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Round the World - Which direction??

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Jun 8th, 2007, 06:41 AM
  #1
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Round the World - Which direction??

Spouse and I are thinking of doing an around the world trip (leaving from US) using AA's RTW ticket and it got me wondering about which direction (eastbound or westbound) is preferred by all you seasoned travellers. Obviously, when going westbound you "lose" a day when crossing the International Date Line and if you go eastbound you'll "gain" a day but does that really make a difference if you are travelling over a period of 4 to 6 weeks?

Right now we are leaning toward an eastbound routing so as to give us a few days to "relax" in Hawaii during the latter stages of the trip before returning to the continental US where will make one stop before arriving home.

One other question, when using the One World software program to plan the itinerary it doesn't seem to give me the option to plan an intermediate stop (between a major East Asian gateway city (such as Sidney or Tokoyo) and Fiji (I consider Tahiti as an alternate) before going on to Honolulu. I called the AA One World 800# and was told they don't have any flights to/from Fiji between the other cities. I do know Air Pacific has scheduled flights and I thought they were one of AA's partners but I might be mistaken. Anyway, does anyone know if I can do a routing that will take me from Sidsney to Nadi to Honolulu?

Thanks in advance for any responses.
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Jun 8th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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The Oneworld Explorer ticket only allows you to use planes operated by one of the Oneworld members. While the Oneworld system timetable shows a Sydney-Nadi flight, it's actually operated by Air Pathetic, which while an AA partner is not a Oneworld airline (same goes for Tahiti - Air Tahiti is a partner but not in OW.) So no Fiji on a OWE ticket. (And as for Hawaii, only from Sydney or Tokyo, no other access points.)

The RTW planning software (off the OW site) is horribly buggy - do NOT trust it. Confirm your route's validity with the AA RTW people.

As for east v. westbound, depends; done both. I prefer sleeping in beds thus westbound helps on that score; OTOH if you want to save Hawaii for the end that's the only way you can go. More important to me is seasonality. Remember northern summer = southern winter, and in some places (e.g. southern Africa) winter is the dry season, so putting your route together should take local conditions into account too.
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Jun 8th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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Gardyloo - thanks for the clarification regarding the Fiji/Tahati leg. Yes, I'm aware that you can only reach Honolulu from Tokyo or Sidney and I've got sample iineries from both places. Trying to narrow down our choices.

I appreciate your input regarding eastbound vs. westbound. Your logic makes sense.

So many things to think about when planning a trip that stops in so many continents. Oh well, as they say planning is half the fun.
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Jun 8th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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I prefer westbound for the same reason as Gardyloo: more nights in hotels and fewer on airplanes.

However, flying eastbound has the advantage of faster flights. For example, you would save about an hour between the US and Europe, or 90 minutes between the US and Japan, by flying eastbound instead of westbound.
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Jun 8th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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Doesn't matter which way you go, you won't "earn" or "lose" a day when you get home.

Going westbound doesn't necessarily means more sleep in hotel. For example, most Asia-Europe westbound flights are redeyes. And many US-Asia flights from the west coast (especially on Asian carriers) depart at midnight and arrive morning 2 days later.

Conversely, you can fly dayflight from East Coast to Europe, to maximize your sleeping time in a hotel. Doesn't have to do red-eye. Even more so for Hawaii to West Coast. Lots of non red-eyes.
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Jun 9th, 2007, 05:46 AM
  #6
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Thanks everyone for your hints.
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Jun 9th, 2007, 09:38 AM
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One thing that's a special quirk in all RTW ticket schemes is that they're priced differently from one country to another; enough so that sometimes flying on your own dime to another country to start the trip is justified. In addition, a particular quirk in the Oneworld Explorer ticket is that one is limited to two stopovers in the continent of origin. So in the case of N. America, where the ticket allows six segments, the two stopover rule can be a real annoyance, whereas in some other continents, with four segments max, it's less an issue.

For N. Americans, there's a real synergy when traveling in business or first class especially, as N. American prices are near the top of the table, while the same ticket (with just a slightly different order of things) can be cheaper if bought elsewhere, plus one is not hampered by the stopover rule.

For example, a four-continent business class ticket purchased in the USA is currently $8300. The same ticket purchased in Japan is $6100, a difference of $2200. Or the price in Sweden is $6400, a difference of $1900. Can you get to either Tokyo or Stockholm from where you live for less than 2 grand plus or minus? Most people can. (Note these are just examples - there are many other cheaper places than N. America.)

The RTW ticket is good for a year, and so are award tickets. So if you have enough miles saved up to cover a round trip award to Europe or Japan, you can fly to Tokyo or Stockholm, pick up the RTW ticket and begin the RTW (even if it means flying right home for your first "stopover" in N. America) then continue the trip until you end up back in Tokyo or Stockholm (or Sapporo or Goteborg...) Then you fly home on the return portion of the award ticket. In the meantime you will have earned so many new frequent flyer miles that you'll have more than replaced the miles you used in the first place.

The effect of which is to make the RTW more affordable and more convenient, and allows you to split the trip with a stay-over at home part way through the big circle.
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