Threads on RTW trips and/or RTW fares?

Aug 22nd, 2019, 02:10 PM
  #1  
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Threads on RTW trips and/or RTW fares?

Back here after years of absence (though I did ask a question about Taipei hotels in 2018). I was for a very long time insanely active here on the Europe forum (even putting together a Fodorites trip to Italy in 2011)

Once upon a time, there were some active threads on RTW trips (specifically, best country or countries to choose for the start/stop - - but also pros and cons of SkyTeam versus OneWorld versus StarAlliance).

I got the tip here from someone named Gardyloo (maybe from Vancouver?) about doing a start/stop in Japan and that strategy worked great for us in 2018. We made more or less RTW trips for less than the price of one.

Thinking to do a different trip in 2020 and pricing craziness (all figures cited below are for business class) is changed quite a bit from what I recall in 2017/2018. Japan-to-Japan now costs quite a bit more (roughly $1000 more - - perhaps more taxes than actual airfare increases?) - - but still a better deal than US-to-US at about $7500. The comparisons are substantially different as US-to-US is almost $2000 cheaper (now under $11,000 is possible; I think that what we looked into was more like $13,000 two years ago).

And Greece-to-Greece is actually slightly cheaper than Japan-to-Japan at about $7300 - - not to mention that for much of the US it is quite cheap to get to Greece (EWR => ATH on Emirates with affordable upgrades from economy to business if you have Membership Rewards.

Any other suggestions where the best discussion of this might be nowadays (or anytime in the last year or so)?

Thanks in advance,

Rex, in Indiana (rexb)

rexb is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2019, 06:39 AM
  #2  
 
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THE Rex in Indiana?! Wow, welcome back stranger.

I don't think Oneworld has raised the ex-Japan prices in Yen; however the Yen - Dollar exchange is quite different now.

As of today, the cheapest places (in USD) to start and end a Oneworld Explorer business class 4-continent ticket (DONE4) are Pakistan (yeah, good luck with that) followed by Norway, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Japan, South Africa, Jordan and Israel. Base price ex-Oslo is around $1200 cheaper than the Euro zone (and around $1100 cheaper than the UK, where the slide of Sterling has "cheapened" USD-denominated fares big time.) And with Norwegian Air offering cheap service over the pond, getting there is quite easy.

Of course, as before, taxes and airline fees can make a big difference, so, again, as before, having a planned itinerary is an important first step. What are you thinking?

Consider subscribing to Expert Flyer - https://www.expertflyer.com/main.do - where you can pull up base fares and have access to all sorts of useful tools.
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Aug 24th, 2019, 05:34 PM
  #3  
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Gardyloo:

Wow... do I really deserve the title "THE Rex from Indiana"? Who besides me and you would have any clue WHY!!?? Shall I dust off a link to the old (2007) post about the woman whose mother was in the hospital in Meaux (France)?

============================================

It's interesting that the base price "pecking" (pricing) order appears to be a bit different for SkyTeam than for OneWorld.

I did not try Norway (and I don't think that I am very interested in Norwegian Air - - though your mentioning it did prompt to read the review on TPG of their Premium Class experience) but I did try Sri Lanka, Jordan and of course, Japan. Greece was slightly cheaper than Japan, then Sri Lanka, then Jordan.

Greece is likely to stay fairly high on our desired list of destinations… and the prospect of using it as start/stop means getting to go there twice.

Where to go, eastbound from Greece is a bit of a challenge. I started with Beirut, then Cairo, then Jeddah, then Delhi. My wife was pretty surprised. "Beirut?" she asked.. "since when are you interested in Lebanon?" she wanted to know.

And she had concerns about the potential for unrest(and likewise Cairo). My answer was that you can simply never tell.

Our 2018 itinerary contained these five, all in a row... St Petersburg, then Moscow, then Shanghai, then Hong Kong, then Taiwan. Any of the five of those COULD turn uncomfortable for Americans, but I really did not even think that there was any real risk.Who could have imagined what is happening in Hong Kong now?

Has there been anything like that in Beirut in the past decade? I guess the greatest instability is the (still) massive number of (Syrian and Palestinian) refugees residing in Lebanon.

I have to say that getting from Europe/the Mediterranean to far east Asia is the most challenging part of planning an RTW itinerary for me - - chiefly because I know so little.

Going from Russia straight to China generally took away my hand-wringing for our 2018 trip.

I will try to make good on sharing with you some more details of our 2018 "Round-and-two halfs"-the-World adventure(s).

Best wishes,

Rex
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Aug 24th, 2019, 05:57 PM
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Your old profile is still there so you wouldn't have any limitations like you do with this 'new you' -- AS LONG as you remember your old log in.
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Aug 25th, 2019, 07:06 AM
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It gets a bit technical, but starting a Oneworld itinerary in Europe/Middle East has some disadvantages if that's a focus region for your travels. Oneworld's RTW rules limit you to four flights maximum, and two stopovers maximum, within the continent of origin. In Oneworld's nomenclature, "Europe" includes the Middle East and most of north Africa, so if, for example, you wanted to start in Athens and then travel to someplace like Cairo, using Oneworld carriers you'd have to fly there via someplace that's a Oneworld hub, namely London, Amman or Doha (Qatar). So there's two of your flights used up, and one stopover, to travel to a destination that you can fly directly to from Athens for 136 and two hours. At roughly $6500 for a business class ticket that's good for 16 flights in the pointy end, that works out to $406 per segment, or $812 just to get someplace you could fly directly to (outside the ticket) for 1/5th the price. Same goes for Beirut, Amman, or Tel Aviv. At least from Amman or Tel Aviv you'd have nonstop access to Asia (Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Hong Kong from AMM, Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific nonstop from Tel Aviv.) And don't forget, you'd have to end up back in Greece at the end, probably requiring one final Europe segment, like London - Athens.

As for access to Norway, of course you don't have to fly on Norwegian. Do you have any frequent flyer miles stored up? Or you could buy enough miles (AA has frequent sales) to cover business-class "positioning" flights, that could be to Athens, Oslo, Stockholm... wherever, which would all be a short, cheap "non-RTW" flight from various other destinations where you could hopscotch around.

People have different tolerance levels for travel to so-called "tense" or "unsafe" areas. I don't think I'd go on holiday to Kabul at the present, but I wouldn't hesitate to go (back) to Iran, for example. And in numerous visits I've never felt a minute of insecurity in Israel, including brief times on the West Bank. But it's personal of course, and you need to think circumstantially - probably not the best time to visit the Amazon rain forest, for example. Or Gaza City.

Planning is half the fun - let us know your thinking.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Aug 25th, 2019 at 07:10 AM.
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Aug 26th, 2019, 06:36 PM
  #6  
 
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Wow, Rex, welcome back! I never look at this forum but something made me click on it tonight. It’s nice to know you are alive and well, I’ve really missed seeing your name and reading your threads!
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Aug 28th, 2019, 11:58 AM
  #7  
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Smiling to see your reply, gardyloo... and to be remembered by someone (thanks tracilee)

Not sure where I will go with this in the coming week or two. But I would be very happy to hear from anyone who has been looking into RTW (Skyteam) fare differences attributable to starting one country versus another - - especially if there is a "magic spot" in the broad realm between Greece and the far east (Asia).

Thanks in advance for anyone else who wants to chime in on this.!!

Best,

Rex
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Aug 29th, 2019, 06:02 AM
  #8  
 
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Like Star Alliance, Skyteam's RTW products are based on mileage tiers while the Oneworld Explorer is based on continents touched. As of today, the cheapest business class origin country for Skyteam's lowest mileage tier, the IRTWSKY4 (26,000 flown miles max) is Japan, by a difference of $470 over the second cheapest, Sweden. For the next two tiers (SKY3, 29,000 miles AND SKY2, 33,000) Sweden is the cheapest, with Japan returning as the cheapest for the SKY1 tier (38,000 miles.) I checked fares from Greece, through the Middle East, and into both Southeast and East Asia, and the Skyteam fares are almost universally $2000 - $4000 more per person for comparable mileage tiers. I didn't find any "sweet spots" at all. A separate issue with Skyteam is that their coverage in some areas, particularly Australia/NZ and South America, can mean having to use their main hubs, like Seoul or Shanghai or Buenos Aires, for intra-regional travel, which rapidly consumes the flight mileage limits, forcing a higher mileage tier and fare. So route construction becomes much more important than with the other alliances in those regions.
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