Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Gardyloo

About round-the-world air tickets

Recommended Posts

It's a quiet day around the house, so I decided to wax lyrical about one of my passions - flying around the world.

 

One of the things I’ve noted over the years on Cruise Critic is that cruisers, unlike many other travelers, like to plan things far in advance.  It’s commonplace on these boards that people are talking about cruises that won’t begin for one or even two years; they think about itineraries, shore excursions,  travel logistics…  And quite a few are global travelers, with a Mediterranean cruise one year being followed by one in Asia, or Alaska, or the Caribbean shortly following.  Maybe it’s a “bucket list” thing. 

 

So I’m going to throw out a possible air travel strategy to compliment those global aims, and maybe help some people who would like to be global travelers get there in a cost-effective way.  You need to be a planner, but that’s part of the cruise game, isn’t it?

 

“Round the world” (abbreviated “RTW”) airline tickets are not well known outside a few (rather wonky) circles but they can have some advantages to cruisers who like to plan far in advance.  The tickets are good for a year and can be changed relatively easily, unlike conventional tickets that usually involve some stiff penalties for itinerary or date changes.

 

Here’s how they work.  You buy a ticket that’s good for up to 16 flight segments for one price.  (A flight segments means a takeoff and landing, so for example, flying from Los Angeles to Boston with a plane change in Chicago would use two segments.)   The ticket is good for a year from the first flight (not from the purchase date.)  The tickets require that you travel around the world, crossing both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean in the same direction – east to west or west to east.   That doesn’t mean that all the flights have to be in that same direction – you can zigzag and backtrack within any given region without breaking the rules; you just can’t cross one of those oceans twice.  You have to begin and end in the same country (with a few exceptions) but not necessarily in the same city, and once you return to the “country of origin” you can’t leave it again (also with a few exceptions.)

 

While there are a few independent travel agencies that can assemble RTW itineraries, the main sources for these products are airline members of the three big airline alliances – Oneworld, Star Alliance and Skyteam.  (Oneworld includes members like American and British Airways, Japan, Cathay Pacific, Qantas etc.; Star Alliance includes United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Thai, Singapore and many others.  Skyteam includes Delta, Air France, KLM, Korean and other carriers.) 

 

Each alliance has its own RTW products and rules, but there are basically two kinds of RTW ticket.  The majority have mileage limits ranging from 26,000 to 40,000 flown miles, broken into “tiers” in which more miles equals higher cost (duh.)  The exception to this model is the popular “Oneworld Explorer” RTW ticket sold by Oneworld members.  Unlike the RTWs sold by Star Alliance and Skyteam members, the Oneworld Explorer has no mileage limit; instead it’s priced according to how many continents are touched in the course of the trip, from three to six.  The continents are North and South America, Europe (generally west of the Urals but including the Middle East as far as the Persian Gulf,) Africa, Asia, and the “Southwest Pacific,” meaning Australia, New Zealand and the south Pacific islands.

 

(To be continued)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Three factors enter into the cost of the tickets.  One is, of course, the “class of service.”  RTWs are sold for economy, business class and first class travel.  “Premium economy” RTWs are starting to appear but in most cases PE segments are allowed for economy class passengers who are willing to pay an “upgrade” fee – one flight at a time.

 

The second, not surprisingly, is the flown mileage or the number of continents touched.  More miles or continents, more money.

 

The third is what makes RTWs stand apart from other kinds of tickets, and this can well be of great interest to cruisers.  The prices of RTW tickets vary hugely depending on where the trip begins and ends.  For example, a ticket that touches the same stops, but in a slightly different order, can cost twice as much if begun and ended in one country than in a different one.    (This isn’t all that unusual with airfares; anybody who wants to understand how airfares are computed needs an advanced degree from Hogwarts.)  But in planning for a year or more of global travel, it can represent an advantage worth taking some time to understand.

 

Let me start with some examples, and forgive me in advance if I use things like airport codes in the descriptions and maps.

 

Here’s a very simple route that fits within a “three continent” limit (for the Oneworld Explorer) and which also fits within a 29,000 mile “tier” common to the Star Alliance and Skyteam alliances.   It includes several cities in North America, Europe and Asia, including a few cities that are major cruise ports, such as Los Angeles, Miami, Rome, Singapore and Hong Kong.   

 

51919B.JPG.7196de17936adf335e82f7858f87bcc0.JPG

 

To illustrate the difference in price, here is what this trip would cost (before taxes and fees – more on that later) if one starts in different places along that map.  Prices are shown for the cheapest economy and business class fares ($$/$$$) but not for first class, as these services are becoming quite limited internationally.   All prices are in US dollars as of today – they can change, like everything.

 

Starting in USA, $3599 economy (Oneworld) / $9699 business (Star Alliance, Oneworld)

Starting in Canada, $2753 (Oneworld) / $7590 (Oneworld)

Starting in UK, $2308 (Oneworld) / $7013 (Oneworld)

Starting in Norway, $1977 (Oneworld) / $6008 (Oneworld)

Starting in Japan, $3054 (Oneworld) / $5984 (Oneworld)

 

So as you can see, starting the trip in Oslo would save nearly half the cost of starting in the US if you’re flying in coach, while a business class ticket starting in Japan would save 40% or more over the same ticket starting in the USA.

Edited by Gardyloo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Continued)

 

Taxes and fees are on top of that, and it can get pretty complicated because taxes will depend on the airports and countries visited, and fees vary with the airlines.  In general it’s best to add 10% - 20% of the base price to account for these.

 

Now of course if you live in the USA, you’d have to get to Norway or Japan in the first place for those prices to work for you, so you’d need to add the cost of “positioning” yourselves.  And you’d need to get home at the end; same story. 

 

But let’s take the case of the Norway scenario, and relate it to cruisers.   Say you live in, I don’t know… Chicago, and you’ve got your eye on a Mediterranean cruise that departs from and returns to Rome.   So imagine your fly on el cheapo airlines (like Norwegian) to Oslo and tour Norway for a few days before the cruise.  Then, using the newly-begun RTW ticket, you fly down to Rome and do the cruise.  Two weeks later, you’re back in Rome, but you decide to spend a couple of days in London before going back to work.  You fly there, spend a day or two loading up on bangers and mash, then it’s off across the pond to home. 

 

Four months later, you’re up for a Caribbean cruise out of Miami.  Still using the RTW ticket, you fly down to Miami and do the cruise.  Then it’s back home for more work, poor devils.

 

Four months after that, you’ve got your eye on a third cruise, this time cruising around southeast Asia from Singapore.  You fly from Chicago to Tokyo or Hong Kong, take a day or two to overeat and sleep off the jetlag, then it’s down to Singapore for yet more delicious food and the cruise. 

 

Cruise done, you return to Norway, maybe with a stop in the Middle East en route.  The RTW ticket ends, having given you three or four “stand alone” cruise vacations over the course of the 12 months the ticket’s been good.  You’ve been able to return home between cruises. 

 

Maybe you fly home using the same el cheapo airline, or you use some of the umpteen thousand frequent flyer miles you’ll have earned during the course of the RTW (and especially in business class you WILL have earned many thousands.)  OR, you just buy the next year’s RTW ticket, but this time the targets are South America, or Australia, or maybe you skip the cruise for one season and go on safari to South Africa.   (In general, adding a continent or a mileage tier, say from 29,000 miles to 34,000 miles, adds around $300 - $600 in economy and $600 - $1000 in business class.)

 

Now obviously these tickets cost more – in some cases a lot more, in others not so much – than “conventional” round trip or open-jaw tickets.  They’re not for everyone.  But if you’re a planner and don’t mind the idea of thinking ahead and about leveraging your air travel dollar, they might be worth thinking about. 

 

It’s a way of putting your bucket list onto the calendar; while crossing the Atlantic to some European cruise destination might be old hat, what about the other places you could get to using these tickets?  Easter Island?  Patagonia? Sri Lanka?  Cape Town?  New Zealand?  Not even the sky’s the limit.

 

Here are some online resources to use in investigating the idea further. 

Expert Flyer - https://www.expertflyer.com – a paid service (worth every penny) that will give you pricing for RTWs as well as information on frequent flyer award availability, minimum connection times, seat maps, etc.

Oneworld RTWs - https://www.oneworld.com/world-travel

Star Alliance RTWs - https://www.staralliance.com/en/round-the-world

Skyteam - https://www.skyteam.com/en/round-the-world-planner/

Great Circle mapper – to compute flight distances - http://www.gcmap.com

 

Happy to answer any questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two friends of mine had a dream to fly in the "front of the plane" when the new Singapore Airlines 380 came out with the enclosed 1st class cabins.  They have a boatload of FF miles from a few alliances and access to Family of airline employee fares.  They cobbled together a RTW last year - SLC to LAX to HKG (spending a few days to see friends) to SIN (spending a few days at the Marina Bay Hotel)  to FRA (on the 380) and FRA to JFK (on the 380) and JFK to SLC.   The domestic legs were on Delta, the rest on Singapore.   It looked totally luxurious!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I did a RTW in 2008, coincidentally with Gardyloo’s help on another forum. The wife was between jobs and my company relocated to the Midwest so I left the firm. With no children or pets to worry about and being in our early 20s we weren’t sure when the opportunity would easily arise again. 

 

We did a 19 segment AONE4 (Four continent oneworld Explorer in First Class) starting in the US. At that time you could do more than the current 16 segments on a paper ticket. It’s now easier to get the tickets but at the time it required researching the rules, availability (I was pretty experienced at this) and figuring out the plans of where we wanted to go. I called AA to put the reservation on hold and then the paper tickets were handwritten and I collected them from the airport.

 

We did SFO-LHR-DXB-LHR-VIE-LHR-HKG-BKK-SIN-NRT-SIN-SYD-CHC-SYD-LAX-JFK-ORD-DFW-ANC-DFW-RIC (we lived in Virginia but my brother in law lived in San Francisco so we started the ticket there) and flew it continuously over the course of about 3months.

 

We could have done things cheaper had we started the trip in another country but the cost/benefit wasn’t there for us given our anticipated travels. We paid around $27k for the two tickets which was incredible value given the typical FC fares paid on longhaul and the fact our itinerary had 11 segments in longhaul FC, or FC-esque seats.

 

For anyone who thinks this is sounds like a good idea and can make it work it really is. I’d love to do another but for the wife or I taking that much time off isn’t really feasible now.

Edited by fbgd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The time issue is one of the reasons we always started the RTW overseas (the cost savings were another) so that we could break up the trip into several chunks, with work resuming between them.  On our first RTW we started in Turkey and visited Europe and family in Israel, then returned home and resumed work, using the allowed North America segments to visit our future in-laws in Brooklyn one weekend, and god-daughters in Alaska on another.  Then something like ten months after starting the ticket we flew to Hawaii then Australia (Sydney, Ayers Rock/Uluru, and Cairns) then on to southern Africa (Joburg, Cape Town and Victoria Falls) before flying back to Turkey to end the trip.  The second major trip (Australia/SA) was only around three weeks in length so we could fit it into work schedules without getting too many people POd.  

 

We flew business class and in the course of one RTW we'd earn enough miles to pay for most of the following year's travel (still riding in the pointy end) so that the cost of the RTW ticket was leveraged for something like 20 - 22 business or first class flights over a two year period.  The tickets (which we started in South Africa, Japan and Sweden) typically cost around $6K after taxes and fees, so the math worked out to around $275 - $300 per flight.  In business/first class that's a good deal on Seattle to New York; for Los Angeles to Sydney or London to Cape Town it's pretty terrific.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, cruisers intrigue me so much...even cruises, we plan maybe six months in advance? Maybe. But I digress.

 

I've never done a RTW for pleasure, but have ended up on several of them for business meetings. All I can say is, in my opinion, try to keep going west. My body does feel a massive difference between the two. For example, two fairly recent examples I had:
 

1) Starting from my home in Kansas City and going to meetings in Los Angeles, Melbourne, Bengaluru, and Hamburg (with a few days in each) had me just fine.

 

2) Starting from my home in Kansas City and going to meetings in London, Dubai, and Tokyo had me dead for a couple of weeks after getting home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zach. I think you're the norm rather than the exception.  I once sat next to a guy on a Vancouver - London flight and as we talked he mentioned that he too was traveling on a RTW ticket.  Turns out that he did one every two months, in order to visit corporate offices in (as I recall) in Hong Kong, Vancouver, London and Sydney (and maybe some other places.)  In fact he often had two of them going at the same time, so that he could reverse directions if need be.  He said the scheduling gave his travel department fits, but the cost savings were just too great to ignore.  

 

I also personally prefer westbound trips over eastbound, but as I have a hard time sleeping on planes, even in lie-flat "beds," I really don't like the all-nighters over the Pacific which seem to be the norm from the west coast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Gardyloo said:

Zach. I think you're the norm rather than the exception.  I once sat next to a guy on a Vancouver - London flight and as we talked he mentioned that he too was traveling on a RTW ticket.  Turns out that he did one every two months, in order to visit corporate offices in (as I recall) in Hong Kong, Vancouver, London and Sydney (and maybe some other places.)  In fact he often had two of them going at the same time, so that he could reverse directions if need be.  He said the scheduling gave his travel department fits, but the cost savings were just too great to ignore.  

 

I also personally prefer westbound trips over eastbound, but as I have a hard time sleeping on planes, even in lie-flat "beds," I really don't like the all-nighters over the Pacific which seem to be the norm from the west coast.

 

Yeah I definitely do think I am the norm. But many people don't think about it.

 

Oh man, I love the middle of the night flights. I'm a regular on LAX-SYD/MEL and, sometimes, LAX-HKG (more frequently DFW-HKG or ORD-HKG now), but those 11:30pm to 1:00am departures out of LAX and early morning arrivals are great to me. I'm also the weird guy who likes the 2:00 or 3:00am departures out of India, because I can work all day, get really exhausted, have a few drinks on the plane with a movie, put my bed flat, and get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep. Wake up in Hong Kong or Melbourne ready to go in the morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interested in this, but I must say the learning curve and planning does seem intimidating.  We mostly just can't handle economy anymore on long hauls and don't want to spend the big bucks for business,

 

We already use miles for business class when we can, but wow, have redemptions taken a big upward turn in number of miles used.  And I hear changes ahead for AA miles, which is what we use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Nebr.cruiser said:

Very interested in this, but I must say the learning curve and planning does seem intimidating.  

Yes, it takes some research.  But let me ask you this:  how much research do you put in when you need to buy a major appliance?  Like a dishwasher or a new fridge or a new washer/dryer?  If you're like me (I suspect most of us are) you hit the web and look at reviews, you shop (online or in person) to various retail sources - Home Depot, Costco, whoever... to see who's selling which model at what price.  You generally know what your options are, the pros and cons, before you shell out a thousand bucks for the new appliance.  

 

In my experience - and this might not apply to you in the slightest - there are many people who put less research into their air travel arrangements, except for price, than they do in buying a new microwave oven, even though a plane ticket can cost five or ten times as much.  

 

So my suggestion is to treat travel with the same priority and same level of detail as you would any other major purchase.  Get a (paper) map of the world, and sit down in front of it and think about where you'd like to go and what you'd like to see or experience before you join the silent majority.  Turning a "bucket" list into a "to do" list with dates is tremendously exciting.  

 

Try this.  Start with a two- or three-year travel "game plan."   It's now June 2019.  Where would you like to go - and realistically make time for - before the end of this year?  Put a pin on the map, maybe two or three pins if you want to go someplace this summer and somewhere else this fall or early winter.  Visit family on the west coast or go leaf peeping in New England in October?  Caribbean cruise around Thanksgiving?  Whatever.  Stick a pin.

 

Then do the same exercise for 2020.  This might be farther out and more tentative, but it might not be - people are booking cruises for the summer of 2020 already.  What about South America, with a cruise around the horn?  Or the 2020 holidays in the holy land?  More pins.

 

Extend this "wish list" into 2021.  Where would you "like" to go but can't imagine how or when?  Safari in Africa?  April in Paris?  Northern lights in Norway or midnight sun in Alaska?  New Years in Sydney or Hogmanay in Edinburgh?  River cruise in China? More pins. 

 

You get the idea.  Put your wish list onto a map, even if you can't imagine just yet how you'd manage it.  Then back up a step or two and start two tasks.  First, think about priorities.  Would you rather see the pyramids in Egypt or those in Mexico?  Rain forest in the Amazon or the ones on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington?  Alps or Rockies or Himalayas?  Greek Islands or Tahiti?  

 

Second, do some research on the individual places, with special regard to travel conditions in various times of the year.  Summer on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia means high heat and humidity, deadly jellyfish in the water, and lots of bugs.  When do the monsoon rains come in various parts of south and southeast Asia?  These things are all easily researched, so you can put together a brief "profile" for every pin on the map.  This is not hard, but it might take a little time.

 

Then the idea is to combine the priorities and the analysis into an action plan.  Where would you like to go first, and does your time availability match up with the optimal conditions in the place you want to see?  If you can only take time off in, say, August and January, which pins on the map have good conditions then?  Based on your research, what's the best number of days - for you - to spend on a boat in the Mediterranean, or on safari in South Africa, or driving around Ireland?  

 

Now get a paper calendar and start imagining the "best case" timetable.  Pencil in blocks of time that you'd like to spend here or there, when and for how long.  

 

Only then do you start working on the logistics - airfare, cruise line offerings, hotel or car bookings, whatever.  

 

If your plans lend themselves to RTW tickets, great.  You can even arrange it so that it can be efficient.  But RTW tickets, like frequent flyer miles, are just a means to an end - to travel comfortably while making the most of your travel dollar.  They might work in some cases, not in others, but the virtue of having this "master plan" good for a couple of years is that you can schedule things and set priorities in such a way that it leverages those travel dollars to the best extent possible.  

 

One of the big things about the RTW products is that they can open doors to places you'd think might not be possible, or maybe place you wouldn't have thought about as easily reachable.  Let me use another trip example for this.  

 

map?P=OSL-LHR-ORD-OMA-DFW-EZE,SCL-IPC-SC

 

Let's imagine sometime late this fall you manage to get over to Europe, maybe for an end-of-season fjords or Baltic Sea cruise, or one in the Mediterranean, or just to drive around the Scottish Highlands.  Or maybe just for a long weekend.  You fly on el cheapo airlines to Oslo and start an RTW ticket (in business class) that you bought and paid for from home months earlier.  

 

You fly on the ticket to London, then home to Nebraska via Chicago.  Back to work.  

 

Then in January, you pack and head off to Dallas and from there to Buenos Aires, where you board a cruise that takes you around the horn to Valparaiso, Chile.  But after the 10 or 12 days on the ship, instead of heading home, you fly from Santiago to Easter Island, the remote and marvelous island in the middle of the Pacific, famous for its stone moai or big heads.  Three or four days on the island, then it's back to Santiago and back home via Dallas.  Back to work.

 

Maybe that spring, or maybe in the fall, you fly to Japan (from Chicago) to see either the cherry blossoms (spring) or the incredible fall foliage (both great times to visit.)  A few days later, you head to Hong Kong for sightseeing, maybe a short cruise, or just to eat, all quite rewarding pursuits.  

 

Then you board a Cathay Pacific A350 and spend the night in one of their lie-flat suites and arrive in Israel in the morning.  Visit Jerusalem, the Galilee, the Negev.  See Petra, the Dead Sea, or maybe the beaches in Tel Aviv or down in Eilat.  Spend maybe a week.

 

Then hop on a Finnair jet to Helsinki (fall color, fab shopping, the waterfront market) then back to Oslo where it began.  You're done.

 

This series of trips with one purchase will have earned you Platinum frequent flyer status with American Airlines, you'll have banked somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 frequent flyer miles each, and your photo albums or Facebook profiles or online blogs will be chock full of pictures and stories good for years.  "Easter Island!" your friends will ask.  "How the hell did you manage to get there?"  

 

Answer, it wasn't any more difficult than deciding on which washing machine to get.  

Edited by Gardyloo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thank you for the great tips and insight.  As to buying new appliances, we have needed a new stove (oven doesn't work)  since November!  So decision making is not our forte.

 

I can and do a lot of planning for our flights and cruises, including South America, Egypt, Europe, Asia, etc.  This just seems on another level.  But, I am going to see what we can do, using your ideas for planning ahead.

 

I think? that on these RTW trips you cannot backtrack, is that right?  So, say we wanted to go to Easter Island and then on to Tahiti and Australia, then come home for a while, we wouldn't be able to, right?  But we could do Easter Island (have been around horn and down west coast of South America on cruises already), then fly back home for a while, then on to another cross-Pacific destination?  

 

In other words, once we start going west, for example, we can't go back east on the RTW ticket--hence starting in Europe.

Edited by Nebr.cruiser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Nebr.cruiser said:

Thank you for the great tips and insight.  As to buying new appliances, we have needed a new stove (oven doesn't work)  since November!  So decision making is not our forte.

 

I can and do a lot of planning for our flights and cruises, including South America, Egypt, Europe, Asia, etc.  This just seems on another level.  But, I am going to see what we can do, using your ideas for planning ahead.

 

I think? that on these RTW trips you cannot backtrack, is that right?  So, say we wanted to go to Easter Island and then on to Tahiti and Australia, then come home for a while, we wouldn't be able to, right?  But we could do Easter Island (have been around horn and down west coast of South America on cruises already), then fly back home for a while, then on to another cross-Pacific destination?  

 

In other words, once we start going west, for example, we can't go back east on the RTW ticket--hence starting in Europe.

 

Gardyloo's example had the trip go to Easter Island and then back to mainland S. America again.

I'm just learning about this, too.

 

And thanks for mentioning your oven.  We've only needed a replacement of something major for about 2 months now, so I feel much better :classic_wink:  However, we still haven't decided what to do, and we have an overseas trip coming.  (Hmmm... maybe our housesitter will surprise us!)

 

Gardyloo:  We need to look into this more.  We keep forgetting about this possible strategy.  It's only relatively recently that we are doing "more travel".  The trick for us, for now anyway, is that one-year deadline.  We've also still got a lot of awards points to use; each time we feel like we must be running low, we check the account balances, and there's still plenty left.  But premium awards seating is getting more and more difficult. 

 

With the ATW, what kind of restrictions are there on ticketing?  Is one restricted to something like full-fare availability?  Advance purchase?  Anything else to keep in mind in terms of actually implementing this?

 

Many thanks, for this and so much other terrific information!

 

GC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'll need to check the rules of your particular RTW product but I know Gardyloo likes the oneworld Explorer which is the same one I used in my trip referenced above.

 

Backtracking within the same continent is allowed, I had I think three on mine alone! 

 

There is no advance purchase requirement but there must be availability in the fare class. For First this is A, for business class it is D, for economy it is L. Mine was in first class and a couple of months out I had some trouble finding 2 "A" seats on all flights (First Class on most oneworld airlines is only sold as F or A and with no more than a dozen seats on most longhaul flights, and as little as 9 on some) but tweaking the plans by a day or two here or there solved everything.  

 

The oneworld website has a tool that allows you to book online so you can mess with routings and all kinds of things quite easily. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Nebr.cruiser said:

Thank you for the great tips and insight.  As to buying new appliances, we have needed a new stove (oven doesn't work)  since November!  So decision making is not our forte.

 

I can and do a lot of planning for our flights and cruises, including South America, Egypt, Europe, Asia, etc.  This just seems on another level.  But, I am going to see what we can do, using your ideas for planning ahead.

 

I think? that on these RTW trips you cannot backtrack, is that right?  So, say we wanted to go to Easter Island and then on to Tahiti and Australia, then come home for a while, we wouldn't be able to, right?  But we could do Easter Island (have been around horn and down west coast of South America on cruises already), then fly back home for a while, then on to another cross-Pacific destination?  

 

In other words, once we start going west, for example, we can't go back east on the RTW ticket--hence starting in Europe.

 

The rule, common to all RTW products, is that you have to cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans once each, and in the same direction, east to west or west to east.  So you can't fly from, say, London to New York, then later fly from Los Angeles to London, on the same ticket.  You'd have to fly, say, Los Angeles to Tokyo, then Tokyo to London.  

 

Within continents, however, or in a couple of cases like the North America to South America and back example above (for the S. American cruise) the rules do allow backtracking and zigzagging.  In the case of Easter Island, Oneworld (which is the only alliance serving Easter Island) regards it as part of South America, just as the airlines regard the Caribbean and Central America as being parts of North America, and the Middle East west of the Persian Gulf (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, etc.) as being part of Europe.  

 

So right, you wouldn't be able to travel to Tahiti from North America, then come back and hang out, then re-fly across the Pacific on the same ticket.  

 

This is where your stockpile of frequent flyer miles comes into play.  You can use them to "position" yourself in a cheap "origin" country, or you can use them to suspend the RTW ticket and fly home for a time, then re-join the RTW and continue around the world.  I've done this several times; I usually pick a place that's reasonably cheap (or has good FF availability) to suspend the RTW.  "Nesting" other flights within the RTW is done all the time; for example if the RTW gets you to, say, Paris, why waste one of your 16 allowed flights on a $50 flight to Nice or Geneva?  Just buy separate tickets during your Paris "stopover" on the RTW, then when your local (or train or budget air) trips are done, resume the RTW.

 

I should also mention that there are "Circle Pacific" tickets sold by Oneworld and Star Alliance members, which limit travel to the Pacific Rim.  In these cases you travel across the North Pacific in one direction, and across the South Pacific in the other, so for example, a valid Circle trip would be North America > Asia > Australia/NZ > North America, or, in the case of Oneworld, NA > Asia > Australia/NZ > South America > NA as an option.  (Or the reverse, hitting Oz first, then Asia, then NA.)  These are all mileage-limited, generally to tiers of 22,000, 26,000 or 29,000 miles max.

 

1 hour ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

Gardyloo's example had the trip go to Easter Island and then back to mainland S. America again.

I'm just learning about this, too.

 

And thanks for mentioning your oven.  We've only needed a replacement of something major for about 2 months now, so I feel much better :classic_wink:  However, we still haven't decided what to do, and we have an overseas trip coming.  (Hmmm... maybe our housesitter will surprise us!)

 

Gardyloo:  We need to look into this more.  We keep forgetting about this possible strategy.  It's only relatively recently that we are doing "more travel".  The trick for us, for now anyway, is that one-year deadline.  We've also still got a lot of awards points to use; each time we feel like we must be running low, we check the account balances, and there's still plenty left.  But premium awards seating is getting more and more difficult. 

 

With the ATW, what kind of restrictions are there on ticketing?  Is one restricted to something like full-fare availability?  Advance purchase?  Anything else to keep in mind in terms of actually implementing this?

 

Many thanks, for this and so much other terrific information!

 

GC

See my comments on how to use FF miles in the course of these trips.  

 

As for restrictions on ticketing, of course there are some, and the rules can be quite variable depending on the specifics of the program you're using and where you're starting.  For example, with Oneworld, starting in North America requires a 7-day advance purchase.  However, there's no advance purchase requirement if you're starting the ticket in other places, like Europe, Asia, Australia or Africa.

 

Generally the fare buckets used are neither the highest or lowest classes.  For example, in Oneworld RTW tickets, business class books into "D" inventory, which is near the top in terms of flexibility, and "L" in economy, also a comparatively less-restricted class.  There are some instances where getting "D" or "L" seats can require shifting dates one or two in some direction or the other, but I've never had problems in this regard.  Of course if the flight is sold out, you're like everybody else.  

 

Again, I'll emphasize that these products won't work for everybody or in every circumstance.  But put them in your toolbox.

 

One cheap way to play with this is to go to the Oneworld or Star Alliance RTW websites and put together an imaginary trip.  Here are the links - https://www.staralliance.com/en/round-the-world and https://rtw.oneworld.com/rtw/ .  Play around for a time (and with the crappy Oneworld online tool, have some ibuprofen handy) just to get a feel.  Try starting the trip in various different places in order to get a feel on how dramatically the prices can vary for what is essentially the same trip, but in a slightly different order.

 

Do NOT complete the credit card screen when you get to it, unless, you know... 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again!  Lots to research if we ever get the flood damage to our home repaired.  Glad to see that Easter Island is included as part of South America, so we could spend some time seeing parts of the continent we've missed and go to Easter Island--on my bucket list-- and then back home for a while.

 

I will definitely take a look at the One World site you mentioned.  All our miles--sadly depleted after business back from Europe--are with American Airlines.

 

Of course I have so many things on my bucket list that I might have to spend years doing RTWs.

 

Geezer couple; Glad we are not alone in appliance replacement limbo.  But, 7 months is a little extreme.  And I love to bake!  Granted we have been on two cruises and one land trip and had our basement and more almost completely destroyed by flooding, and the cook top does work fine, but Gosh!  Gas or electric; high end, middle, cheap, shoot!

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for starting this topic and being available to answer questions.  My question:

Do you have to book all segments in one class, or can you mix?  For example, I wouldn't mind flying coach on shorter (say, 3 hours or less) legs but I would desire business on longer routes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, The Other Tom said:

Thanks for starting this topic and being available to answer questions.  My question:

Do you have to book all segments in one class, or can you mix?  For example, I wouldn't mind flying coach on shorter (say, 3 hours or less) legs but I would desire business on longer routes.

 

With the alliance products you have to book in the same class of service.  With some non-alliance agents such as Air Treks - https://www.airtreks.com/ - you might be able to mix and match, but I doubt it would save you very much money.

 

One thing to emphasize (that I don't think I made very clear above) is that alliance RTW tickets can be changed at low cost.  Date changes (same route, just a different date) are free, as are simple changes in carrier (e.g. switching from British Airways to Cathay Pacific on London - Hong Kong.)    Changes in overall itinerary, or adding or subtracting stopovers, costs a flat fee of US$125 for any number of changes at once (plus any adjustment resulting from different departure or airport taxes, fuel surcharges etc.)  Other products such as those issued by non-alliance entities can have much more restrictive change provisions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...