How to Go Around the World on One URL  

Posted by: shilpz in , , , , , ,

If you've ever tried to book a multi-destination airfare online or a round-the-world ticket, you know that it's not as easy as a basic point to point flight. In fact, travelers often tend to book more complicated airfares through a bricks and mortar travel agency or if they do attempt to book online, they proceed by purchasing individual sectors separately, possibly paying a lot more for one-way fares and forgoing frequent flyer points.

To ease the burden and encourage travelers to stay loyal to their global frequent flyer program, Oneworld -- which includes American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malev, Qantas and Royal Jordanian -- has introduced a special section on its website ( to make a multi-stop trip on its ten member airlines a seamless booking experience. The round-the-world booking tool allows you to plan and/or book either a round-the-world trip or a multi-city itinerary through six continents with multiple segments and relatively few restrictions.

Before you get started, you will need to have Flash version 9 or higher installed on your computer (or be willing to download it through the link provided) and allow pop-ups/cookies (I learned the hard way. because if you don't allow pop-ups, you will lose all your research when you try to make the booking). Also if you don't think you can complete your itinerary in one session (or are browsing for a later booking date), make sure to save your itinerary, either to your computer or to the Oneworld website, if you want to access your work again later.

You can also choose to save your itinerary and send it directly to your favorite airline or travel agency if you would prefer to book directly through them.
To start, choose whether you would like a round-the-world search, round-the-world search plus booking, or a multi-city itinerary. Then, the first screen that comes up is a world map with hundreds of destination dots (unfortunately the screen isn't large enough to show the entire world so you need to know your geography a bit and scroll across, up and down). You begin by choosing your departure city and then click on subsequent cities that you want to include.

A great feature that I particularly like is that you can actually identify whether you wish to fly between sectors or will travel by surface, for example you may want to fly from Boston to London, then to Prague but want to drive to Paris before flying to Spain and then home.
You then choose your flights based on airline (if multiple airlines service that route) departure time and flight time. Check seat availability and type of aircraft you'll be flying -- even your terminal departure and arrival locations appear so you can be fully informed.

You search for flights by dates but if you'd like to change the date, you don't need to scroll back or enter all the information again -- just a simple click on the calendar and you can change your dates for any sector. You can click on the "Fare Estimate" tab at any time to gauge the cost of each sector of a multi-city itinerary or the total. Prices are obviously the same as those offered on the individual airline's websites, in fact when you click on "make a booking" at the end of your search, you will be taken to your local country's Oneworld alliance member's website (in our case, American Airlines) to complete the booking.

The multi-airline, round-the-world ticket, or Explorer as it is known, is Oneworld's most popular product. The Explorer generated the largest portion of the $725 million earned by the alliance last year. There are certain restrictions with this ticket, but the website walks you through the process with ease. Cities on the map that are valid appear as green dots, whereas cities that are invalid (not part of the fare regulations) appear as red diamonds. You will notice that once you have chosen a "green" city, it will turn red as you cannot visit the same city twice.
If a direct flight is not available between two cities chosen, the website will route you through a central hub automatically.

The Explorer allows you 16 stops traveling to at least three Oneworld continents, or four from the Southern Hemisphere and Africa. Your route from one continent to another must move forward in a continuous westward or eastward direction, however, there are no backtracking restrictions so you are free to roam locally at will within a continent as long as you don't go back to your point of origin.
I chose this (dream) sample itinerary and the entire process took me approximately ten minutes to complete: Los Angeles to Honolulu, Honolulu to Auckland, Auckland to Sydney, Sydney to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to New Delhi, New Delhi to Amman, Amman to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Rome, Rome to Madrid, Madrid to New York and then back to Los Angeles.

A four continent trip like this one in economy class is priced from $4, 400 plus taxes (this actual itinerary, traveling in April and May 2009 totaled $4,922 including taxes), a three continent itinerary is priced from $3,900 plus taxes, five will cost you $5,100 plus taxes and the big daddy of them all -- the six continent adventure will set you back around $6,000 plus taxes -- a bargain considering that it the ticket is valid for a year and you can fly in and out of 16 cities around the world.
All up I found the research and booking process using the Onworld round-the-world- tool rather simple, once I played around with it for a while.

My only hiccup on the above itinerary is that I needed to forgo one of my desired destinations (Tahiti) as it was not covered on the route I was taking, and a few cities I chose within Europe required flying through London and I could only fly through London once so I had to remove them. Otherwise, the world was at my fingertips and within a reasonable budget. It seems that the "Oneworld" alliance is living up to its name, creating one website that gives you world access.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 31, 2009 and is filed under , , , , , , . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .


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