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Gardyloo/AAFF/rkkwan, etc - airfare help

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I am working on a complicated itinerary that includes some places in the Middle east. I can't buy a RTW world ticket since I have too many sectors in the Middle East and Asia. I will be flying One World airlines.

The countries in the Middle East I would like to visit are Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, UAE and Israel.

Here are the places I'd like to go to, I will start in YYZ and end in YYZ and I would like to travel Eastbound. Here's the itinerary I had in mind.

YYZ-LHR,
LHR-Cairo,
Cairo-Beirut,
Aleppo-Amman,
Amman-Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv - Dubai
Dubai - LHR
LHR-HKG
HKG-NRT (or ?)
NRT (or ?)-YYZ

I can purchase short haul one way tickets to make this work if need be, what types of tickets (besides rtw) should I look at? I did try to price one way sectors for the flights within the Middle East and these are very expensive. If need be, I can adjust the itinerary a little, but I need to return to LHR. A stopover in LHR is not essential on the YYZ-LHR-CAI flight. Am I better off buying two tickets, YYZ-Middle East/Egypt-LHR-YYZ and YYZ-HKG?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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    I think the RTW is still probably the best way to go. You would need to buy some tickets outside the RTW, but I think you can minimize the expense.

    If you can skip LHR on the outbound leg, you might think about the following itinerary -

    YYZ-ORD (AA) N. America 1/6
    ORD-AMM (RJ) Intercontinental
    AMM-CAI (RJ) Europe segment 1/4
    CAI-AMM (RJ) Europe segment 2/4
    AMM-BEY (RJ) - one way, around US$150
    ALP-AMM (RJ) - one way, around $130
    AMM-TLV - use bus/taxis
    TLV-AMM - use bus/taxis
    AMM-DXB (RJ) Europe segment 3/4
    DXB-LHR (BA) Europe segment 4/4
    LHR-HKG (BA/CX/QF) Intercontinental
    HKG-NRT (CX/JL) Asia 1/4
    NRT-LAX (AA/JL) Intercontinental
    LAX-YYZ (AA) N. America 2/6, Transcon 1/1

    You're probably aware of passport stamp and visa issues entailed by visiting Israel and trying to go to Syria or Dubai. If it was me I'd probably try to figure out how to hit Egypt and Israel last, e.g. YYZ-ORD-AMM-DXB-AMM (-BEY//ALP-AMM-TLV-AMM)-CAI-LHR-HKG... with the trips in parentheses being on separate tickets or bus in the case of Israel. That way you don't have to explain anything to passport checkers in Syria or the UAE, neither of which will let you in with Israeli stamps. (Dubai might, but no guarantees.)

    Supposedly you can get entry/exit stamps done on paper at the Allenby Bridge crossing between Israel and Jordan, but the other Arab states now look for Jordanian exit stamps and where they were stamped, and if it's an Israeli frontier point, ding ding, loser.

    Unfortunately Oneworld's "Visit Europe" airpass evidently doesn't' include RJ as a valid carrier, so you can use it to get to Israel, but nowhere else in the Middle East.

    Hope this is of some help.

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    Thank you, Gardyloo. I appreciate your help.

    I can't change the dates too much and at this time the Egypt land arrangements are booked, I can't possibly leave ~3 weeks earlier to accomodate Lebanon, Syria and UAE before Israel and Egypt. I had contacted the Embassies and it my understanding that an Israeli stamp is a problem in Syria and Lebanon. Assuming I can't get an Israeli stamp on a piece of paper, it would be wise to visit UAE before Israel.

    Am I allowed to fly YYZ-LHR-DXB without a stop in LHR on the outbound and return to LHR after AMM? I did try to book this on oneworld.com, and the only flights the computer is giving for DXB are flights via LHR. Even when I put YYZ-ORD-DBX as the routing, I am being given flights via LHR.

    Would this itinerary be allowed:-

    YYZ-DXB (via LHR, BA)
    DXB-CAI (via AMM, RJ)
    CAI-BEY (separate ticket ~$240)
    ALP-AMM (RJ)
    AMM-LHR (RJ)
    LHR-HKG (BA/CX/QF)
    HKG-NRT (CX/JL)
    NRT-LAX (JL/AA)
    LAX-YYZ (AA).

    I have tried many itinerary possibilites on oneworld.com and I keep getting a error somewhere in the itinerary.

    Also, can I add sectors in Asia, since the only sector I have is HKG-NRT. I wouldn't mind visiting some places in Asia where I haven't been (CX/JL and KA destinations).

    I know I am allowed 16 sectors, from what I can understand a sector is travel from A to B, even if that means connecting in C in between. Is this correct?

    I have never booked a rtw ticket, so this is a learning process for me.

    Thanks.

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    YYZ-DXB (via LHR, BA)
    DXB-CAI (via AMM, RJ)
    CAI-BEY (separate ticket ~$240)
    ALP-AMM (RJ)
    AMM-LHR (RJ)
    LHR-HKG (BA/CX/QF)
    HKG-NRT (CX/JL)
    NRT-LAX (JL/AA)
    LAX-YYZ (AA).


    No, you have five segments in Europe - you're only allowed 4. They would be LHR-DXB-AMM-CAI//ALP-AMM-LHR. That's why you're getting that message.

    However, you're allowed to purchase up to two additional segments in any continent except the continent of origin, US$150 for economy, $400 for business, so you could add the 5th flight back in for that amount; depending on which segment is the 5th (usually it's the last one, in your case AMM-LHR, it would be cheaper than a straight purchase. However, ALP-AMM is something like US$130, so if it was me I'd just use LHR-DXB-AMM-CAI//AMM-LHR as my 4 Europe segments, and do everything else outside the RTW.

    Yes, the the surface segment (CAI-AMM or whatever) counts as one of your 16 maximum segments; so would any 5th European flight as mentioned above.

    And yes, you're allowed up to 4 segments in Asia and 6 in N. America.

    So it looks like your current total is 3 intercontinental, 4 Europe, 1 surface, 1 Asia and 1 N. America, you're sitting on 10 segments total, so you have 6 to play with. So sure, if you want to use some of them to run around Asia, go for it.

    I'd also make a couple of suggestions - first, the ticket ends when you arrive back in your point of origin, so you might consider stopping short of Toronto (or buy the ticket in the US where it's cheaper anyway) and use the last couple of segments for some domestic travel.

    Second, starting with YYZ-LHR means that British Airways will issue the ticket. That will expose you to fuel surcharges levied by BA that are considerably higher than those levied by American Airlines. Even if your first flight is on AA, say YYZ-ORD, connecting to BA to London, your ticket would be issued by AA, thus saving a bunch of money.

    Go peruse the Oneworld board on Flyertalk - http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/oneworld-411/ - where there are some VERY important sticky threads and guidance on how to make the most of your RTW plans.

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    Gardyloo, thank you for your help and the link to flyer talk.

    I had thought that the YYZ-DXB sector was the transatlantic Atlantic sector only. I didn't realize that if I had to connect via LHR, it would be classified as a transatlantic and sector and one of the four European sectors. The One World website was only giving me the option to connect via LHR for a flight to DXB (from YYZ and from ORD).

    I will read the information on flyer talk and then call the airlines (AA) to book. I will add some sectors within Asia too and see how close I can get to requalifying for elite status on AA.

    Also, I will check prices from the US (ORD and JFK).

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    There's no Oneworld nonstop service between North America and Dubai. The only nonstop service from N. America to the Middle East is on Royal Jordanian, JFK and ORD to Amman.

    Are you traveling in economy or business?

    AA RTW desk in N. America are the pros - 1-800-247-3247.

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    Thank you for the AA RTW desk's telephone number.

    Sorry, I wasn't too clear in my last post, I was trying to book a ORD - AMM flight for the trans Atlantic sector. I put in my routing as YYZ-ORD-DXB (in hopes of avoiding the BA YYZ-LHR) flight, and the only booking options the computer would give me was a flight via LHR (from ORD). I do realize that the One World website isn't providing me with all flight possibilities (ie, RJ ORD-AMM-DXB flights).

    I would like to make this trip in business class, but much of this does depend on costs.

    I do have platinum status with AA and lots of the discounted booking classes on partner airlines do not give any mileage (for example, K, L and M inventory on CX earns 0 miles); and some of the airlines give less than full mileage on the cheaper booking classes (like JL, only gives 50% in the discounted booking classes and some BA booking classes earn only 25% miles). I would avoid BA as much as possible, since I do not get any status bonues miles on BA.

    Platinum [100%] bonus miles do add up quickly and a RTW tickets will give me alot of EQMs.

    I do have enough miles to redeem for an Aadvantage OW award in business class, and I am torn if I should pay to earn miles (regular miles + 100% bonus miles) or redeem the miles and not requalify for elite status.

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    GTB - Yes, the OW timetable/tool tends to default to solutions which don't involve a third-day arrival; the ORD-AMM-DXB route, while faster on the clock, puts you into Dubai just after midnight on Day 3 (i.e., leave ORD on Monday, arrive AMM Tuesday evening, arrive DXB 12:05 AM Weds.) while the ORD-LHR-DXB options leave ORD earlier, take longer, but get into DXB at 11:30 PM, i.e. 35 min. earlier than the RJ flights.

    I did want to comment on your mileage/status/RTW plans however. (I actually advise clients on these things as part of my work.)

    Note that a 3-continent business class RTW costs US$2400 less if you buy the ticket and begin/end the loop in Israel or Jordan than if you buy and begin/end in N. America. (RTW ticket prices vary wildly with origin country.) The savings are a little less - around $1900 - if you start and end in Egypt.

    You indicated that you have enough miles to redeem some for a trip. One thought would be to use a mileage award to position yourself in the Middle East, start and end the RTW there, then use the same award to return home at the end of the trip. A business class "Oneworld" award using AA miles could get you to and from AMM from YYZ, including stops in CAI and BEY, for 115K AA miles. You'd then use the RTW in order to get to DXB, LHR, Asia etc., in other words "nesting" the RTW within the award trip.

    There are some rules that would need to be observed in both the award and RTW trips; these might slightly influence your precise routing, but I don't think they represent a big problem. (Mainly, they are the prohibition against transiting your origin point with both tickets, plus a maximum of two stopovers in the continent of origin with the RTW.)

    An advantage this would give you is unlimited stopovers in N. America, allowing you to make the most of your RTW ticket. Do the Middle East and Asia bits, then fly home and still have one or two additional business or pleasure trips around N. America, finish by returning to Europe and the Middle East for a "third" trip, all perfectly kosher (or should I say Halal) within the rules and confines of the ticket. Both the award booking and RTW are good for a year.

    Regarding miles, well, traveling business class helps a lot - you'll easily requalify for Platinum (on points if not EQM) with an RTW itinerary; I usually figure I can net around 120K redeemable miles with a 40-50K BIS mile RTW, counting elite bonuses etc., in other words, more than enough to cover the mileage needed for "access" to the start/end point.

    Anyway, just a thought.

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    Thank you, Gardyloo.

    Yes, it is much easier to requalify for plt status on points when flying business class, than miles when flying economy. I would need to fly a minimun of 40,000 miles in business to requalify.

    Your suggestion is excellent, and I need to work on the logistics to see if this is feasible for me to do. I would be restricted to two stops in Europe, on the rtw ticket therefore, I would have to include these stops on the One World award ticket.

    How do I purchase a rtw ticket that starts from Jordan, would I need to contact RJ or can AA book/issue the ticket for me. Starting in Israel isn't feasible, simply because of the Isreali stamp dilema. It would be best to visit Israel after I end the rtw trip and before I return to YYZ on the One World award ticket.

    Since I am going to travel eastbound if I return to Toronto after visiting Asia, am I able to transit through Toronto mulitiple times on a rtw ticket when I make trips within North America on a rtw ticket?

    Virutally all travel from Toronto would require some sort of backtracking since most North America destinations are west of Toronto, are there any restrictions/rules on this that I need to take into consideration?

    I would like to visit some Central American countries (especially Costa Rica and Belize) would these be included in the North America zone on an One World rtw ticket?

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    Not in the same order you asked -

    Yes you can transit and stop over in Toronto without limit (subject to 6 segments in N. America total.)

    Within the RTW, there are no backtracking limitations within individual continents, but you can only take one transcontinental nonstop flight in N. America (e.g. LAX-YYZ) and within "Europe" you can only do two flights to/from London to/from eastern Europe, N. Africa and the Middle East. But flights between, e.g. TLV and MAD are fine.

    Sure, Costa Rica and/or Belize are totally okay, as are Mexico, the Caribbean... whatever you can fit into the six segments.

    As for routing, here's a scenario (one of umpteen) that would get the job done for you.

    Positioning/award itinerary, part 1
    Toronto - London - BA
    London - Cairo - BA
    Cairo - Amman (connection) - Royal Jordanian
    Amman - Beirut - Royal Jordanian

    Purchased segments
    Aleppo - Amman (around US$128) Royal Jordanian
    Amman - Dubai (around US$130) Royal Jordanian

    Award itinerary part 2
    Dubai - Amman (award stopover) (Royal Jordanian)

    RTW ticket (example routing)
    Amman - London (stopover - 1 of 2 allowed in Europe) Royal Jordanian
    London - Singapore - Qantas
    Singapore - Tokyo - JAL
    Tokyo - Beijing - JAL
    Beijing - Hong Kong - Cathay Pacific
    Hong Kong - Toronto - Cathay Pacific
    Toronto - Dallas - AA
    Dallas - Belize - AA
    Belize - Dallas - AA
    Dallas - Toronto - AA
    Toronto - Dallas - AA
    Dallas - San Jose CR - AA
    San Jose - Madrid (connection) - Iberia
    Madrid - Istanbul (stopover) (2 of 2 in Europe) - Iberia
    Istanbul - London (connection) - BA
    London - Tel Aviv - BA

    Surface
    Tel Aviv - Amman

    Award itinerary part 3
    Amman - London - Royal Jordanian
    London - Toronto - BA

    You're only allowed one surface ("open jaw") segment within the Oneworld award including between origin and end points. However, with the RTW you can end anywhere in the Middle East if you start in the Middle east, so starting in AMM and ending at TLV is fine; you'd have to go by surface (or short flight) from Israel to AMM when it's time to come home.

    Booking is dead easy - you can book it online at Oneworld.com - http://www.oneworld.com/ow/air-travel-options/round-the-world-fares/oneworld-explorer#Book-your-oneworld-Explorer-itinerary-online

    The above itinerary for an AA Plat would generate around 90,000 redeemable miles. It is NOT optimized for maximum mileage; that figure could be stretched to 120K or so without too much heavy lifting. It would also earn around 60K - 65K elite qualifying points, so plenty enough for Plat renewal.

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    Thank you, Gardyloo.

    When I go to the one world website to book, is it alright if I select Canada as the country, or do I need to select Jordan?

    I do need to work on this and see how I can accumulate maxumum mileage on a rtw itinerary. I would like to requalify for Platinum with this rtw ticket.

    I was thinking of visiting some countries in Asia where I haven't been like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Guam but flights to these places from HKG or NRT are not daily. Any suggestions on how to do the itinerary as follows:

    AMM-LHR
    LHR-HKG
    HKG-CMB
    CMB-KTM
    KTM-GUM
    GUM-YYZ
    YYZ-?

    The website will let me book the above, but once I try to select flights, I keep getting a message saying no flights are available for certain segments, KTM-CMB cannot be done because of flight connections/schedules, it is possible to do CMB-KTM (via SIN and HKG) but the flight is extremely long. I can't seem to work out the KTM-GUM segment. Clearly, I am doing something wrong or dreaming of the impossible. If need be, I'll purchase extra segments. If I do need to stopover somewhere in Asia I would prefer HKG to NRT if multiple stops [in HKG] are allowed.

    I would need to stop travelling after I return to YYZ and would use the rest of the ticket later, so I need to check how easy it would be to change the remaining flights, I haven't looked into this yet. If I can keep the same routing as the ticket and change dates without penalty, that would be alright, but I need to organize cities I would visit after YYZ properly first. Obviously, I would need to coordinate the one world award ff ticket with the my travel dates too.

    I do like your suggestion of travelling to Tel Aviv instead of Amman, my only concern is that if I need to show both airline tickets in UAE, Lebanon or Syria, this could complicate things especially with visas. I have sent several emails to the UAE embassy in Ottawa to verify if an Israeli entrance stamp is a problem, my emails haven't been returned and I have had no luck contacting them by telephone; everytime I have called I get voice mail.

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    I've been working on a rtw itinerary on the One World website, and I am wondering how (and if) I can include Tunisa in the itineary (instead of Istanbul).

    I should have mentioned in my previous post, that I can scrap one or two destinations in North America since I have alot of segments in Asia.

    Re: the one world award ticket, what is the maximum amount of miles I can fly on this ticket?

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    Just to clarify a couple of points -

    1. If you want to use the online tool to book the ticket, you just start the trip in Jordan. So in my scenario above, your first flight would be AMM-LHR. Now, there's a wrinkle in the rules that allows tickets purchased in Canada to be bought at the "local" (i.e. Jordanian) price, even if the transaction is consummated in Canada, for example at a local travel agent. Given the online tool is easier to handle, that shouldn't be an issue, but it's out there as a last resort (since a TA will undoubtedly charge you a stiff fee to make the booking.)

    2. For the time being, don't worry about miles for requalification. You can requalify either by flying 50K elite-qualifying miles OR by accumulating 50K elite-qualifying points. If flying in business class, you earn 1.5 EQ Points per mile, regardless of carrier, so to hit Plat you only need 33,333 flown miles in business class.

    3. Changing the ticket is relatively easy; you contact one of the airlines (ideally AA as they're more knowledgeable) and tell them the changes you want to make. You can make multiple changes at the same time if you want. They then will charge you US$125 plus any additional airport taxes or fuel surcharges caused by your changes, and you're done. The e-ticket is revised and you keep on going. Note this is infinitely easier (and cheaper) than changing conventional tickets, if they could be changed at all.

    4. You wouldn't have to show the UAE authorities anything more than your passport and evidence of a ticket out; they'd have no way of knowing your plans to go to Israel. However, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence out there that UAE inspectors generally don't "notice" if there are Israeli stamps in foreign passports, regardless of official government policy. However, note my comment on your route at the bottom, since visiting Tunisia might mean you end your trip back in Jordan, then just make your way to Israel after it's all said and done.

    Now, regarding your route.

    You're allowed 4 segments in Europe and Asia, 6 in N. America, and 16 overall (which means you have to short somewhere by one segment, since you have to include the 3 intercontinental segments in the 16, and 3 + 4 + 4 + 6 = 17.) You can add up to two segments in any continent except your originating continent (Europe in your case) however you still are limited to 16 overall. If you want to add segments, they cost US$400 each for business class and $150 each for coach (the additional segments can be in a lower class of service then the main ticket.

    At some point you really should look at the rules for the product - http://www.oneworld.com/content/library/oneworld_explorer_rule_sheet.pdf

    If there's no direct flight between two points you want to visit, then it takes 2 or more segments to get there. So for instance CMB-KTM would require CMB-HKG-KTM. KTM-GUM would actually require 3 segments, KTM-HKG-KIX-GUM (KIX = Osaka.) So as you can see, that would quickly expend your available 4 Asia segments.

    Of course you can always step outside the RTW ticket and purchase some side trips separately. That might be a good solution in areas where there are inexpensive alternatives, e.g. SE Asia. I always encourage RTWers to view the RTW ticket as a backbone that covers the expensive and/or long-haul flights, and supplement with cheapo local flights if the need arises.

    If you could forego Guam, for example, you could fly LHR-HKG-KTM-HKG-CMB-HKG-YYZ… thereby hitting 2 of your 3 desired Asian destinations.

    If you wanted to get to Tunisia, you'd have to drop one of your N. America destinations and also end in Jordan instead of Israel (might be easier overall anyway) in order to complete the trip within the 16 segments. Unfortunately, Tunis is only served by British Airways from Gatwick airport and by Royal Jordanian. In order not to waste a segment simply changing airports in London (most transatlantic flights go into Heathrow) you'd have to find some means to get to Gatwick directly from N. America.

    The only flights that do so are from the Caribbean on British Airways, so your last two N. America segments would have to be used to get you to some Caribbean island where you can then take BA to Gatwick, connecting to Tunis. So for example, you could go Toronto - Miami - Barbados - Gatwick - Tunis - Amman.

    So, for instance, your final route could be AMM-LHR-HKG-CMB-HKG-KTM-HKG-YYZ-DFW-SJO-DFW-YYZ-MIA-BGI-xLGW-TUN-AMM. That's around 41,000 flown miles, good for 65,000 elite qualifying points (i.e. more than enough for Plat renewal) and probably something like 80,000 redeemable miles.

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    Thank you, Gardyloo. I do appreciate the time and trouble you have taken to help me.

    Thank you for the link to the rtw fare rules.

    I had noticed when I added Tunis (instead of Istanbul) the only flight option the One World website was giving me was on RJ and therefore I couldn't continue to Tel Aviv, since I had returned to my original departure point.

    The NA flights are of less interest to me than the other allowed segments, and if need be I'll elimate some of the NA segments to be able to fly transatlantic to LGW; or if I choose to add sectors in Asia.

    I am aware if I add sectors in Asia I would need to purchase the ticket from a travel agent. Does the "wrinkle in the rules" also apply if I purchase my ticket through AA or in the US?

    I had thought of buying some side trips separately, I had checked flights to KTM, CMB, GUM and MLE (no OW service to the later from Asia).

    Now I need to work on a detailed itinerary with dates, schedules, [hotel] prices, etc.

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