As a qualified, professional travel consultant, I’ve helped lots of travellers find the best value round the world flights. Time and time again, there is one airfare ticket that consistently provides the best fares.
It’s a Qantas Round The World fare and it works in conjunction with BA, American Airlines, LATAM in South America and Emirates.
Knowing that is a good start but arming yourself with a little more knowledge can help you get the lowest airfares for circumnavigation. This ticket is a market leader and the only comparable competition for it is the Great Escapade ticket, which we also have a guide for.
Read more: Follow our current Scotland to Australia overland trip now!
Round The World Flight Seasons
Seasonality plays a big part on how these tickets are priced and would be the first port of call if you are looking to economise.
The season you choose to leave on, dictates the initial base level of your airfare. Whilst your departure date controls the base fare of the ticket, the date that subsequent flights are on only have a limited effect.
Please note: Also, the base fare does not include taxes, surcharges and fees.
Base fare pricing by departure date on Qantas RTW tickets 2017/18
After this, the secondary considerations are routing and number of stops. Then finally, it’s down to being able to get into the lowest booking class available for the ticket type.
The best value seats on each plane are limited, regardless of if they are standard tickets or RTW fares, so bear in mind that busy planes are tricky to get on for low costs. There are around 8 booking classes in each economy cabin from advance saver O, S & M class fares to the highest, last-minute Y class fares intended for last-minute business travellers.
Round The World Routings
In terms of routing, the best value RTW on this ticket is London to New York on BA – overland yourself to L.A. – Fly L.A. to Sydney on Qantas – Sydney to Bangkok on Qantas – Bangkok to London on Emirates (or vice versa).
This route minimises stops to reduce airport taxes and surcharges. With this ticket you can take in an extensive itinerary, featuring North America, Australia and Asia on a budget.
You could add a couple more flights in N. America and Asia for just a little more in taxes (see rules on routing pic below). Adding on New Zealand or South America will increase the costs due to added taxes and needing to upgrade the ticket level but that is worth considering too.
Top Tip: When speaking to your Travel Agent, give them as much flexibility as you can. If you want to be in Australia for Christmas, tell the agent this is your goal but allow them to choose alternate dates, to get you in on the lowest booking class and best fare. I arrived into Australia in early December on my trip and avoided the Christmas rush, saving hundreds of pounds in the lowest booking class for round the world tickets which quickly sell out from mid-December on.
Additional rules and routing graphic
Based on this basic trip and including all fees, this round the world ticket is available for £1550 ($2000 USD).
That would be made up for around £803 base fare, taxes of £664 and a fee of somewhere around £100 for the travel agent to manage the booking.
The base fare goes to the airline, the taxes go to the airports, on fuel and to the governments of the countries you are visiting. The Travel Agent gets a small fee for managing the booking, watching for time changes, changing your flights when you decide you want to stay somewhere longer (there may be additional fees) and giving you general customer service.
This is considerably cheaper than comparable self-service RTW flights done through a search engine like Skyscanner.
Please note: The above example is a streamlined, cost-effective round the world ticket. The average economy itinerary costs between £1800-2400 GBP ($2300-3200 USD).
From time-to-time auto-pricing, very basic round the world fares can be even less. Here is an example of one I built for less than £1000!
We would also ask those planning to fly around the world, to try to be considerate to the environment too. You could do this by requesting to fly on more efficient aircraft or by picking the minimum number of flights possible. For more information, please see our guide of how to minimise your flight environmental impact here.
See this comparison I put together using a flight search engine. Not as high quality for airlines as the Qantas RTW and it costs much more.
Flexibility, Changes and Cancellation
Of course, when you go travelling for an extended period of time, plans can change. It is important to know what kind of fees you can expect if you need to make changes.
If you needed to change a flight or many flights, then you will face a fee for every change transaction. What I mean by that is, you can change as many flights as you need to at once and only be charged once.
For date changes the kind of admin fee you should expect to see is between £100-£150.
When you need to make a change, then it is important that you give your Travel Agent as much notice as possible. If it’s a last-minute change or a change to a peak time flight, then you may not be able to do it without additional fees – sometimes several hundred pounds.
If you decide to cancel your trip outright, before you fly, then a cancellation fee of between £100-200 would be expected. Then you would get the remaining balance of your ticket refunded.
If you are late and no-show for any of your flights whilst travelling, then expect a long wait and a £150-300 fee for your troubles.
Please Note: These fees are reasonable estimates based on my industry knowledge. I would suggest if your fees were any higher than the above, that you may be being overcharged.
It is important to note that this ticket is on a different contract from the ones you can see as a member of the public, over on the Qantas Round The World website. You will see more expensive One World fares on the Qantas site, which don’t allow the use of Emirates. This fare is only available to book from outside of Australia, with the UK being the best priced place to buy from.
This is due to the Australian Tourism board wanted to encourage young Brits to visit Australia. As commonwealth members and due to reciprocal visa deals, the UK gets a preference. Many Europeans choose to depart from the UK on RTW tickets due to this.
There is also a particular focus on encouraging young working holiday visa visitors. Australia has a workforce gap in agricultural labour and plugs that with working holiday visa holders, by only allowing them a second year in Australia if they work on the farms.
Read more: See the other guides we made to help you pick the right airline, including indepth information on Qatar Airways, a comprehensive guide to Etihad Airways and European leading airline Lufthansa.
This is the round the world ticket I used back in 2010 for my trip. That says more than words can. I spent just £1600 on going from the UK to South America to New Zealand to Australia to Thailand and then back home in a year.
This ticket is a great way to visit any continent on a round the world itinerary. It has lots of different routing options, reasonable flexibility to make changes as your plans adapt and high quality airlines. change
This is my go-to ticket when talking with people about going around the world. You may be able to find a slightly lower fare with more restrictive routes, like the flight I posted about which went round the world for less that £1000 but as an all-rounder, this ticket can’t be beaten.