You might have read my previous post regarding my favourite round the world airfare, the Qantas RTW ticket. I think it’s the best ticket for circumnavigation but in the interest of balance, here is a review of its stiffest completion, The Great Escapade ticket by Air New Zealand, Virgin Atlantic and Singapore Airline (Note: I have worked as a professional travel consultant for over three years, so know the ins and outs of these tickets).
Now, as you can probably tell from the airlines, this ticket is definitely going via New Zealand. If that isn’t of interest to you, then this probably isn’t the right ticket for you. What we will do here is draw a direct comparison to the Qantas fare that we examined previously but add on the additional charge to that ticket to allow an Auckland stop. That takes us to around £1630 in total for the Qantas RTW.
Where the Great Escapade ticket is at its most competitive, is in the late spring season, 16th April to 20th June and in November. During this time, we have a base fare of £950.
Seasons by base fare on 29k miles entry level Great Escapade:
01Jan-15Feb, 28Mar-15Apr, 13Jul-10Aug & 24Dec-31Dec = £1379
16Apr-20Jun & 01Nov-30Nov = £950
16Feb-27Mar, 21Jun-12Jul, 11Aug-31Oct & 01Dec-09Dec += £1235
10Dec-23Dec = £1615
Taking the London to New York on Virgin – overland yourself to L.A. – L.A. to Auckland on Air New Zealand – Auckland to Sydney on Air NZ – Sydney to Singapore on Singapore Air – Singapore to London on Singapore Air – then this comes in with a base fare of £950, taxes estimated of £661 and around £100 Travel Agent administration = that gives us a total of just £1711.
At first glance, it seems a little more than the Qantas RTW offer but there is a saving of around £150 in taxes that can be made if the ticket is plated in the UK to Virgin Atlantic. This ticket has a minimum surcharge applied if Air New Zealand is the ticketing agent. That now takes us to a total of £1561 and now improves on the Qantas ticket going via a similar route.
The key learning here, is that if you plan to go via New Zealand, then checking out this ticket is a must. As this is a miles based ticket, the number of stops are not limited either, which can be good. Additionally, you’ll pay around £100 more to get an extra 2000 miles added to this ticket. And another £110 to go up to 33k miles.
A note on my pricing. There are websites which advertise lower ‘from’ prices than I am quoting here. By all means speak to them about that but I am trying to provide realistic prices based on the current climate. For example, the pound is not very strong right now, so any taxes accrued abroad are higher than they used to be when converted from local currency into the pound.
If you’d like to read an overview of all Round The World ticket types and providers, I wrote a guide for Round The World Magazine on the topic.