UA Excursionist Fare

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Nov 26th, 2018, 12:47 PM
  #41
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As Always, I thank you! And, I see what to do.
So now I think I want to reverse the order of the trip and leave in Dec 2020 for Asia & then NZ and finish up in Oct/Nov 2020. I assume I have to wait until flights are available for Oct/Nov 2020 before I could go ahead and book this? Is that correct? If so that puts me just a couple months before I would depart on the 1st flight in late Dec. Are there ever problems booking so close in? This is in business class. I ask because I notice as I have played around with all this, sometimes I see the booking is only available in economy which is usually the long haul to NZ.
As far as where to begin, is it the same for each alliance?
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Nov 26th, 2018, 01:03 PM
  #42
 
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Please clarify the dates. Start in 2020 and end in 2021, or start in 2019 and finish in 2020?
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Nov 26th, 2018, 01:25 PM
  #43
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We would start in Dec. 2019 and finish in the fall of 2020. (This is all so far off--I never plan so far ahead so the dates are confusing to me!)
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Nov 27th, 2018, 08:25 AM
  #44
 
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You can book the RTW as soon as the airlines release their schedules, so in the case of a late 2019 departure, sometime around the first of the year. (Bookings open typically 11 months prior to the flight date, 12 months for some airlines.)

However when the booking opens for the first flights, the dates won't be available for the later ones. The standard approach to this is to book "dummy" dates for all the flights that aren't available at the initial booking date. Then, because date changes are free with RTW tickets, just go back to the issuing airline (this can be done on the phone) and switch to the preferred dates once they're available.

I generally recommend booking the RTW ticket as soon as possible in order to lock in the price at the time. RTW fares can and do go up over the course of a year, but by ticketing early you can secure the favorable pricing through the duration of the ticket's life. Note too that tickets can be cancelled prior to the first flight, with a 10% (for economy) or a 5% (business) penalty. This is better than a lot of conventional tickets, too. If you want to wade through the Oneworld RTW rules, here ya go: Permanent oneworld Explorer fare rules doc.pdf
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Nov 27th, 2018, 12:35 PM
  #45
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[QUOTE=Gardyloo;16831408]You can book the RTW as soon as the airlines release their schedules, so in the case of a late 2019 departure, sometime around the first of the year. (Bookings open typically 11 months prior to the flight date, 12 months for some airlines.)

However when the booking opens for the first flights, the dates won't be available for the later ones. The standard approach to this is to book "dummy" dates for all the flights that aren't available at the initial booking date. Then, because date changes are free with RTW tickets, just go back to the issuing airline (this can be done on the phone) and switch to the preferred dates once they're available.

Let me make sure I understand this, I book "dummy" flights and they can be changed. Can I change airlines? For example, I book with Malaysia air for the dummy booking. When I go to change I switch to Sri Lanka air -- is that allowed or must I stay with the same airline and same flight?

You say, "just go back to the issuing airline" You recommend using American to book, so I would go back to AA for any changes?

Finally, or at least for now, I'm trying to compare prices on starting my trip in Paris instead of Olso to see what the price difference would be. I want to go from Paris to Colombo Sri Lanka. Most of the flights are on BA & go thru London. When I try to price the entire itin I get a message that says, I need to call BA as there is an error. There is a flt thru Madrid and London on Iberia, but when I try and use that it gives me too many sectors within Eur & MidEast. I can find other flights but they don't show up in the list that populates their website for the Explorer fares. How do I put in alternate flights? I gather I can have this done when I call an agent?


I don't know where you live, but at some point, if I am in your city, I owe you big time -- drinks or even dinner on us!

Last edited by yestravel; Nov 27th, 2018 at 12:40 PM.
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Nov 27th, 2018, 02:16 PM
  #46
 
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Let me make sure I understand this, I book "dummy" flights and they can be changed. Can I change airlines? For example, I book with Malaysia air for the dummy booking. When I go to change I switch to Sri Lanka air -- is that allowed or must I stay with the same airline and same flight?
You can change dates, pick a different flight on the day, or change airlines, provided it's for the same "city pair" (e.g. Bangkok to Colombo) as originally booked.

Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
You say, "just go back to the issuing airline" You recommend using American to book, so I would go back to AA for any changes?
Yes, although technically any member airline can make the changes. Some airlines (Qantas is notorious for this) will charge a "service fee" - $25 or $50 or some such - to make the changes. If you book with AA, AA would be the easiest place to make the changes.

Remember, you can change the overall plan, route, stopovers, dates - if you're willing to pay a "re-issue" fee ($125.)

Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Finally, or at least for now, I'm trying to compare prices on starting my trip in Paris instead of Olso to see what the price difference would be. I want to go from Paris to Colombo Sri Lanka. Most of the flights are on BA & go thru London. When I try to price the entire itin I get a message that says, I need to call BA as there is an error. There is a flt thru Madrid and London on Iberia, but when I try and use that it gives me too many sectors within Eur & MidEast. I can find other flights but they don't show up in the list that populates their website for the Explorer fares. How do I put in alternate flights? I gather I can have this done when I call an agent?
Right now a 4-continent business class Oneworld Explorer starting anywhere in the Euro zone (France, Spain, Finland, anywhere) is $1200 more expensive than starting in Norway. The "call BA" thing is a bug with the Oneworld tool, of which there are too many to count. Ticketing through it is only for the brave - it hangs at the payment screens more often than not. Same goes for trying to get flights that you know exist but which the online tool can't find. You're basically stuck, which is why using the human is better than the robot.

There are some tricks of the trade that can save major money in the taxes and fees subtotal. I've already mentioned that avoiding longhaul flights on British Airways is one, particularly ones that depart Heathrow, because of the UK Air Passenger Duty. Other airlines charge various surcharges and fees that are hard to pin down; some of these are inescapable (for example Qatar Airlines, which flies some routes that nobody else does) but it's worth playing around with the tool using different routing options just to see the impact on the bottom line. You've got plenty of time, so see what you can see. You might also consider signing up for Expert Flyer, so you can see base fares for numerous places with much less effort than using the crummy Oneworld tool.

Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
I don't know where you live, but at some point, if I am in your city, I owe you big time -- drinks or even dinner on us!
That's very kind but (obviously) I enjoy this stuff. It's kind of like gaming the airlines to extract maximum value along with maximum fun. I'm in Seattle, by the way.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Nov 27th, 2018 at 02:20 PM.
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Nov 27th, 2018, 03:02 PM
  #47
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It's kind of like gaming the airlines to extract maximum value along with maximum fun. I'm in Seattle, by the way. Love Seattle but haven't been for quite a few years.
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Nov 29th, 2018, 02:58 PM
  #48
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I've done yet another dummy itin with the following. I'd like to get from DC to TelAviv and then TelAviv to Oslo. I apparently can't do this because I have too many sectors in Europe Mid East. I can got DC to JFK and to Amman, Jordan instead of to TelAviv but my preference would be to fly in & out of TelAviv. Any ideas around this? Thank you
  1. OSLO to Sri Lanka
  2. Doha (DOH)
    01:40 Terminal:Colombo (CMB)
    09:20 Terminal:Qatar Airways
    QR664
    • Stops: 0
    • Duration: 15h 35m
    • Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER Passenger
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades available
  3. 2. Colombo (LK) - Kuala Lumpur (MY)
    30/Jan/2019
    Change flight
    Surface Sector infoColombo (CMB)
    07:30 Terminal:Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
    13:45 Terminal: MSriLankan Airlines
    UL314
    • Stops: 0
    • Duration: 03h 45m
    • Aircraft: Airbus A330-200 Passenger
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades available
  4. 3. Kuala Lumpur (MY) - Denpasar-Bali (ID)
    04/Feb/2019
    Change flight
    Surface Sector infoKuala Lumpur (KUL)
    15:20 Terminal: MDenpasar-Bali (DPS)
    18:25 Terminal: IMalaysia Airlines
    MH853
    • Stops: 0
    • Duration: 03h 05m
    • Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 Passenger
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades available
  5. 4. Denpasar-Bali (ID) - Auckland (NZ)
    11/Feb/2019 (+1 day)
    Change flight
    Surface Sector infoDenpasar-Bali (DPS)
    21:30 Terminal: IMelbourne (MEL)
    06:15 (+1 day) Terminal: 2Qantas
    QF46
    • Stops: 0
    • Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 Passenger/BBJ2 (winglets)
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades availableMelbourne (MEL)
    07:30 Terminal: 2Auckland (AKL)
    13:10 Terminal: IQantas
    QF151
    • Stops: 0
    • Duration: 10h 40m
    • Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 Passenger/BBJ2 (winglets)
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades available
  6. 5. Auckland (NZ) - Washington (US)
    13/Mar/2019
    Change flight
    Surface Sector infoAuckland (AKL)
    13:50 Terminal: ILos Angeles (LAX)
    06:00 Terminal: BAmerican Airlines
    AA82
    • Stops: 0
    • Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades availableLos Angeles (LAX)
    09:50 Terminal: 0Washington (IAD)
    17:45 Terminal:American Airlines
    AA1339
    • Stops: 0
    • Duration: 20h 55m
    • Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 Passenger
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades available
  7. 6. Washington (US) - Tel Aviv-Yafo (IL)
    19/Mar/2019 (+1 day)
    Change flight
    Surface Sector infoWashington (IAD)
    19:25 Terminalondon (LHR)
    06:30 (+1 day) Terminal: 5British Airways
    BA216
    • Stops: 0
    • Aircraft: Boeing 747-400 Passenger
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades availableLondon (LHR)
    08:05 Terminal: 5Tel Aviv-Yafo (TLV)
    14:50 Terminal: 3British Airways
    BA165
    • Stops: 0
    • Duration: 13h 25m
    • Aircraft: Boeing 777 Passenger
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades available
  8. 7. Tel Aviv-Yafo (IL) - Oslo (NO)
    25/Mar/2019
    Change flightTel Aviv-Yafo (TLV)
    06:55 Terminal: 3London (LHR)
    10:30 Terminal: 5British Airways
    BA162
    • Stops: 0
    • Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades availableLondon (LHR)
    19:55 Terminal: 5Oslo (OSL)
    23:10 Terminalritish Airways
    BA770
    • Stops: 0
    • Duration: 17h 15m
    • Aircraft: Airbus A319 Passenger
    • Booking Class: Business
    No upgrades available
    Remove flight
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Nov 30th, 2018, 07:20 AM
  #49
 
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
I've done yet another dummy itin with the following. I'd like to get from DC to TelAviv and then TelAviv to Oslo. I apparently can't do this because I have too many sectors in Europe Mid East. I can got DC to JFK and to Amman, Jordan instead of to TelAviv but my preference would be to fly in & out of TelAviv. Any ideas around this? Thank you.
As I said, the online booking tool at Oneworld is just terrible. Not only does it fail to find eligible flights, it references rules in the product that have been superseded, and then when you try to book, it has a seizure. The IT people at Oneworld (who farmed this turkey out to a firm that has since crashed) apparently don't give a damn, despite years of protests from those of us who use these products. The "too many Middle East segments" glitch is one of many similar problems.

One of your problems is letting the tool make too many decisions; it's not good at all with that. By putting in "Oslo to Colombo" or "Washington to Tel Aviv" the tool will have to choose where to change planes, because neither city pair has nonstop service. In the case of Oslo to Sri Lanka, it defaults to Qatar's nonstop flight from Oslo to Doha, rather than choosing a BA flight to London then Sri Lankan Airlines' nonstop. Then, later, when you try to get to Israel, it defaults to London - Tel Aviv and back on BA. The old rule (that no longer exists but the tool still observes) was that only two flights were permitted between western Europe and the Middle East or v.v., and you'd have three - OSL to DOH at the beginning, then LHR-TLV-LHR at the end.

It's always preferable to specify ALL the flights when using the tool. Don't put in "Oslo to Colombo," put in "Oslo to London to Colombo," since those are the actual flight segments you'd be using.

So try this routing instead, being sure you put in every airport you'd touch (pardon the use of airport codes - get used to it.) OSL-LHR-CMB-KUL-DPS-MEL-AKL-LAX-IAD-LHR-TLV-HEL-OSL . Here's the map showing this route - https://tinyurl.com/ya89qjtm

Tweaks to save money on this route. As I said, try to avoid longhaul British Airways flights and stopovers in the UK followed by longhaul flights (on any carrier.) This will avoid BA's high surcharges and the UK's high Air Passenger Duty departure tax. If you must touch the UK (e.g. OSL-LHR-CMB) make it just a short connection at Heathrow, less than 24 hours, as the APD is waived on connections.

Here's the workaround if you want to experiment playing with the tool. OSL-LHR-CMB-KUL-DPS-SYD-AKL-LAX-DCA-JFK-HEL-TLV-HEL-OSL (Map - https://tinyurl.com/y8l4aav7 )

More details:

OSL-LHR: British Airways short haul

LHR-CMB: Sri Lankan Airlines. Don't spend more than 24h in the UK (come back on your own nickel sometime). See the video covering Sri Lankan's business class below (on the same route, but in reverse.)

CMB-KUL: You can use either Malaysian or Sri Lankan Airlines on this route; I'd pick Sri Lankan because they use newer planes.

KUL-DPS: Malaysian is the only Oneworld operator on this route.

DPS-SYD (or MEL): Qantas operates both routes. I'd pick Sydney over Melbourne as Qantas uses wide-bodies on DPS-SYD but 737s on DPS-MEL, and that's a long time to sit in a narrow-body plane.

SYD-AKL: Qantas operates numerous daily flights on this route; however I'd pick Latam (formerly Lan Chile) for this flight as they operate Boeing 787s on this route, with a superior in-flight experience. (The plane carries on to Santiago.)

AKL-LAX: American is the only airline flying this route, and I'd pick AA anyway if you want to ticket the RTW through AA (which you should) as AA usually wants at least one transoceanic segment on their own planes to justify the ticketing

LAX-DCA: Note NOT IAD; AA flies both. The reason for using National instead of Dulles is that I'm suggesting using some other carrier than BA for the transatlantic segment, and BA is the only member airline flying across the pond from Dulles. I'm suggesting Finnair from JFK for the transatlantic segment (to Helsinki) since Finnair also flies to Tel Aviv. AA doesn't fly from IAD to JFK, but they do from National Airport. by flying LAX-DCA-JFK-HEL-TLV instead of LAX-IAD-LHR-TLV you can avoid BA's surcharges and possibly UK APD. You have plenty of available North America segments (you're only using two vs. one in the original plan, and you're allowed up to six) so the connection at JFK wouldn't be at any great expense. Finnair is a quality product, and Helsinki airport is way cool (as is the city.)

DCA-JFK: Numerous AA flights daily.

JFK-HEL: On Finnair

HEL-TLV: Also Finnair; it's actually a shorter flight than LHR-TLV.

TLV-HEL: Same plane, just a turn-around.

HEL-OSL: Several Finnair flights daily.

Sri Lankan business class video:

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Nov 30th, 2018, 08:09 AM
  #50
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Perfect! Basically I have to look at what is offered and pick the best flight. You have saved me researching that and the various equipment. You should be getting a commission ! This is quite the experience figuring all this out.
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