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A round-the-world ticket (also known as round-the-world fare or RTW ticket in short) is a product that enables travellers to fly around the world for a relatively low price. RTW tickets have existed for some time and in the past were generally offered through marketing agreements between airlines on several continents. Now, they are almost universally offered by airline alliances such as SkyTeam, Star Alliance and Oneworld,or else by specialist travel agencies that will spend time helping customize a trip to the consumer's needs. Prices vary but are generally in the range of 2,500–6,000 USD for an economy class ticket and 5,000–14,000 USD for business class. Sometimes, depending on airline and stops, it can be as low as 1171 GBP (~ 1829.57 USD). An alternative for a round-the-world ticket is a continent pass.
Round-the-world tickets are priced according to travel class, origin of travel, number of continents, mileage (usually between 30,000 and 60,000 km), and sometimes season of travel. The traveller benefits from the large and optimized network of the airline alliance and can often participate in the alliance's frequent flyer programs, although round-the-world tickets are usually subject to restrictions. The start and end of the journey almost always have to be located in the same country and exactly one crossing each of the Atlantic and Pacific must be included in the itinerary. The number of stops is usually restricted to 5–16, and backtracking between continents (especially Europe/Asia) is often restricted. The dates and journey do not have to be planned, but may be changed en route at a local office of any airline in the alliance (although a change of destinations often results in an additional fee, and if the next flight is left open-dated the booking can be dropped by the airlines).
It is possible to piece together a round-the-world route by combining one-way tickets on various airlines without resorting to alliances. In addition, discounts often apply to some long- and short-haul legs. It can be useful to consult with travel agents who specialize in round-the-world itineraries to compare fares and itineraries. These can be found in major cities that are transit hubs — San Francisco, London, New York, Bangkok, etc. — and many of them also provide services online. The overall booking process can vary from a few days to weeks based upon itinerary, budget, and other considerations. Travel agents may get parts of tickets issued by contacts in other countries, and often use pre-arranged contractual agreements with various airlines. Low-cost carriers often only have tickets which do not include other airlines. It is important to have long waiting time between such flights, preferably a hotel night, which gives the chance to see one more city. Otherwise a flight cancellation might destroy the entire itinerary.
An airline alliance is an aviation industry arrangement between two or more airlines agreeing to cooperate on a substantial level. Alliances may provide marketing branding to facilitate travelers making inter-airline codeshare connections within countries. This branding may involve unified aircraft liveries of member aircraft.
Oneworld is an airline alliance founded on 1 February 1999. The alliance's stated objective is to be the first choice airline alliance for the world's frequent international travellers. Its central alliance office is in New York City and includes 14 member airlines: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines as well as Fiji Airways as a Oneworld Connect partner.
Checked baggage is luggage delivered to an airline or train for transportation in the hold of an aircraft or baggage car of a passenger train. Checked baggage is inaccessible to the passenger during the flight or ride, as opposed to carry-on baggage.
A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that is operated with an especially high emphasis on minimizing operating costs and without some of the traditional services and amenities provided in the fare, resulting in lower fares and fewer comforts. To make up for revenue lost in decreased ticket prices, the airline may charge extra fees – such as for carry-on baggage. As of April 2020, the world's largest low-cost carrier is Southwest Airlines, which operates primarily in the United States, as well as in some surrounding areas.
AAdvantage is the frequent-flyer program of American Airlines. Launched May 1, 1981, it was the second such loyalty program in the world, and remains the largest with more than 67 million members as of October 2011.
A passenger name record (PNR) is a record in the database of a computer reservation system (CRS) that contains the itinerary for a passenger or a group of passengers travelling together. The concept of a PNR was first introduced by airlines that needed to exchange reservation information in case passengers required flights of multiple airlines to reach their destination (“interlining”). For this purpose, IATA and ATA have defined standards for interline messaging of PNR and other data through the "ATA/IATA Reservations Interline Message Procedures - Passenger" (AIRIMP). There is no general industry standard for the layout and content of a PNR. In practice, each CRS or hosting system has its own proprietary standards, although common industry needs, including the need to map PNR data easily to AIRIMP messages, has resulted in many general similarities in data content and format between all of the major systems.
An electronic ticket is a method of ticket entry, processing, and marketing for companies in the airline, railways and other transport and entertainment industries.
Economy class, also called third class, coach class, steerage, or to distinguish it from the slightly more expensive premium economy class, standard economy class or budget economy class, is the lowest travel class of seating in air travel, rail travel, and sometimes ferry or maritime travel. Historically, this travel class has been called tourist class or third class on ocean liners.
An open-jaw ticket is an airline return ticket where the destination and/or the origin are not the same in both directions.
A continent pass is a product and service of an airline alliance. For a relatively low price the traveler can travel freely using all intra-continental flights the airline alliance offers on that continent. There are restrictions on the number of miles, flights or stops the traveler can make. Travelers can benefit from the extensive networks airline alliances offer and can earn reward points for each mile they fly by participating in the alliance's frequent flyer program.
Miles & More is an airline loyalty program run by Deutsche Lufthansa, the flag carrier of Germany. Because Lufthansa is a member of Star Alliance, miles can be earned through all alliance members like United Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, and Singapore Airlines, as well as Lufthansa subsidiaries, including Eurowings and Swiss International Air Lines.
Airline booking ploys are used by travelers in commercial aviation to lower the price of flying by circumventing airlines' rules about how tickets may be used. They are generally a breach of the contract of carriage between the passenger and the airline, which airlines may try to enforce in various ways.
On most modern airlines, flying standby is when a passenger without a seat assignment waits at the gate to see if there is an extra seat after all scheduled passengers have boarded. There are several common circumstances in which passengers fly standby:
Interlining, also known as interline ticketing and interline booking, is a voluntary commercial agreement between individual airlines to handle passengers traveling on itineraries that require multiple flights on multiple airlines. Such agreements allow passengers to change from one flight on one airline to another flight on another airline without having to gather their bags or check-in again. Airlines can also promise free rebooking if the connection is lost due to a delay.
An airline ticket is a document or electronic record, issued by an airline or a travel agency, that confirms that an individual is entitled to a seat on a flight on an aircraft. The airline ticket may be one of two types: a paper ticket, which comprises coupons or vouchers; and an electronic ticket.
Airline reservation systems (ARS) are systems that allow an airline to sell their inventory (seats). It contains information on schedules and fares and contains a database of reservations and of tickets issued. ARSs are part of passenger service systems (PSS), which are applications supporting the direct contact with the passenger.
A fare basis code is an alphabetic or alpha-numeric code used by airlines to identify a fare type and allow airline staff and travel agents to find the rules applicable to that fare. Although airlines now set their own fare basis codes, there are some patterns that have evolved over the years and may still be in use.
In the United States and Canada, a bereavement flight is a flight purchased when a close relative has died or is dying. Bereavement fares used to be offered by many airlines, but as of 2015, most have stopped providing them.
An agency debit memo (ADM) is a notice sent, normally by an airline to a travel agent, requiring the recipient to pay a sum of money to the sender. A frequent reason for issue of an ADM is where an air travel ticket has been issued and its rules have not been fully complied with, such as where the fare rules require tickets to be issued within three days of creating the PNR or reservation, and the ticket was issued on the fifth day.
An airfare is the fee paid by a passenger for air transport and is made up of the charge for a passenger to fly from an origin to destination and includes the conditions, rules and restrictions for travelling on the airfare.