Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

Round-the-world air fares are back. And they could be much cheaper than a return air fare to just one of the destinations that you could visit on a round-the-world trip. Maybe it’s time to start planning that bucket-list journey to multiple long-haul destinations?

It’s an easy idea and one that used to be a right of passage for many school leavers in the 1980s and 90s. The idea is that you buy a ticket with a set number of stops and you take in the world on your preferred itinerary.

Usually, you have to finish traveling in the same country in which you began and you have to stick to just one direction (east to west or west to east). If you’re smart, you’ll find a ticket that travels east to west because the jet lag is easier to cope with.

As The Telegraph noted, round-the-world tickets (RTWs, as they are known in the industry) went out of fashion, but seem to be making a comeback due to “a surge in interest at the end of the pandemic”.

Some companies are launching new deals—the U.K.-based Trailfinders is one example, which says demand is coming from the younger and older sections of society. And with a starting price of £999 ($1143), that’s cheaper than the same company’s ticket from London to Sydney. (This ticket involves sections of the trip that you would have to make overland and which you pay for additionally).

Another company, Flight Centre, as reported in The Telegraph, offer a London–Frankfurt–Singapore–Sydney–San Francisco–LA–London ticket for £1,500 ($1,717).

Several other travel companies sell them or you might want to choose a ticket from a group of carriers such as One World or Star Alliance:

  • One World includes Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines
  • Star Alliance includes Air Canada, Air India, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, KLM, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines.

For Star Alliance, for instance, each flight earns air miles, as usual flights do.

It’s an enthralling prospect, advertised enticingly by Star Alliance as “24,902 miles circumference. 7 billion people. Over 6,000 languages. One ticket.”

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