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We thought we’d let you know how we went about booking our around the world (RTW) flights incase you are thinking of doing the same.
The flights we finally decided on (after lots of changing of minds!) were:
Manchester – New York (via London), New York – San Francisco, Overland to Los Angeles, Los Angeles – Melbourne, Overland to Brisbane, Brisbane – Auckland, Overland to Christchurch, Christchurch – Singapore, Singapore – Phuket (return), Singapore – Manchester.
With some research, we found this itinerary fit roughly into two of the more popular RTW fares – The Great Escapade and the Emirates/Qantas Alliance. I’d already priced the flights individually at approx £5800 (don’t fall off your chairs!) through Skyscanner, so expected the RTW agents to be much cheaper. Not many were.
I can hear you asking if I priced the flights cheaper than the travel agents, why didn’t I book myself? There were various reasons, which I’ll explain…
Firstly, in previous years, having booked both many individual flights and also a RTW ticket, we felt the RTW flights suited us better on this occasion, so this was the way we wanted to go. I’d simply priced the flights individually to get a rough idea of a price to beat.
Secondly, if you book a RTW fare, it means it’s on one ticket – if you ever miss a connection due to the first flight being delayed, you’re covered to an extent. If it was just the two of us I would have considered booking the flights myself, but didn’t want to be struggling with a tired three-year-old if I’d messed up with a flight.
The third reason was that the flights I’d priced were a total mismatch of different airlines, some not so good, so a RTW fare would give us better airlines for roughly the same price, hopefully less.
Now, I appreciate it can also be dependent on the individual you speak to, but I will say that the majority of the RTW flight companies we spoke to prior to booking, tried either the hard-sell, twisted the truth to us to try and get a booking early, or tried to get us to reroute to an itinerary we didn’t want. Don’t let them do it to you. Walk away and use someone else to spend your hard-earned cash with.
As a little aside, please don’t get caught out on this one if you’re planning to book RTW flights and your return dates have yet to be released…
When we originally started looking, our return flight dates hadn’t been released yet – airlines generally only release fares a year(ish) in advance. We were told on many occasions (not by who we eventually booked with!) that we could book dummy dates for our return trip, then change them for ‘FREE’ when the flights were released. Not true. The agents themselves may not charge to change the dates, but some airlines do charge. You can buy fares that allow you changes with the airline for free, as my last RTW ticket was, but ours wasn’t going to be one of them. What we would, in fact, have to do, would be to book these dummy dates, then when the fares were released, we’d have to ring the airlines and be charged anywhere between £50-100 EACH for EACH flight change. Bear in mind this would have involved at least four flight changes towards the end of our trip, we would have been looking at a minimum of £600 extra on top of our original flight prices. As you can imagine, I was pretty disgusted by being repeatedly told this twisted version of the truth for the sake of someone’s commission.
After ringing many agents and airlines direct, we eventually decided on ‘Company A’, as we were able to visit their local office. I’m not going to name them, as I’m not here to bash anyone over the internet. They told us to expect to pay approx £1700 for us and £1400 for little man, so £4800 total. They said we couldn’t book til March (due to return flights not being released), but not to worry as the prices wouldn’t change much. Ha!
We went to the office in March, all excited and ready to book. We sat there for over two hours and the price eventually came out at £5100, and that didn’t even include all the flights. We’d have to add a few flights of our own, which would add up to at least £800 extra – so a minimum total of £5800. In addition to the extra flights we’d have to book (they never offered to book them for us), we weren’t happy with the first flight – it was a tin can with horrendous reviews over to New York. We left feeling a bit deflated and went away to think about it.
For the previous few months, we’d never wavered and definitely wanted to book with ‘Company A’. Now I was wavering. Just a little niggle. Everyone was pretty much saying to just book it. Nope. I was like a dog with a bone. I just wasn’t happy. I’d been told certain routes on certain airlines were simply not possible, when I knew full well they were. (I’ll be truthful, they had previously told me a certain route wasn’t available when we were trying to book our honeymoon, so we went elsewhere then too, but I thought I’d finally found someone within the company who sounded knowledgeable.)
I had another mooch on t’internet, then rang Geoff at www.roundtheworldflights.com – Bingo! No messing, no hassle, Geoff booked every flight we wanted, on our preferred airlines, with better arrival/departure times and less indirect flights than ‘Company A’. Where we’d been told we couldn’t do certain routes previously, Geoff did it for us.
Our base RTW ticket was The Great Escapade (an alliance between Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines), and our additional flights (enabling us to do the route we wanted) were with Delta, Air Asia and Emirates, with a couple of last minute additions from us using Southwest and Virgin Australia too. The final price came in at roughly £5500 for the three of us.
WHAT?! I hear you say. But think about it… firstly, we didn’t travel in low season. It would have been a fair bit cheaper if we did. Secondly, we did a bit of a mis-match backwards route which pushed us up into the next price tier. Lastly, if you break it all down, we had twelve flights each, for three people, on good airlines, and we actually got exactly what we wanted. Bargain!
Anyway, we’re back from our adventure now, and didn’t have any problems at all with our airlines or routings, apart from two trashed bags, but that’s another story.
The point of this post is… if you’re not 100% happy with your travel agent, go elsewhere. There’s always another option.
We’re not in any way affiliated with www.roundtheworldflights.com, Geoff just provided us the best price, service and itinerary, hence recommending them. They’ve even got their own blogs for further info, and a handy, exclusive and free ebook is also available for download from their website.
Adventures in Family Land work with affiliate advertising programs to provide a means for our site to earn an income. This article may contain affiliate links to products or websites. We are also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.