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CostHelper > Travel  > Around-the-World Airline Ticket

Around-the-World Airline Ticket Cost


How Much Does an Around-the-World Airline Ticket Cost?

 
low costOne-Way Tickets: $1,000-$6,000+ up to 6 Stopsaverage costRTW, Economy/Coach: $1,500-$10,000 up to 16 Stopshigh costRTW, Business/First Class: $5,000-$15,000+ up to 16 Stops
Typical costs:
  • Expect to pay $1,500-$10,000 for a round-the-world fare in economy/coach, and $5,000-$15,000 or more flying business or first class, depending on mileage, route and number of stops (from two or three for less expensive tickets, up to a maximum of 16). RTW fares are offered by airline alliances --companies that partner together to offer global coverage -- and typically are good for up to a year of travel in a single direction (east to west or west to east, although backtracking within a continent is usually allowed). A single ticket is purchased from one airline, and it bundles together all the desired flights from partner airlines.
  • RTW fares can be based on the total number of miles traveled or the number of flight segments regardless of distance (a 15-hour flight counts the same as a two-hour trip). For example, with 25 airlines including United, Air China and Lufthansa, the Star Alliance[1] offers RTW fares for 29,000 miles (roughly three continents), 34,000 miles (approximately four continents) and 39,000 miles (about five or six continents) with up to 16 stops, or a special economy fare with 26,000 miles and five stopovers -- so a 27,354-mile trip from New York to London, Istanbul, Delhi, Bangkok, Tokyo, Sydney, Los Angeles and back to New York starts at about $5,400, depending on specific flights chosen (not including airport surcharges/taxes, or airline baggage fees). At One World alliance -- which has 12 airlines including American Airlines, Qantas and British Airways -- the RTW Explorer fare[2] is based on the number of continents visited; a similar itinerary beginning and ending in New York starts at about $5,680 including airport surcharges and taxes. One World also offers mileage-based RTW fares.
  • It is possible to piece together a low-cost round-the-world trip using one-way tickets on various airlines, especially since many discount and small airlines don't participate in alliances. Individual point-to-point flights with three to six stops might cost $1,000-$6,000 or more, depending on destinations, airlines chosen and the number of stopovers. Although some travelers do their own research and booking, point-to-point ticketing is typically done through a travel agent or ticket consolidator specializing in around-the-world travel.
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What should be included:
  • For RTW fares, the first flight typically needs to be booked in advance but specific flights for other trip segments can be booked in advance or scheduled en route. Although all offer a maximum of 16 stops, each alliance has its own conditions on RTW fares.
  • Booking point-to-point tickets can be more complex, and may cost more for travel to remote areas (such as Crete, Easter Island or Ethiopia) compared to a RTW fare, but point-to-point ticketing offers greater flexibility, including no restrictions on the direction traveled and the ability to choose budget airlines.
  • RTW fares typically earn frequent flyer miles, but point-to-point tickets might not.
Additional costs:
  • Changing dates on a RTW ticket while en route is typically free, but there can be a fee (usually $100-$200) for changing destinations.
  • Food, accommodations and transportation add to the total cost of world travel. BootsnAll Travel Network lists typical additional costs for round the world travel[3] and posts actual budgets for 11 trips[4] .
Discounts:
  • It typically costs more to start a RTW trip in North America; some travelers save several hundred to several thousand dollars by beginning a RTW ticket in another country, and paying separately (or using frequent flyer miles) for a flight to that country.
  • Children's fares may be discounted. For example, Star Alliance[5] charges 75% of the adult fare for kids 2-11 years old flying economy class; there is no discount in business or first class.
Shopping for an around-the-world airline ticket:
  • Most RTW tickets can now be booked online, although some complex or unusual itineraries may require talking on the phone with an alliance representative; allow at least 30 minutes to an hour for this process.
  • Star Alliance[6] is the largest (25 airlines flying to 1,293 airports in 190 countries); second is SkyTeam[7] with 15 airlines (including Delta and Air France) going to 926 destinations in 173 countries); and third is One World[8] with 12 airlines flying to about 800 destinations in 150 countries.
  • A few of the major companies that specialize in travel arrangements for either RTW fares or point-to-point tickets include Airtreks[9] , BootsnAll[10] , STA Travel[11] , Travel Nation[12] and World Travellers' Club[13] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.staralliance.com/en/booking/book-and-fly/
  2.  www.oneworld.com/flights/round-the-world-fares/oneworld-explorer/
  3.  www.bootsnall.com/rtw/costs-of-rtw-travel.html
  4.  www.bootsnall.com/articles/11-12/the-real-costs-of-rtw-travel.html
  5.  www.staralliance.com/en/fares/round-the-world-fare/round-the-world-fare-tc/
  6.  www.staralliance.com/en/about/member_airlines/
  7.  www.skyteam.com/en/About-us/Our-members/
  8.  www.oneworld.com/flights/where-we-fly/
  9.  www.airtreks.com/
  10.  www.bootsnall.com/rtw/
  11.  www.statravel.com/round-the-world.htm
  12.  www.travelnation.co.uk/
  13.  around-the-world.com/index.html
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