If you are planning flights around the world, this article will give you an essential understanding of the RTW flight alliances and the routes they cover, so you can get the cheapest round the world tickets for the trip you want.
The main RTW tickets are...
Airlines include: British Airways, Qantas, Air Pacific
The World Walkabout round the world ticket replaced the World Discovery and World Discovery Plus tickets and is now the best RTW fare for trips to Oz/NZ with one or two stops en-route in Asia or America, or internal flights in Australia.
You can have up to 7 stops around the world (including your stop in Australia or New Zealand). The World Walkabout fare is one of the cheapest RTW tickets available.
This is a very popular RTW ticket because it offers very good value for money.
Airlines include: BA, Qantas, Air Pacific, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines, Iberia, Gulf Air, Lan Chile + more.
Global Explorer round the world flights are good for RTW trips that include South America and those that link Africa and Asia. BA.com.
Airlines include: BA, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines, Lan Chile, Finnair + more.
Good for round the world flights with lots of stops and those that do not take the 'conventional RTW route' as the One World ticket is not based on mileage - but zones.
Airlines include: Singapore Airlines, South African, Air New Zealand...
Good for round the world tickets with lots of stops in Asia or the Pacific or those linking Africa and Asia.
If you are more interested in stopping on Pacific Islands en-route to Oz/NZ then it's worth seeing if you can fit your route on Air New Zealand's own RTW fare first (see below).
Airlines include: Air New Zealand
Good for leg room! Air New Zealand is the only single airline to fly around the world by its own and travels from the UK to Hong Kong, then onwards from either Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo or Osaka to New Zealand (or Australia) and then back via the Pacific and USA gateways, then flying back from LA to the UK (or vice versa) - and it has the largest economy seat pitch.
Airlines include: Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, United, Thai, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Varig, All Nippon, Mexicana, Austrian Airlines, Scandinavian + more.
Good for most round the world routes and for those tickets not going through Australia. Can fit almost any around the world route in this ticket. The price is based on how far you travel (mileage) not how many stops.
Airlines include: KLM, Emirates, Air New Zealand, South Africa Airways, NorthWest, Air UK, Kenyan Airlines + more.
This RTW fare has now expired but was good for round the world trips that link Africa and the Indian Sub Continent.
.. or just build your own round the world trip online!
You can build your own custom multi-stop tickets online these days. Any combination of airlines - you choose!
An example round the world ticket could be London - Bangkok overland tour to Singapore - Cairns overland to Sydney - LA - London. Very easy, quick and cheap!
But what is the best round the world flight ticket?
Neither one of the above round the world tickets are 'better' than the others as they offer completely different routing opportunities.
First, take a look at a travel guide to help you decide which countries you want to visit. Then your RTW trip will fall naturally into one of the above alliances.
So, start planning your round the world route now.
Where can I get cheap round the world flights?
Most backpackers on a gap year will stop in either Australia or New Zealand (or both) and typically at least 1 stop or surface sector en-route in Asia or North America. Africa and South America are also becoming popular stops on RTW tickets but they will put the price up.
You can check prices and availability and book your tickets online with BA.
However, one of the best way to get cheaper round the world air tickets is to change your departure date, as flight prices change considerably depending when you start your trip.