Let’s look at some typical RTW flights. There are four main types. A simple ticket booked through one airline. An alliance-based RTW ticket joined to many airlines. An award ticket with restrictive conditions and deep discounting. Finally, booking separate flights and accepting the risks.
A simple ticket is a collection of flights ticketed through one airline. Not every airline flies to every destination, so airlines do partnerships. A ticket can even have flights connecting competing airlines. But often airlines will use a codeshare partner. A codeshare is where a flight shares marketing between many airlines. One of those airlines will also be the operating carrier. An example is an Air New Zealand plane booked as NZ5 from Los Angeles to Auckland. That same plane can also be a codeshare with Lufthansa, flight LH7164. This means Lufthansa could give you a ticket from Auckland to Frankfurt. The first flight is LH7164 to Los Angeles using Air New Zealand. The second flight is LX457 to Frankfurt on Lufthansa.
RTW advantages with a simple ticket
One advantage of these simple tickets is there’s one airline to deal with. Even if there are many operating carriers. The booking airline arranges luggage allowances. This is important since different airlines have different luggage requirements. Simple tickets often do not have many stopovers. Pricing is also good too. A simple five stop flight to common destinations would be around $2200 NZD.
The biggest advantage is what happens when something goes wrong. A ticket is an obligation from an airline to get you from one destination to another. This is regardless of who operates that flight, or how many transfers happen. Sometimes delays or cancellations happen. But, that airline has a responsibility to aid you to your destination.
One of example of this was when Kathryn and I booked a RTW flight through Lufthansa. We paid $2297 NZD flying from Wellington to Tokyo to London. Then we flew from Oslo to San Francisco to Vancouver, to Wellington. But we had a problem where our plane from Oslo to Frankfurt broke So what did we do? Well, Lufthansa arranged through their codeshare partner, SAS, to transfer us. We were now on a Oslo to Copenhagen flight, and then a Copenhagen to San Francisco flight. They’re obliged to help under their ticketing conditions. Also European Union regulations provide for compensation in some cases.