Standard air tickets leave little or no wiggle room for adjustments or changes to scheduled flight dates and times. Instead, they are often the most affordable tickets to purchase if not the most practical from a traveler's point of view. Should you travel on a normal air ticket and need to adjust your dates of travel, you will be hit with significant penalties and ticket re-issue fees.
Open tickets are offered to those who request them when purchasing tickets directly through a given airline. They are not available through online travel sites or brokers. If you are unsure about when or where you wish to return from a given destination, request an open-ended return date from the airline representative who will then notify you of the rate and any black-out dates that may interfere with your travel plans. There is often a higher rate for open tickets than for the standard round-trip ticket.
Should you opt to purchase an open ticket for travel, remember that buying the right to a seat is not the same as buying a seat on a given flight. Travelers who have purchased a standard ticket with a date, flight number and seat assignment owns that seat, while you only own a chance to fly on the day and flight of your choice. Without the guaranteed seat that a standard ticket provides, you may be pushed off the flight and held-over for one with better availability.
Travelers sometimes wish to change the length or departure gateway of their trips but are unable to do so with a standard ticket. An open ticket removes penalties and fees from the equation, allowing you to make the best plans for you and your travel companions.