RTW (Round the World) Tickets

24 Jan

When it came to airplane flights, we had two options: 1) Book flights individually through various airlines, or 2) Book flights with an alliance on a RTW ticket.  After spending quite a bit of time debating pros and cons about the best way to go about it, we finally booked our RTW tickets through the OneWorld Alliance.  There are two major RTW systems — mileage-based or continent-based. The mileage-based programs like Star Alliance were much more expensive than OneWorld’s Global Explorer ticket, a continent-based program. With OneWorld, you pay per continent, with a cap of 16 stops/segments. In our case, we are visiting 4 continents, which includes North America. Here’s a trick if you are considering a similar ticket — buy one which starts in a foreign country with a cheaper cost of living — not all RTW tickets are priced the same. We couldn’t make it work for our particular itinerary, but maybe you can.  Another reason OneWorld worked out well for us: with Easter Island and Petra on our bucket list, having LAN and Royal Jordanian as partner airlines made it easier for us to travel to these regions whereas separate round trip flights would end up being very costly. RTW tickets also allow unlimited change of schedule for no fee, and 2 check-in bags free of charge.

Once we narrowed down our itinerary, we fit it into the 16 segment requirement and made sure we didn’t violate any rules (no backtracking to a city you’ve already landed in, must cross the Pacific and Atlantic once, certain number of segments in each continent, etc).

A good resource to use is Air Timetable. The information is generally correct, although the prices are outdated now.

Below is our list of stops around the world through the OneWorld alliance, with some side trips interspersed between a few of the legs (in parentheses).  The 16 segments also include land segments as well.  For example, we are flying into Madrid from Jordan, which counts as a segment (air).  The next segment is Madrid to London (land), and the last segment is London to SFO (air).  However, we are not flying from Madrid to London using a OneWorld Alliance partner.  Instead we are going to make our way from Madrid to London using a combination of trains, buses, discount carriers such as easyJet or Ryanair on our own dime.  It still counts as one of the 16 segments though.  The reason we are doing this is because that way, we don’t have to waste time or resources to come all the way back to Madrid just to fly home.  So we’re basically “eating” up a segment for the sake of time and convenience.  Hope that makes sense!

Lima, Peru
(Cuzco, Peru (Machu Picchu))
Easter Island, Chile
Santiago, Chile
Buenos Aires, Argentina
(El Calafate, Argentina (glaciers))
(Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil))
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tokyo, Japan
Beijing, China
(Pyongyang, NK (more on this in a later post))
Hong Kong, China
Hanoi/Saigon, Vietnam
Bangkok/Chiang Mai/Phuket, Thailand
Delhi, India
Amman, Jordan
Barcelona/Madrid/San Sebastian/Girona, Spain
Lisbon, Portugal
(Fez, Morocco)
(Paris, France)
Europe (TBD)

Whew. This is going to be one crazy adventure.


4 Responses to “RTW (Round the World) Tickets”

  1. msticazn January 24, 2012 at 2:24 AM #

    I hope you get a nice experience with Cathay Pacific, I like them a lot =D

  2. Mike Starling January 24, 2012 at 3:36 AM #

    Good luck with your trip – you have a great itinerary!

  3. Dawn January 24, 2012 at 8:30 PM #

    SO EXCITING!!! Looking forward to keeping up with your travels through this here blog!!

  4. Little Earthquake February 12, 2012 at 9:47 AM #

    Be sure to get a coffee at Confeiteria Colombo in Rio de Janeiro. It’s touristy of course but very charming. Have a great trip – I’ll be following your blog.

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