper then SWA and offers direct flights, and since I used them last year I would like to use them again.
But coming home it would be more convient to fly into ONT, and JetBlue doesn't have flights that would work for me.

If I find that it's going to cause more problems for me to fly two one-way flights on different airlines I'll simply book a round trip on JetBlue and worry about getting to Ontario after I get home.
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Old May 28, 07, 12:07 am
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I buy one way tickets all the time and haven't had an SSSS since 2001. (just jinxed myself I'm sure).

One about 2 months ago was within an hour of the flight and no maSSSSage on that one.

The route I fly most often on CO is one that has one way for half of the rt so I always buy two one ways to double the online booking bonus. These are usually booked several weeks in advance so that may be helping my luck on those.
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Old May 28, 07, 1:39 am
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Originally Posted by dcpatti View Post
I purchase a lot of last-minute, one-way tickets. Now, when I say "last minute" I really mean it--- of the 6 one-way tickets I've bought in the last few months, all 6 of them were purchased from inside the secure area, all results of diverted or cancelled flights, I'm stranded somewhere between home and my client and "I absolutely positively gotta be there overnight." I've had the SSSS on my boarding pass on all of them. Fortunately, since I was booking these from INSIDE the secure area, I could use kiosk check-in from the pier/terminal and not have to go back through security.

I don't get the same SSSS-action on my last minute, round trip fares, though.
Interesting. I used to get haraSSSSment on 1-ways (3-4 years ago), but recently I started booking all my AS trips as 1-ways to double up on the AS CC bonus, and have booked as late as ~8 hours in advance, and not been haraSSSSed yet.
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Old May 28, 07, 2:08 am
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I've had pretty much the same experiences as the rest of you - back when the SSSS BS first started, I had several incidents where I bought OW tix and got SSSS.

Now, however, I haven't gotten SSSS'ed in quite some time. The one caveat to that is I haven't bought my OW's at the last minute.

Maybe they realized that OBL and his cronies might fork out big $$ for that RT ticket
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Old May 28, 07, 8:21 am
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I fly four or five one-way flights per month and haven't had an SSSS in at least a year and a half.
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Old May 29, 07, 7:40 am
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I have travelled on many one-way tickets recently using a good mix of carriers.

They seem to have tweaked the system so that a one-way is not an automatic haraSSSSment as it used to be.
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Old May 29, 07, 1:56 pm
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Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
I buy one way tickets all the time and haven't had an SSSS since 2001. (just jinxed myself I'm sure).

One about 2 months ago was within an hour of the flight and no maSSSSage on that one.

The route I fly most often on CO is one that has one way for half of the rt so I always buy two one ways to double the online booking bonus. These are usually booked several weeks in advance so that may be helping my luck on those.
This is exactly the experience my wife and I had when building a house north of TPA (EWR-TPA,TPA-ER). We bought many times (10-20), one way tickets for the extra bonus. Neither of us was ever SSSSed
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Old May 29, 07, 3:22 pm
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The answer is that it increases the odds, but you can lower the odds if you book directly with the airline, and you're a frequent flyer with recent trips.

Case 1) On several occasions, I've been rerouted to a different carrier when the carrier I've been booked on has canceled flights or had other disruptions. In about half these cases, the rebooking has been on AA. On every one of those cases, I've gotten the SSSS treatment. When rebooked to another airline within the alliance (say DL to CO or NW, or vice-versa), I've usually been able to avoid the issue by asking that my FF number be included.

Case 2) I use WN as a backup carrier if it looks like my regular commute flights from the DC area will be disrupted. I'll book a one-way on WN either the day of the flight (sometimes less than 6 hours out) or the day before, if, say, the weather at DFW looks ugly. If I make them online, with my WN FF number, and pay with a credit card, I've avoided the SSSS treatment so far.

So, the answer is that there is a higher risk, but it's not necessarily a "given" that you'll get dinged.
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Old May 29, 07, 8:45 pm
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It's been my experience that US Airways and Airtran almost always makes one-way ticket holders selectee's and Southwest normally does not.
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