Monday, January 6, 2014

Round the world ticket (RTW)

For our round the world tickets, we mainly looked into two RTW: Star Alliance and One World. There is also Skyteam but we decided not to pursue with it because the online planning tool was difficult to use (and it seems like it doesn't cover as many destination as the other two). 

1. Star Alliance 
Star Alliance RTW planner
(Includes Lufthansa, Singapore airline, ANA, Thai airways, United, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Swiss, South African airways, Turkish airlines, Air China etc) 

2. One World
(Includes Qantas, JAL, American airlines, British airways, Cathay pacific, Malaysian airlines, Finnair, Royal Jordanian etc) 
One World RTW planner

We've spent at least 50 hours on the planning tools from each web site. Basically, Star Alliance calculates by miles and One World by segments. Star Alliance RTW suits our needs better so we've decided to go with them.
In terms of cost, no huge difference for what we want to do (roughly USD $6000 for economy).  

RTW tickets are valid for a year from the date of your first flight. We may be squeezing too many countries... we also want to visit Cuba and Israel. We'll see how we go, I guess. 

To change our flights, we were told to simply call the Star Alliance Book & Fly hotline. Their hotlines are located in Japan, Australia, USA and Germany. Here is the number for Japan office: +81 3 4455 1280 (English service 24 hours / 日本語での案内は日本時間 7時ー17時まで). Changing destination and routes cost $125 but changing dates is free. 

Our original itinerary looked something like this:
Japan -> Thailand (+ Myanmar) -> India -> Turkey -> Morocco -> (Traveling Europe by train) -> Kenya -> (Uganda) -> South Africa -> USA -> Guatemala -> (Nicaragua -> Honduras -> El Salvador) -> Panama -> Peru -> (Ecuador) -> (Brazil) -> (Argentina) -> (Chile) -> Japan 

BUT Just last week, we decided to change our itinerary and upgrade to business class. We found out with additional $4000 or so, we can upgrade all our flights to business. So we did... Not sure if this was necessary but oh well! 

It's now......Japan -> Thailand (+ Myanmar) -> India -> Turkey -> Morocco -> (Traveling Europe by train) -> Kenya -> (Uganda) -> South Africa -> Brazil -> Chile ->Argentina -> (Uruguay) -> (Paraguay) -> (Bolivia) -> Peru -> Panama -> (Cuba) -> (Costa rica) ->(Nicaragua) -> (Honduras) -> Guatemala -> USA (LA) ->  Japan 

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