Many people, experienced travelers or not, have preconceived notions about what is and what isn’t possible with an around the world plane ticket, and the rules on how one must be used. Usually most of what people know is based on those issued by the airlines directly, often explained by their friends, a tweet or a random blog post or two.
To help clear up the actual truth about RTW tickets, those issued by AirTreks, here are a few of the most common misconceptions we know.
Start and end destinations
Unlike the alliance RTW tickets, an AirTreks ticket can start anywhere, end anywhere and have any combination of flights in between, using any commercial airline of any alliance to get you there. Because our tickets are not constrained to the strict rules of the alliances, they are fully customizable, making the choice of where and when to go completely up to you.
Rerouting your tickets
Using AirTreks, making changes to your route and destinations is free up until the time you pay for your tickets. Once tickets are paid for and issued, routing changes generally require buying additional or replacement tickets. As long as you stick to the originally ticketed airlines and sequence of stops, date changes can be made easier and for less money than changes in route or destination. This is common industry practice.
Regardless of what you may have heard, the hallowed “open ticket” that people envision does not exist, predicated by harsh realities and very compromising rules: infrequent or inconvenient schedules, lack of availability, low-priority seating and a general unpredictable nature to plan around – you may have to wait days or weeks to travel if flights are fully booked.
Note: Open tickets are almost never necessary and should be avoided whenever possible. Any ticket that can be issued with an “open” date can be issued at exactly the same price with confirmed reservations for a flight on which space is actually available, with the option to change dates as many times as necessary.
Having confirmed but changeable reservations gives you the best of both worlds.
AirTreks strongly recommends travelers insist on having confirmed reservations for all flights before buying tickets from us or anyone. It’s just easier that way!
Number of stops
There is no fixed or standard price per stop on an AirTreks ticket. In general, the largest factor in the price of your tickets is the total distance you fly, which increases with each stop you add to your itinerary.
Some destinations may add more to the price than others because they add more distance to the overall route, because they are served by fewer or more expensive airlines or simply because the individual flight is priced higher.
Your Personal Travel Consultant can advise you on which destinations to drop from your wishlist in order to suit your airfare budget.
Traveling for more than a year
To keep up with the glut of info passing through airline computers there has been a commonly agreed upon limit for when the airlines release their inventory. That limit is 330 days, right around 11 months from today’s date, not the first date of you trip.
No airline computer has flight data outside this window and no one can book a reservation after then.
Bearing this in mind it makes sense for them to have their tickets valid for one year or less. While the one-year validity rule does apply to AirTreks RTW tickets, we’re more concerned with the 11 month window. This is what typically designates the maximum length of the trips we can sell.
So what do you do if you want to travel for more than 11 months? Short answer: purchase your tickets in stages.
If you intend to travel on RTW tickets for more than a year from the date you purchase, you’ll need to buy tickets for the complete trip in two or more stages. AirTreks would arrange tickets immediately for the portion of your travel to be completed within 11 months and then the balance would be picked up at a later date, either locally or from us. (We can and often do arrange to send tickets to our clients as they travel.)
A legal note: we are required to pay for all tickets within 3 business days of receipt, and since airlines do not accept payment before we issue tickets, we are unable to take payment for tickets that would be issued later. We also cannot hold payment for tickets our clients intend to buy.
This minor dilemma brings us to what is commonly known as gap year travel, or taking an entire year off from your life to see the world.