Circling the Pacific in style

Circle Pacific fares are not widely known, but they can offer some significant savings on multi-stop fares across the Pacific. More than a return ticket, but not quite a round-the-world ticket, Circle Pacific fares allow for two Pacific crossings with a typical routing taking passengers from Australia to Asia, and then onto North America before returning back to Australia. Similar to round-the-world tickets, there is a significant amount of flexibility involved and a number of exotic indirect routings are available. For this reason, our member was somehow able to book a 13-segment itinerary with just 4 actual destinations. Interestingly, our member was able to save even more money by beginning the journey in Malaysia – which was 30% cheaper than beginning the trip in Australia!

I ultimately have 4 destinations, however given the routing (13 legs) you’d be correct in thinking I’m taking the long way! The base fare is a DCIR26 – that’s the One World Circle Pacific 26k Mile fare, and ex-KUL its priced at MYR 23,824 (A$8,400, US$6,700) – which is probably half the cost of the individual flights – noting however ex-SYD is 30% higher to A$11,099. Whilst both Star Alliance and One World offer the fare, given I am QF WP it’s an easy choice – however this brings with it the routing pain. You see OW has very poor coverage in Seattle – one of my destinations, which makes things a real pain.

Although these fares are not heavily advertised and can only be booked through travel agents, it would seem there is a lot of value to be had and our member is certainly pleased with the find. Particularly as this journey involves a lot of pointy-end flying!

The first leg of the trip is certainly a long one, as shown by the boarding cards that take up an entire table! But the trip gets off to a flying start with good food and service on Cathay Pacific.

20 Minutes after take-off and we have the first drink service, with warm cashews – served in a dish – take that Korean Airlines! CSM Doris is over to introduce herself and welcome me back to CX, the usual J and/or OWE treatment – always feels a little weird after a few thankyou’s she’s on her way.

Unfortunately the good start is met with subsequent disappointment on later flights across to Tokyo and onto the United States. Our member did not expect great things from American Airlines’ long-haul service, and expectations were met.

From memory I said this wasn’t a leg I was looking forward to – pretty accurate in hindsight.

The plane is old, and tired. The crew also seem old, and tired. On the plus side the seat does recline to an angled flat, albeit with a big lump in the middle. Despite only have two hours sleep and struggling to stay awake, I decide to use this as the opportunity to kill future jetlag, so I stay awake to have the meal I pre-ordered, hoping to get a good 8 hours sleep on the back end, following Central Time. Well I probably should have just slept or watched a movie. I wonder if serving Japanese food on a plane is like trying to serve steak?

What will the rest of the trip entail? Will there be any surprises along the way? As the journey unfolds, we’re treated to many photos of the lounges, food and business class offering on a range of airlines across multiple continents. An interesting scale is used to rate and compare each of the flights – where else have you seen flights rated in terms of “awesomeness” and “weight gain”?

Follow along HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]