Offering wide choice for Round the World travel on a global network is something only airline alliances can do. As the world’s longest serving airline alliance, Star Alliance has been offering Round the World fares for more than a decade. Building on this experience, the Alliance has now added themed itineraries to its Round the World product portfolio. In addition to being able to create a journey from scratch, interested travellers can now choose from a range of Round the World themed journeys. These include: World Food, World Wonders, Architecture Hotspots, Nature Trail, Aquatic Wonders, Ramsar Wetlands, Natural Wonders, Great Hotels, Sports Hotspots, Wine Tasting, Romantic Journey and Luxury Lifestyle. Full details can be found at http://www.staralliance.com/en/web/staralliance/inspiration).
To facilitate booking these new inspirational journeys, the Alliance’s online Round the World booking tool “Book & Fly” has been updated to allow potential travellers to choose the closest airport to their home as the starting point for their selected themed itinerary. Further customisation by adding, removing or exchanging destinations is also possible.
The “Star Alliance Book & Fly” tool can be found on the Alliance’s website at www.staralliance.com/en/book-fly and is available in English, German and Japanese. It allows customers to plan their Round the World journey from the comfort of their own home, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Those wishing to share their globe-trotting plans can do so via the integrated social media functionality. Once all flights have been booked, electronic tickets can be issued directly via the online tool. Alternatively customers can contact any of the Star Alliance member airlines or a travel agent for booking and purchasing a Round the World ticket.
Round the World fares generally offer better value for money than individual one-way tickets on separate airlines for the same journey. The actual price varies by market as well as by distance travelled and class flown.
In terms of distance, customers can create an individual itinerary covering up to 26,000, 29,000, 34,000 or 39,000 miles. To put these levels in perspective, the circumference of the Earth measured at the Equator is approximately 24,901 miles.
Customers can build their own routings within the maximum mileage of the selected fare level. Travel needs to begin and end in the same country and be in one direction, either going East or West, although some zigzagging is permitted within a single continent. Both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean must be crossed once.
Layovers of at least 24 hours must be made in a minimum of three cities and the overall itinerary may include up to 15 stops. Some Economy Class fares have a maximum of five stops.
The Star Alliance Round the World fares are available for travel in First, Business, Premium Economy or Economy Class and depending on the fare, customers can choose to travel for either up to six or twelve months.
Children between the age of two and 11 pay 75 per cent of the applicable adult fare, while infants under two who do not occupy a seat can be taken along for 10 per cent of the applicable adult fare.
Customers travelling on Star Alliance RTW fares may in principle accrue miles in any of the Frequent Flyer Programmes (FFP) offered by the member airlines. The collected miles can count towards earning Star Alliance Gold or Silver status and can be redeemed for example for free flights, upgrades, hotel stays, etc.
The Star Alliance Round the World fare has developed into the most popular of the seven Star Alliance fare products (http://www.staralliance.com/en/travel-centre) on offer. More than half of Round the World travellers fly in Business Class, more than a third opt for Economy Class and around eight percent for First Class.