When you do an airfare search on CheapAir.com, you will sometimes see a category listed on the results page, included with all the airlines, called ”Mix & Match”. Many of you have asked us what this means.
The “Mix & Match” category essentially lets you combine two one way fares, that may or may not be on the same airline, to form a round trip. “Mix & Match” options come in handy when either (1) the best possible fare for an itinerary requires travel on one airline going out and another airline coming back; or (2) the airline with the most convenient outbound flight doesn’t have a convenient return flight or vice versa.
Our search engine, designed by our own team of developers, does an excellent job of looking for “Mix & Match” possibilities, especially for domestic itineraries. Using “Mix & Match” combinations, we are often able to find better priced or more convenient trips that aren’t available on other travel sites — and certainly not on the airline sites.
But it is important to understand that the “Mix & Match” category is not always the best option. This is because, in some markets, one or more airline may have a special round trip fare that is only valid if you fly that same airline in both directions. In those markets, a “Mix & Match” itinerary will preclude you from taking advantage of that special.
So when should you use the “Mix & Match” category? If you are looking to travel on one specific airline, you are always better off explicitly selecting that airline instead of “Mix & Match”. That will insure that you see the largest number of options for that particular carrier. On the other hand, if you are not set on one specific carrier, and the ”Mix & Match” fare is lower than all the others, definitely check it out. Not only are you likely to save money on your air fare, but you may also find a more convenient set of flights.