January 17, 2012

Oneworld RTW Ticket Review

We shopped prices for RTW plane tickets from eight different companies and rated each company based on five criteria – price, search options/ease of search, customer service, date flexibility, and route flexibility.

Below are the three routes and dates that we shopped:

Oneworld Alliance is a collection of 12 airlines from around the world and offers RTW tickets that are bookable online or from any of its member airlines.


We tried searching three different routes with oneworld. Because of the rules associated with a oneworld RTW plane ticket, we were only able to obtain pricing for the simplest route. The price of oneworld’s RTW plane tickets were not competitive with other companies for that route. On average, their price was 53.73% higher than the cheapest option. The only way to offset the high cost of using oneworld Alliance for a RTW fare is by using miles from an airline in their alliance.

Search Options/Ease of Search

Oneworld Alliance’s online booking tool is easy to figure out and navigate and the interface is user friendly. Searching a simple RTW flight itinerary (less than 10 legs) is easy. It is possible to get an immediate quote online, which is really nice and convenient for someone just looking to shop prices. It’s certainly simpler than having to call one of the airlines and navigate all the automated systems before getting to a person to help you like some other companies. Searching online is the easiest way to get an immediate price from oneworld if your route is not really long or complicated. The only other way of obtaining a price is by calling one of their member airlines, which is much more time consuming.


If you are looking to book a more complicated route, the rules and regulations make it difficult to do so. Oneworld is a collection of different airlines, so as a customer, if you have any questions or need any help shopping prices or booking a ticket, it is necessary to contact one of the member airlines. It would have been nice to just pick up the phone and call someone, but there is no phone number for oneworld, only the airlines affiliated with oneworld. We even sent a message via their online enquiry form, and we never received a response.

Date Flexibility

Oneworld rates high for changing dates, which are generally free (it may be more difficult if you wait until the very last minute). When initially booking a oneworld RTW ticket, you have to set your first international flight, but after that, you can leave the dates open.

Route Flexibility

While oneworld does have access to over 750 destinations in nearly 150 countries, their terms, rules, and regulations make it difficult if you are looking to book a longer, more complicated RTW trip. We had three separate routes we tried pricing – from an ultra simple, 4 leg hub city RTW trip to a long 18-segment trip. When trying to go through oneworld, we were only able to price the first trip as the other trips didn’t fit into their rules. Customers have a 16 segment limit, meaning you can only have 16 legs to your trip. However, each flight or overland (bus, train, etc.) journey counts against that limit, even if you have to connect. For example, if flying from Chicago to Amsterdam you have to connect in London, that will count as two segments even if you only have a few hour layover in Amsterdam. When trying to shop a trip involving 13 legs (9 flights and 4 overland), it quickly swelled to 20 segments because of the connections, making it impossible to get a price because it didn’t adhere to the rules. As mentioned in the service section, we sent an enquiry asking if there was any way around this, and our email was ignored.

It was difficult to use their online trip planner to obtain a price for a longer RTW trip, and oneworld was deficient in some areas of the world. For example, getting to South America from Australia proved a problem (which we saw from many carriers). When trying to add either Easter Island or Santiago into the itinerary, they had us flying through the US, which was not permitted since it was the country of origin.

If you really want to use oneworld for your RTW trip, we would advise going through a travel agent as they can maneuver around many of the rules (unless your RTW trip is a short, simple one). Doing it yourself can prove difficult and frustrating, and the support offered is less than satisfactory.

If you have used oneworld Alliance for your round the world trip, we want to hear from you. Comment below to share your experience, and click on the stars below the comment box to rate.

Overall 2.4 star rating
Price 2 star rating
Customer Service 1 star rating
Date Flexibility 5 star rating
Route Flexibility 2 star rating
Search Options 2 star rating

2.4/5 -
based on 15 reviews

15 Responses to Oneworld RTW Ticket Review

  1. says:

    I travelled on a OneWorld Explorer RTW ticket 2011-2012.

    My route was London-Delhi-Bangkok-(Hong Kong-)Beijing-(overland-)Shanghai-(Hong Kong-)Melbourne-(Sydney)-Queenstown-(overland-)Auckland-(Santiago-)Easter Island-(Santiago-)Lima-Buenos Aires-London.

    I researched it using the online tool and booked it through Round the World Experts since they were helpful and seemed to know what they were talking about. STA and the other companies I called were less helpful, some didn’t even get back to me. The headline price was GBP2300. With taxes that became GBP2900 and RTW Experts added a couple of hundred booking fee. I had to date all the flights at the time of booking but all the date changes I made (about 8 I think) were free.

    3 times (India, Thailand, China) I had to provide proof of an onward flight and the itinerary from RTW Experts was accepted without question by the airline checkin staff and immigration officers. As someone else has commented, just printing something “official” looking yourself would probably suffice.

    The flights were actually booked with BA. I got full airmiles with BA, reduced airmiles for the partner airline flights. I still got enough for a one way ticket from the UK to South America in the future. Possibly I’d have done better in this respect if RTW Experts had booked the flights with Qantas or Cathay. I was a RTW newbie and didn’t investigate this aspect. I flew 36447 miles on the ticket and was very pleased with it.

    I priced a few of the legs through skyscanner and reached a higher total figure than for the Oneworld ticket. Given the huge variability in flight costs depending on when you book them a DIY while travelling approach could have worked out cheaper, it could have worked out more expensive. For me the Oneworld Explorer ticket was the perfect balance between price and convenience.

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