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 used a RTW ticket through One World from 2008-2009 and was really happy with them. I made the reservations in English, then flew down to Argentina on FF miles to purchase the ticket and start my trip, as it ended up being cheaper that way because I had one less continent that I was visiting.

    I changed the dates on my tickets about 5 times (of the 16 flights) and for the most part, it was easy and no problem. I also got FF credit for all the flights (except for the Cathay legs) which was good, though the miles did NOT qualify me for elite status.

    Overall 4 star rating Price 5 star rating Customer Service 3 star rating
    Date Flexibility 4 star rating Route Flexibility 4 star rating Search Options 4 star rating
  2. says:

    I used to sell these tickets for a company called Trailfinders in the Uk. They offer fantastic value for money if you’re looking at quite a complex itinerary involving a number of continents. They’re particularly handy when your itinerary includes South America since the only direct route from South America on to Australasia is Santiago to Auckland on a Qantas flight (part of the One World Alliance. There are cheaper round the world tickets if your itinerary is simpler. The Great Escapade is one option. British Airways and Qantas pair up to do simple 3 or 4 stop itineraries that will take in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australasia. Air New Zealand also Los Angeles – Auckland – Hong Kong – London – Los Angeles so again this could be a very cost effective way of visiting a few continents.

    The rules regarding codeshares, continents, stops, mileage are mind-boggling and changing all the time. My advise would be to speak to a travel professional about your proposed route. They will work out the most cost effective ticket for you and will also know what budget airlines can be used to fill the gaps. Doing it online is a nightmare and the systems don’t always give you all the options.

    For the UK I would recommend someone like Trailfinders or STA Travel. In the US STA Travel are also very good. Don’t go direct to an airline as they won’t have good knowledge of the other airlines within the relevant alliance.

    I live in the UK and another tip I have heard is that if you live in N America it can sometimes be worth purchasing a very cheap ticket to the UK and starting your round the world ticket from here as there are more options available to you. However, bear in mind that for each flight within a round the world alliance there are only a certain number of seats allocated to these tickets (otherwise known as a lower booking class) therefore it is adviseable to book the ticket far in advance.


    Overall 4 star rating Price 4 star rating Customer Service 2 star rating
    Date Flexibility 5 star rating Route Flexibility 5 star rating Search Options 2 star rating
  3. says:

    I used One World for my RTW tickets in 2010. Starting the trip in New Zealand saved me a lot of money compared with starting in the US. This is the biggest trick to their tickets, like Mandy said – if you can start somewhere other than the US you can potentially save a lot of money. Use their booking tool to try to find direct flights between 2 places you want to go so you don’t waste a segment with a stopover. Sucks that overland segments still count as a segments. I earned FF miles on Qantas but at discounted rates when flying with other carriers. Overall the entire trip netted enough miles between me and my wife for a single one-way ticket NZ to US (saved us about $700). Qantas let us transfer miles for free, but did NOT let us change the dates for free. They said it was free to change dates, but there would be a $45 service charge per ticket. So…not free. They also wouldn’t let us skip a segment that we had booked without paying a $150 fee per ticket. Other than that was pretty happy with it. Overall I think it saved me money over booking the flights myself, plus we got to fly nicer airlines for the big legs instead of budget (Qantas for the 12 hour Auckland to LA flight is much nicer than Air Pacific, no offence).

    Overall 4 star rating Price 4 star rating Customer Service 3 star rating
    Date Flexibility 4 star rating Route Flexibility 4 star rating Search Options 5 star rating
  4. says:

    I used One World for my 2009/2010 RTW & very happy with both price of the OW ticket + the service from American Airlines that I purchased the ticket from.

    Although I was travelling from Toronto I booked my RTW originating in London, saved over 25% by doing this. Due to OW rules I was allowed to book & pay for my ticked with AA at Toronto’s Pearson airport.

    The first 3 flights were booked for certain dates,the rest open jaw. The 3rd flight I changed the date twice at no cost however as it was a paper ticket I had to go to American’s Bangkok office for the 2nd change, no biggie.

    Only problem I encountered was with Qantas refusing to honour their segment SYD-HNL for over a month & as AA has no walk in office in Australia, I was forced to deal with Qantas’s less than helpful staff in the Melbourne office. However after much complaining + saying the flights I wanted were unavailable, when it turned out they were, the ticket was finally changed to my new itinerary. Cost a bit more but I did get 2 extra segments so was satisfied.

    Can’t fault AA for the problems & decided to forget about it than pursue with OW a problem that was entirely caused by the arrogance of Qantas!

    I did run my itinerary by Air Treks who couldn’t come close in price, point to point tickets were even more expensive.

    My RTW ticket was for mainly long haul over water segments, I used point to point tickets for short hops on budget airlines combined with rail, bus, ferry & ship overland travel for the rest.

    Overall I was satisfied with my 11 month trip & would do the same again as there were places on my must do list covered by the RTW which combined with the flexibility of point to point spur of the moment flights made for an unforgettable experience.

    Overall 4 star rating Price 5 star rating Customer Service 4 star rating
    Date Flexibility 5 star rating Route Flexibility 5 star rating Search Options 5 star rating
  5. says:

    The above description is rife with inaccuracies and misleading statements. Oneworld has two separate RTW products and the above fails to mention this. Oneworld is the only alliance with direct Australia South America flights, contrary to the implications above. Like all alliance-based tickets, prices vary according to the origin/termination point, and in most head-to-head comparisons using local currencies, Oneworld’s prices are typically less than Star Alliance’s or Skyteam’s.

    The review was obviously prepared by someone who knows little of the subject and appears to be aimed at an audience who will use the services promoted and sold by this website’s owners.

    • says:

      First off all, thanks for your feedback. Let me address your concerns and complaints as the author of these posts and the person who did all the research on this project.
      1. I am aware that Oneworld Alliance has two different products, and this was simply meant to be a short review, not a synopsis of what they offer. All that information will come as this is only the beginning of the project.
      2. According to their online trip planner, it was not possible to get to South America from Australia direct. Every time I searched (which was many), they had me flying through the US. I searched three different routes leaving from three different cities, and not once was that possible. I only reported on what I found from the three routes I searched.
      3. As far as pricing, obviously prices are going to vary according to the trip, and all trips are different, but based on the three routes we searched, these are the numbers. Period. We didn’t skew them in anyone’s favor.
      4. Yes, it is true that we sell RTW Tickets on this site using one of the companies we reviewed. If our goal was to promote that particular company, it would probably make sense to rank them #1, no? If you read all the reviews, you will notice that I pointed out both the positives and negatives of shopping with each company in an unbiased manner.

      Thanks again for your input. -Adam

  6. says:

    Frankly I couldn’t be bothered to read your entire post here because the few things I looked at were simply wrong. Base prices are fixed based on number of continents and origin country. The online tool is remarkable easy to use. I never seen an issue booking flights to Easter Island or Santiago. All these problems you encountered point to the problem being on your side of the computer screen.

    It seems you spent more time writing this review than actually investigating the product.

    I suspect your other RTW reviews are just as lacking in correct information and I won’t waste my time looking at them.

    Overall 5 star rating Price 5 star rating Customer Service 5 star rating
    Date Flexibility 5 star rating Route Flexibility 5 star rating Search Options 5 star rating
    • says:

      Thanks for the feedback on the post. I’d also like to address your comments to make everything clear on what we’re trying to do here with these posts.
      1. We searched three specific routes, and these were are findings. I’m not sure what else to say on that. These were the prices quoted to us based on those routes.
      2. Yes, the online tool is easy to use for simple routes. Once you get into more complicated routes (over 12 segments), it can become more problematic to use the online tool as once you go over their mileage limits or any other limits they set forth, a price is not available.
      3. Every time I tried searching for a segment from Australia or New Zealand to Easter Island as part of a RTW ticket using their online tool, it was never possible to go there direct. In fact, each time I searched, they had me flying from Sydney to New York to Santiago to Easter Island. This was problematic on the itineraries leaving from New York because you’re not allowed to re-enter your country of origin. I only reported on what I found based on searching these three routes. If it is possible to fly from Australasia to Easter Island without passing through the US, then I welcome you or a Oneworld representative to show me what I was doing wrong in my search. Perhaps it was the dates I was searching, but I did search multiple dates, and the same problem kept occurring.

      Thanks again for the feedback. -Adam

      • says:

        It’s not possible to fly from Australasia to Easter Island on the Oneworld Explorer ticket (although I believe it is via their other, mileage-based ticket).

        This is because to get from Easter Island to Aus/NZ without doubling back to Santiago you can fly on to Tahiti with LAN (a oneworld airline) but can’t then fly on from Tahiti to Aus/NZ as this route isn’t served by Qantas.

        When I flew RTW with Oneworld, I did that leg as Santiago-Easter Island-Santiago-Auckland – the doubling back was a little annoying but ultimately worth it as it was a bargain way to visit Easter Island.

  7. says:

    Hi and thanks for trying to describe the terminlogy to the learners!

  8. says:

    Would like to add a couple things I found about the OW site & their trip planner, while they cover 99% of the contingencies, they aren’t perfect nor are their member airlines.

    However if used in conjunction with the airline forum http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/global-airline-alliances-391 you can plan your trip cost effectively.

    For example I wanted to fly DFW-ANC, trip planner wouldn’t accept the segment, found out on FT that it was a seasonal route so could only be booked at certain times of the year, ran it through trip planner again with the right dates & it was accepted. My checking on the internet showed a LAN flight AKL-MER-EZE (Aukland-Santiago de Chile-Buenos Aires, I confirmed this on FT.

    When I requested both these be included in my new itinerary, the Qantas rep said they couldn’t be done. After the discussion reaching the point where they were either going to book the flights or have the police remove me from the office, the flights miraculously became available accompanied by the comment “That’s a stupid way to go.”

    Circumstances change over the course of a year so actually the revised itinerary 10 months into my trip worked out for the best, as it allowed me to stop into CA on my from NZ to Alaska all on my RTW ticket.

    During my 2 years planning my RTW I of the many resources used 4 were indispensable;
    One World Alliance
    Flyer Talk Forum (Gardyloo one of many)
    Boots n All Forum (especially for Greenland & packing list)
    The train/ferry travel site http://seat61.com

    • says:

      That’s some great information, David. Thanks so much for that. As I said in my previous comments, we absolutely welcome any tips for making this whole process easier. The whole point of this project is to make travelers aware of all the RTW plane ticket options out there so they can choose the one that’s right for them. Thanks for clarifying the Australasia to South America issue for us. Extremely helpful and it will definitely be mentioned. In no way to we claim to be the expert in this, but we want to be, so any knowledge that people can pass on about this complicated process is great. Thanks again!


  9. says:

    Wow, have RTW tickets risen that much? I purchased a RTW with OneWorld in June 2005 that was very similar to “Complicated RTW Example #3″ and it cost me around $3500 AUD including taxes. At the time, that was only about $3000USD. It was a 12 month ticket, and my actual route was Mackay – Brisbane – Auckland – Santiago – Buenos Aires – Montevideo – overland – Guayaquil – Madrid – London – Prague – London – Chennai – overland – Dehli – Beijing – overland – Hong Kong – Bangkok – Sydney – Mackay. Even allowing 5% inflation for 7 years, that would mean a ticket cost of around $4200 today. So, is the extra due to the price of fuel, or some other factor? Interesting.

  10. says:

    Oneworld is definitely the best ticket for any itinerary including the trans south pacific Aus/NZ – South America segment, as the only direct flights are available are Qantas BA-Sydney and LAN Santiago-Auckland. This was the main reason I did my RTW trip with Oneworld, as that flight alone was pretty expensive, and buying the Oneworld explorer allowed me to do it way cheaper than any of the alternatives.

    One reason you may have had problem finding flights on those legs is that there aren’t that many seats available for the RTW fare, and they book out quite far in advance – so there is a chance that when you searched, the flights were full, and therefore the only alternative was flying via the US.

    Another problem with the fares you quote for Oneworld are that the online tool can be a bit useless for pricing purposes, as while the base fare is fixed, depending on which airline you buy the ticket from, the taxes and fuel surcharges are calculated differently. When I used the tool to plan my route, it gave me a fare quote based on BA’s costs (I believe this was because the first flight was with BA). In the end I booked with AA and the price was significantly cheaper (because the taxes and surcharges were way lower).

    The rules *are* complicated but are well worth reading when planning, as it really helps when building an itinerary. Plus if you need any help, the American AIrlines round the world ticket desk, who you can phone on 800-247-3247 are incredibly helpful and knowledgable. American Airlines also let you make date changes for free.

    By comparison, I found STA Travel and Trailfinders in the UK both a bit clueless when I tried to book my relatively complex route; for that reason I gave up on travel agents, learnt the rules myself, and managed to get the route I wanted (with only a couple of minor compromises) at a really good price from Oneworld.

    I appreciate you’ve gone to a lot of effort to write this (and think some of the comments here are a little harsh) – and I think that what you’ve found shows how hard it can be to get correct and accurate information – but there are probably some tweaks to be made to the info about Oneworld tickets in future versions, as otherwise you could be putting people off what is a really useful (and often well-priced) ticket

    Overall 5 star rating Price 5 star rating Customer Service 5 star rating
    Date Flexibility 5 star rating Route Flexibility 4 star rating Search Options 3 star rating
  11. 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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