If you’d like to visit a few different countries on the same trip, a round-the-world ticket could be a great value option. These tickets offer great flexibility and the ability to stopover in multiple different cities on a single ticket. Plus, they often cost not much more than a simple return ticket from Australia to Europe or North America – and sometimes even less!
For example, departing from Australia and flying with high quality airlines, you could fly around the world in Economy Class for as little as $1,691! In Premium Economy, round-the-world fares start from around $3,383. Business Class round-the-world tickets are available to Australians from $6,259.
There are a few different types of round-the-world tickets. The most well-known are those offered by the major alliances – Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam. These tickets give you the flexibility to fly around the world on any of the airlines within each alliance, generally with unlimited stopovers and up to 16 flights in total.
There are also special types of round-the-world tickets offered by specific airlines which include fewer stopovers but are considerably cheaper! Of these, the round-the-world airfares offered by European airlines Finnair and Lufthansa are of particular interest to Australians.
The Finnair and Lufthansa round-the-world fares can only be booked through travel agents. The Lufthansa ticket in particular offers exceptional value in Economy and Premium Economy, while Finnair is slightly cheaper in Business Class.
Finnair round-the-world tickets
Finnair is often a popular choice with Qantas Frequent Flyer members travelling to Europe because Finnair is part of the Oneworld alliance. This means you can earn Qantas points and status credits for Finnair flights.
Finnair doesn’t fly its own aircraft to Australia. But it does serve lots of routes across Europe, Asia and North America from its Helsinki hub.
With a Finnair round-the-world ticket, you could fly with Qantas to Los Angeles or Dallas/Fort Worth in the United States. After a stopover, you would continue your journey to Europe with Finnair. You could fly to almost anywhere in Europe via Helsinki, with an optional stopover in Helsinki.
Then, you would fly from Europe to Asia (again, via Helsinki with Finnair). Typical Asian stopovers include Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo and Delhi. Finally, you would return from Asia to Australia on a Qantas, Cathay Pacific or British Airways flight.
Here’s one example of a typical Finnair RTW itinerary in Economy or Business Class:
With the above itinerary, you would fly with Qantas from Sydney to Dallas and Singapore to Sydney. The remaining flights would be with Finnair.
Finnair also recently began offering Premium Economy service on its long-haul flights. This is currently only available on selected routes including Singapore-Helsinki and New York-Helsinki, but will be progressively rolled out onto more routes.
If you wanted to book a Finnair round-the-world ticket in Premium Economy, you could fly a routing such as this one:
In the above example, the connecting flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to New York would be in American Airlines Economy Class. The intra-Europe Finnair flights would also be in Economy as Premium Economy is not available on these routes. All of the long-haul flights are in Premium Economy.
Finnair round-the-world pricing
The exact price depends on a range of factors including your routing, the number of stopovers and which airlines you’ve used as part of your itinerary.
Also note that Finnair offers two fare types – Classic and Flex. The Flex fares are refundable and include complimentary seat selection.
As a rough guide, this is how much you could expect to pay for the above Finnair round-the-world itineraries with stopovers in Dallas, Oslo and Singapore:
- Economy Classic: $2,009
- Economy Flex: $2,109
- Premium Economy Classic: $4,424
- Premium Economy Flex: $4,624
- Business Classic: $6,259
- Business Flex: $6,859
While Finnair’s Economy and Business Class round-the-world fares are quite competitive, its Premium Economy pricing is unfortunately not quite as good as Lufthansa!
Lufthansa round-the-world tickets
Some of the Lufthansa Group airlines – Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines – also offer their own round-the-world airfares originating and ending in Australia. These airlines are all part of Star Alliance.
With this ticket, you could fly with your choice of Qantas, United or Air Canada from Australia to North America. You’d then fly with Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian to anywhere in Europe (via Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich or Vienna, with an optional stopover in these cities).
From Europe, you would then fly to Asia with a Lufthansa Group airline. Finally, you could fly from Asia to Australia with your choice of Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways or All Nippon Airways (depending on where you stop over in Asia).
Like with Finnair, you can also have an open-jaw in Europe. For example, you could fly into London and then pick up the next leg of your RTW ticket from Barcelona.
Here’s one example of a Lufthansa round-the-world ticket which is possible in Economy, Premium Economy and Business:
This itinerary uses Qantas from Sydney to Los Angeles, United Airlines from Los Angeles to Chicago, and Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Sydney. All remaining flights would be on Lufthansa. If booking this trip in Premium Economy, note that the sectors between Los Angeles-Chicago and Frankfurt-Oslo would be in Economy as Premium Economy isn’t offered.
Lufthansa Group round-the-world pricing
Again, the exact cost of a Lufthansa round-the-world ticket depends on where you fly to and various other factors. For example, if your final destination in Europe is in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Belgium, you may pay more than if you fly elsewhere in Europe (such as Norway).
There is no price difference, however, between using Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian for your flights to/from Europe. You can even fly to Europe on one of the Lufthansa Group airlines (e.g. SWISS) and then back using a different airline (e.g. Austrian).
Lufthansa Group offers three different price points for each class of travel: Saver, Standard and Flex (or Basic, Basic Plus and Flex for Economy). The main difference is that Saver/Basic fares are non-refundable, while Standard/Basic Plus fares can be refunded for a fee and Flex fares are fully refundable.
To give you an idea of typical pricing, this is how much you could expect to pay for the sample itinerary shown above with stopovers in Los Angeles, Chicago, Oslo and Singapore:
- Economy Basic: $1,691
- Economy Basic Plus: $1,845
- Economy Flex: $1,999
- Premium Economy Basic: $3,383
- Premium Economy Basic Plus: $3,573
- Premium Economy Flex: $3,763
- Business Basic: $6,507
- Business Basic Plus: $6,787
- Business Flex: $7,067
Australian domestic connecting flights
It’s also possible, with both the Finnair and Lufthansa RTW airfares, to add on connecting domestic flights to/from other cities across Australia.
For example, I recently booked a Lufthansa Group round-the-world ticket that starts and ends in Canberra. It didn’t cost any extra to add on the domestic connections from Canberra to Sydney at the start of the trip, and from Melbourne to Canberra at the end of the trip.
This was the full itinerary that I booked through my travel agent:
This itinerary is entirely in Business Class and includes flights on Qantas, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, Austrian and United Airlines. The total price for a refundable Business Standard fare, including all fees, was $6,813.
As you can see, these round-the-world fares can be excellent value. By comparison, Qantas normally charges more than this just to fly from Canberra to Los Angeles and back in Business Class!
You can leave a comment or discuss this topic on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum.