RTW packages

Aug 18th, 2002, 05:37 PM
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RTW packages

Does anyone have experience with Round the World passes? I am interested in a pass from Star Alliance and would appreciate any comments. Airtreks actually recommended them because they cannot compete with the Canadian prices at least for Business class!
Aug 25th, 2002, 05:18 AM
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I'd suggest going to Flyertalk.com and to the Star Alliance forum for lots of good information. I fly OW some no experience with *
Aug 25th, 2002, 07:06 AM
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For the benefit of lurkers -- could you explain how RTW pass works, it's probably cost, etc.?
Aug 25th, 2002, 07:20 AM
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There are two different ones. Both allow you to travel one way only. So once you start going east, you pretty much have to stick to going that direction. There are very few minor exceptions, but that's a discussion for another time.
Option #1 - Ticket by segments. You pick how many continents you want to visit.
Option #2 - Ticket by miles.
Both options usually start around $2000 and could go up to about $10000, depending also on the class of service.
As suggested earlier, if you need more detailed info, visit www.flyertalk.com
Aug 25th, 2002, 11:54 AM
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RTW tickets are quite complicated actually. Since airlines don't fly all the way around the world, each airline typically enters into a number of agreements with other airlines in order to complete the segments needed for such a ticket. NOT ONE AGREEMENT IS THE SAME!

For example, airline "A" has different agreements with airlines "B", "C" and "D". An RTW ticket combining flights from airlines "A" and "B" will have differnt stops, different rules and different prices than a comparable RTW ticket with airlines "A" and "C". These agreements are negiotiated and signed yearly (usually by May).

So conditions and prices can vary considerably. That's why going through a consolidator makes sense.

Generally, here's how they work:

1) you travel in one direction only (east-west or west-east) and no "back-tracking" is allowed. There may be individual exceptions. Mine allowed Bangkok-Manila-Hong Kong, as well as Vancouver-LA-Vancouver. ASK, ASK, ASK!

2) a RTW ticket with stops only in the northern hemisphere tends to be much cheaper than one which has any stop in the southern hemisphere.

3) you must specify all your flight segments at the time of purchase. Although there may be built-in flexibility to change dates (*very* important feature!), you may be locked into your stops.

4) there may be restrictions on the overall number of stops and the conditions for changing your flight dates.

Finally, SHOP around in a serious big way. Call Air Canada reservations and ask if they still have an RTW reservations specialist (they used to), ask that person which airlines Air Canada currently has agreements with. Check to see if one of these airlines could complenent Air Canada's flights to your liking - then direct the consolidator to price your "dream itinerary". That's the strategy that worked for me.

If you are most interested in Asian and Antipodian destinations, then also check out "Circle Pacific" fares - they can be a better deal.
Aug 25th, 2002, 12:18 PM
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Part 2:
Another strategy that worked for me was to consider purchasing "extra" tickets to complement my RTW routing, instead of fitting it all into one RTW ticket.

For example, it was much cheaper for me to buy an extra round-trip ticket to Jo'burg from London, (bought through a UK consolidator (Trailfinders - who also threw in bonus flights within the region), than to add an African stop in my RTW.

Also check to see if "open" segments are allowed. For example, I flew into Paris and hopped back onto my next segment in London (took the train in between). Did the same again when I arrived in Male and hopped the next segment in Columbo (flew Male to Trivandrum, then Trivandrum to Columbo on cheap regional flights) - thus I got to cheaply include both India and Sri Lanka into this trip. I also added a cheap flight from Hong Kong to Beijing.

Good luck maximizing your RTW deal and your time. I had a blast: 16 flight segments (not counting the extra flights)/ 2 open jaws/ 6 months - took my then 12 year-old out of school and gave him the world!

PS - Brazil's carrier, Varig, used to offer decent RTW deals if you wanted to include South America and Africa (not very good for Asia tho).
Aug 25th, 2002, 12:23 PM
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One last thing:

When it comes to premium-priced tickets for long-haul international destinations, it can be very worthwhile to consider a RTW ticket rather than a straightforward return ticket... Chris is definitely on the right track on that score.

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