We shopped prices for RTW plane tickets from eight different companies and rated each company based on five criteria – price, search options, customer service, date flexibility, and route flexibility.
Below are the three routes and dates that we shopped:
- Shopping for RTW Plane Tickets – Route 1 Dates and Itineraries
- Shopping for RTW Plane Tickets – Route 2 Dates and Itineraries
- Shopping for RTW Plane Tickets – Route 3 Dates and Itineraries
SkyTeam is a collection of 15 airlines from around the world and offers RTW tickets bookable from any of their member airlines.
In order to properly rate companies selling RTW airfare, we shopped three different routes. Because of the rules connected with a SkyTeam Alliance round the world ticket, we were only able to obtain pricing for the simplest route. The price of SkyTeam’s RTW plane tickets were not competitive with other companies for that route. The price for a RTW ticket from SkyTeam was 54.15% higher than the cheapest option. If a traveler wants to offset the high cost of these RTW fares, the best way to do so is to have miles from an airline in SkyTeam’s alliance.
The online trip planner that SkyTeam offers is simple and easy to use, at first. SkyTeam gives an option of having their program automatically choose the best route to fit into their terms and conditions, which was extremely nice considering the convoluted rules. That feature wasn’t necessary for a shorter route, but it could be nice for more complicated itineraries. The problems arise after entering the itinerary, choosing dates, and picking flights. Instead of providing a price, SkyTeam requires customers to call one of their member airlines. We were on the phone for 35 minutes (on average) trying to get a price after spending time entering everything in the online tool. The program provided an itinerary number at the end of the online process, but it was necessary to email that number (while on the phone with the agent) in order to get the process started. Then we had to sit on hold and wait while the customer service rep rounded up a price, which made the process time consuming. It would be much nicer to have them take your email address/phone number down and get back to you instead of making you sit on hold for so long.
As with the other alliances we searched, there were issues trying to obtain pricing for larger, more complicated itineraries. Error messages would pop up when the rules were not met, but unlike the error messages that came up with other alliances, these were actually helpful in telling the customer what terms they were violating. If you don’t want to use the online trip planner, the only other way to obtain pricing is to call one of SkyTeam’s member airlines, which may not be a bad idea considering you have to call anyway after entering a trip in their trip planner.
If you have questions as a customer, there is no way to email a rep with SkyTeam, so contacting one of the airlines in their alliance is the only way to ask questions and get clarification. We called Delta, and the rep was nice and helpful, but she informed us that we would simply have to adjust our itinerary to fit within the rules of the ticket. Again, like the other alliances we shopped, they sounded ambivalent about getting our business considering we were searching airfares that cost upwards of $6000US. While the reps were friendly, they didn’t put forth any type of effort to try to get our route to fit within the rules of the ticket.
Like the other alliances, SkyTeam Alliance rates high for changing dates, which are generally free. The only time you may have problems is if you wait until the very last minute. If you book a RTW ticket with SkyTeam, booking the first international flight is necessary, but after that it’s possible to leave the dates open.
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 find prices from SkyTeam, we were only able to obtain prices for the first trip as the other two itineraries didn’t fit into their rules. As with other alliances, the terms, rules, and regulations make this type of ticket inflexible if you hope to book a longer, more complicated RTW trip. When searching SkyTeam for a price on one of those more complicated routes, we were able to get within the 16 segment limit that had given us problems with Star and oneworld. However, this time we were way above on the mileage, nearly 10,000 miles more than the max of 39,000.
The main reason for the high mileage was trying to get from Australia to South America. SkyTeam has no partners that fly between the two continents, and after talking to a customer service rep at Delta (a member of Sky Alliance), we found out that the same applies for Asia. In order to get from Asia, Australia, or New Zealand to South America, it’s necessary to fly through the United States, which obviously sends that mileage soaring.
If you really want to use SkyTeam Alliance (or any alliance for that matter) for your RTW airfare, we would advise going through a travel agent as they can maneuver around many of the rules. If your RTW trip is a short, simple one, then doing it yourself is quite easy, though much more expensive than the cheapest option.
If you have used SkyTeam 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.
based on 1 reviews