September 1, 2014

Oneworld RTW Ticket Review

In the latest version of the Around the World Airfare Report, we shopped prices for RTW plane tickets from nine different companies and rated each company based on three criteria:

  • Price: How much does it cost?
  • Service speed: How long does it take to get a bookable price?
  • Frustration factor: How frustrating is the process of building and pricing a multi-stop route?


Here is how the cost of searching these routes on Oneworld Alliance compared to other companies for each of the three routes we searched:

  • Route 1: Highest price out of 9 options
  • Route 2: Unable to price this route
  • Route 3: Unable to price this route

Service speed

Here is how the speed of searches compared to other companies we searched.

  • Route 1: 3rd fastest out of 9
  • Route 2: Unable to price this route
  • Route 3: Unable to price this route

Frustration Factor

As long as your route fits within their rules and regulations, you can get a price online, but we were unable to price 2 of the 3 routes we searched. There are a lot of rules and regulations when it comes to any airline alliance round the world ticket, so we recommend only using the alliances if you have a simpler route, or you are looking to cash in or build miles with a particular airline alliance.

Like other alliances, Oneworld Alliance is easier and cheaper when it comes to changing dates. Date changes are free, and if you book a Oneworld RTW ticket, you have to book your first international flight, date and all, but after that it’s possible to leave the dates open. Be aware; however, that date changes are subject to availability on the flight a customer wants to change to, so by waiting too long, it’s possible to be shut out.

If you have used Oneworld Alliance for your round the world trip, we want to hear from you. Leave a review below in the comments.

Oneworld RTW Ticket Review
  • Overall
  • Price
  • Customer Service
  • Date Flexibility
  • Route Flexibility
  • Search Options

15 Responses to Oneworld RTW Ticket Review

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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 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

    • 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!


  4. says:

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

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

  9. 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.


  10. 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.

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