Does a OneWorld Explorer ticket make sense?

Feb 5th, 2016, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1
I live Uruguay (South America). Do you have any idea what country in South America the RTW is cheaper?
Very good column, and thank you for your recommendations.
Anibal is offline  
Feb 5th, 2016, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,377
I live Uruguay (South America). Do you have any idea what country in South America the RTW is cheaper?

The prices are the same throughout South America regardless of where one buys the ticket.

Prices start at US$4050 plus taxes/fees for economy and US$10229 for business class, roughly $1250 and $570 cheaper respectively than the same tickets bought in the US, Mexico or Central America.

That still makes them roughly $1300/$2600 more expensive than in most of Europe.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 11th, 2016, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 11

Just to continue our correspondence from a while ago, we are getting closer to our planned RTW, however, I am having a few problems and wonder if you could assist to finalise our plans.

So the plan is:

Cairo - Nairobi
Surface to Livingston
Livingston - Johannesburg
Johannesburg - Mauritius
Mauritius - Johannesburg
Johannesburg - Delhi
Delhi - Hong Kong
Hong Kong - New York
New York - Barbados
Barbados - London
London - Cairo

I cannot get a pricing for this as I keep getting referred to Royal Jordanian Customer Services. Is there a glaring mistake in our itinerary?

Is it better to start from Johannesburg?

Also, is it straightforward to purchase the tickets from Cairo?

Lastly, do you always have to finish the journey from the place you started?

Will really appreciate your assistance on this.
indibela is offline  
Apr 11th, 2016, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,377

Yes, if it was me I'd definitely start in Joburg. Not only will the "base" price be cheaper than starting in Cairo (around £800 per person) but the fees and taxes will likely be less. In addition, the online booking tool at Oneworld is unable to ticket itineraries where either Royal Jordanian or Qatar Airlines is the first airline flown; it hangs or has some kind of seizure that makes it incredibly frustrating to use.

The rules of the ticket limit you to four segments within the continent of origin, but the biggest problem you'd encounter with starting in Joburg is that you can't re-enter the country of origin until the end of the trip. That would make LVI impossible as it's only served from JNB, and the only flights into and out of Mauritius are from JNB or Gatwick. You wouldn't be able to start in Joburg and fly back from Mauritius; you'd have to fly to London, which would then goof up the onward trip.

So what I'd probably do is fly to Nairobi on your own (use points or look for some sort of bargain) and make your way to Zambia and then Joburg. Start the RTW ticket in Joburg by flying to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, then Delhi and back to Hong Kong, then HKG to New York, down to Barbados, over to London (and I presume a long layover there, or down to Portugal.) Then finish by flying from London to Mauritius, then to Joburg to finish. (Note if you start anywhere in Africa you can end anywhere in Africa, so you could end in Mauritius. Or if - at the beginning - you flew to Joburg and did the LVI and MRU flights outside the RTW (using points or cash) you could end up in Nairobi at the end of the trip.

By making JNB-HKG the first flight on the ticket, you'll probably get the tool to work, and because the ticket will be sold by Cathay Pacific (as the first carrier) you'll probably avoid several hundred quid in British Airways surcharges that they would add to the whole ticket if BA was the first carrier (e.g. CAI-xLHR-NBO).

I know this is confusing but I hope it makes sense.

Your proposed route:
Mine, version 1:
Version 2:

Note both of my routes would leave numerous eligible segments on the table - up to two in Asia, three in North America, four in Europe/Middle East... to a total of 16.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 16th, 2016, 03:43 AM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 11
Hi Gardyloo,

We are getting closer to our RTW, however, I wonder if you know if BA fares have gone up.

We have an itinerary: JNB - LHR - FAO - LHR - DEL - HKG - NRT - JFK - DOH - JNB.

Just a few weeks ago I got a price of ZAR 74,809
Today I got ZAR 105,102

I notice from the Flyertalk that you did a very similar itinerary in December last year and got a price in the ZAR 70's.

Would appreciate your input on this.
indibela is offline  
Jun 16th, 2016, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,377
We are getting closer to our RTW, however, I wonder if you know if BA fares have gone up.

Yes, Oneworld Explorer prices out of South Africa went up significantly two weeks ago. It's not just BA, it's all the Oneworld carriers, although American doesn't appear to have updated the fare yet on its GDS servers. But that's only a matter of time, and you wouldn't be able to ticket through AA anyway.

Two possible workarounds you could examine -

1 - Fares haven't been increased out of Namibia, and you can fly to/from Windhoek on BA/Comair or South African for positioning. Try loading WDH-JNB-LHR-FAO-DEL-HKG-NRT-JFK-DOH-JNB-WDH into the online tool and see what happens.

2 - Egypt is now a cheaper origin point for Oneworld Explorers (in USD, EUR and GBP terms) than South Africa, plus if you didn't need to visit Africa on this trip, you could purchase a 3-continent OWE out of Cairo (although the 4-continent ticket is only US$200 more than the 3-continent one, so excellent value.) The 3-continent alternative would still give you 16 flights, so you'd have more options in Asia and North America should you choose. Or you could still get a 4-continent ticket and add either South America or Australia to the mix.

By originating in Europe (of which Egypt is considered a part) you'd be limited to two stopovers in Europe, so that might require some rearranging of your plans. However, by starting in the Middle East you can end anywhere in the Middle East - Israel, Dubai, Jordan, wherever.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 20th, 2016, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 11
Hi Gardyloo,
Thanks for suggesting that we begin our RTW from Namibia.
I am now trying to book this but I cannot progress to the payment page as the screen seems to hang.
Any ideas as to why this should be. Do you think we need to get this ticketed in Namibia.
Thank you for all your help so far
indibela is offline  
Jun 20th, 2016, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,377
I was afraid of that. The Oneworld online tool is so hopelessly buggy, and Oneworld is so clueless about its defectiveness - that you end up beating your head against the wall.

I quickly googled some travel agents in Windhoek and found a couple with connections to major international travel groups, and which had IATA logos on their websites. Frankly, I'd phone one of them (I use Skype to keep the cost down) and see if they're able to ticket RTWs. You might also try the BA/Comair office in Windhoek, but typically these out-stations are quite small and/or contracted out to some other company, and the agents are clueless when it comes to complicated products they've never encountered.

I have a colleague that went this route in SA (when the prices were lower) and found an agent in Joburg who was quite able to book the RTW for him using her GDS access (Amadeus) and who took his credit card in payment. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this was the case with competent TAs in Namibia.

One trick to apply when you're booking with TAs that are unfamiliar with RTWs is to keep the itinerary as simple as possible, e.g. WDH-JNB-HKG-JFK-LHR-JNB-WDH, then once you're ticketed you can change stops, timing, routes etc. for just $125 and any changes in taxes/fees, using any airline in the alliance. So get it ticketed on BA ex-WDH, and after the first flight, contact BA in, say, South Africa, or the US, wherever, and have the ticket re-issued with all the changes. You'll still have the Namibian base price.

Sorry I can't be of more help on this.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 20th, 2016, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 11
Thanks Gardyloo. Will try your tips and suggestions and will let you know if we are successful
indibela is offline  
Jul 5th, 2016, 07:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,420
Gardyloo, You are simply amazing!
Sassafrass is offline  
Jul 8th, 2016, 04:10 PM
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nygvic0326 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2016, 02:42 PM
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Posts: 17,377
I'm bringing this back up due to a recent major change in the rules for the Oneworld Explorer - a positive change, imagine that!

Oneworld has dropped the requirement that RTW tickets be purchased in the country of origin. You can now purchase them anywhere, with the price being that of the country of origin not the country of sale, even though the price might be much less than the one that applies to the country of sale.

So for example if you want to start the trip in Namibia or Egypt because the price there is a fraction of the US price, you can phone the AA RTW desk in the US, have them book the ticket, get it priced, and take your credit card for payment, without having to communicate with somebody in Windhoek or Cairo.

Now you'll still have to get to Windhoek or Cairo to physically start the trip, but you'll have your ticket in hand when you do, so it could simply be a turn-around - land in Windhoek, walk to the departures area, and get right back on the first flight using the Oneworld Explorer.
Gardyloo is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2016, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 11
Hi Gardyloo,

Prices from Windhoek have just gone up!! They are now similar to prices from JNB.

Unfortunately, it is all working against us. Pound is weak, Rand is strong vs the Pound!!,

Any ideas? We are committed to starting in Africa as we will be in Mauritius before we start our RTW.

Will appreciate your input as always.
indibela is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2016, 09:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,377
Until yesterday (which is when the WDH fares went up) the prices out of Maputo (MPM) Mozambique were crazy cheap - under US$2800 for a four-continent business class fare. Somebody posted a note about it on Flyertalk and so many people jumped on it that the fare was doubled yesterday, so a 4-continent business class fare out of MPM is now US$5200 plus taxes/fees. That's still $1100 less than out of South Africa or Namibia. (The only Oneworld service out of MPM is Qatar Airways to Doha.)

Proves the point about early birds I guess.

Not knowing your plans, I'd look at the pyramids for a cheaper base fare. Wink wink.
Gardyloo is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2016, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 11
Quite right Gardyloo. We dithered for too long!
indibela is offline  
Aug 8th, 2016, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
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I kept looking at the OneWorld site and putting in various itineraries when we thought we were going to fly to Japan and then Singapore and then take a cruise to the Middle East and fly home.

I liked the idea of getting points for the whole thing but I also looked simply at sites like Kayak and others and kept finding these so-called "hacker fares" which were cheaper (and with their supposed drawbacks).

I think it is a great idea but we finally decided simply to fly to Japan from Europe while we are IN Europe next year. So much for going "around the world" I guess.
Dukey1 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2016, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 11
Thanks Gardyloo for all your help. We learnt a lot from you!

So, we finally booked our RTW journey starting in the desert (wink wink) and are looking forward to an exciting 2017 with visits to America, Far East, India and of course the Pyramids.

Thanks again.
indibela is offline  
Nov 29th, 2016, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,377
Good for you! Hope your trip is a blast. We'll be waiting for the trip reports that I'm sure will be forthcoming.
Gardyloo is online now  
Mar 6th, 2017, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1
Hi @Gardyloo you seem to have a real grasp on which flights are best. Any opinion on which RTW ticket would be best to get for these destinations. I was thinking the One world explorer 3 continent one but every time I look at it online the flights aren't available for next year and if I pick random dates this year it seems to be a nightmare tool to use so I give up.

I guess if there are advantages in buying some of these flights separately I could do too..


London 14/01/2018
Dubai 14/01/2018
Auckland 18/01/2018
overland to
Christchurch 06/03/2018
Melbourne 06/03/2018
overland to
Cairns 29/04/2018
Auckland 29/04/2018
Tahiti 30/04/2018
Los Angeles 05/05/2018
Los Angeles 21/06/2018
Jackson Hole 25/06/2018
overland to
Vancouver 10/08/2018
London 11/08/2018
siouxchief is offline  
Mar 6th, 2017, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,377
Hi, siouxchief, and welcome to Fodor's!

First, airlines don't allow you to book farther out than 11 to 12 months (depending on the airline) so most of your dates will fall outside that range.

Yes, the Oneworld online booking tool is hopeless; despite many requests to Oneworld to repair it, they seem deaf and uninterested, so most people find an airline in the alliance who knows what they're doing (usually American Airlines in the US, Qantas in Australia, BA in the UK, and Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong) who book and issue the ticket, or in a few cases some experienced travel agent who can pull it off.

By comparison, the online booking tool at Star Alliance seems to be much more trustworthy.

As for your trip as planned, there are some complications that would not permit use of a Oneworld Explorer as you currently have it planned, mainly the lack of any eligible airline service between New Zealand and Tahiti, and between Tahiti and North America. So for a Oneworld Explorer to work, you'd have to drop Tahiti from the itinerary (maybe add it as a stand-alone side trip from NZ or Australia).

Your trip would still be priced as a 4-continent trip even though you're overflying Asia; it's one of the kinks in the rule.

Using Oneworld's Global Explorer RTW ticket however, your trip could be undertaken, but with some modifications to the order of places visited. Unlike the Oneworld Explorer the Global Explorer is mileage-based, with mileage tiers at 26,000, 29,000, 34,000 and 39,000 flown miles. And unlike the OWE, the GlobEx allows the use of some additional airlines, one of which is Air Tahiti Nui, provided you use the Qantas codeshare flight numbers many of them carry, e.g. between Auckland and Tahiti, and Tahiti and LAX.

So this route - LHR-DXB-MEL-CNS-SYD-CHC-AKL-PPT-LAX-JAC-YVR-LHR, - would be available using the GlobEx. As you can see, it comes in just under the 29,000 mile tier; if you wanted something like your original routing you'd probably have to go up to the 34,000 mile level, which would cost quite a lot more. Note with the GlobEx, you count the miles between ticketed points against the maximum, even if you're using surface transportation for them.

Starting in London, an economy-class 29,000-mile Global Explorer has the same base price (£2100) as a 4-continent Oneworld Explorer. The 34,000 mile version of the GlobEx is £2550. In business class, the GlobEx only offers the 34,000 mile tier, which is the same price as the business class 4-continent OWE.

So it comes down to a question of Tahiti. With the Oneworld Explorer and its lack of a mileage limit, you could substitute Hawaii for Tahiti, or anywhere in the Caribbean, or, since you're already paying for it, anywhere in Asia for that matter (Bali? Sri Lanka? Maldives?) and still have an eligible trip with far more flexibility.

Either way you'd need to be patient and wait for the flights to become bookable, and you'd probably want to use that time to find a competent travel agent, or somebody who knows what they're doing at one of the airlines you'd use, to do the actual booking when the time comes.
Gardyloo is online now  

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