Smart Traveler: Meet Me in Malaysia or Harare or...

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Destinations, April 1997

Smart Traveler: Meet Me in Malaysia or Harare or...

The best deals in around-the-world airfares
By Everett Potter

The next time some kid clutching a battered Lonely Planet guide brags about his cheap consolidator tickets to Hong Kong and Bangkok, casually mention that you're also going to Hong Kong and Bangkok. And then on to Bali, Nepal, Val d'Isêre, and the Hebrides. And you paid less than he did. Around-the-world tickets are a boon for travelers with time on their hands. In most cases, you pay a flat fare for a ticket that's good for one year on a domestic carrier and its overseas partners. You usually must travel in one direction, but stopovers are unlimited. And the savings, even on short trips, are enormous. The cheapest unrestricted round-trip coach fare from San Francisco to Hong Kong, for instance, is currently $2,202; for $3 less, you could buy a TWA around-the-world ticket.

Airline: American, 800-433-7300
Fares*: In 1996, stopped offering an around-the-world fare
Comments: "Our agents will create customized trips if requested," a spokesman says.
Suggested Stopover: DFW, where negotiating America's ticket counters approximates an around-the-world tour

Airline: Continental, 800-525-0280
Fares*: Coach: $2,647 / Business: $3,727 / First: $5,170
Comments: Has partnership agreements with some of the better Far Eastern carriers, including Air India and Thai Air.
Suggested Stopover: Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai, and Newark (a Continental hub)

Airline: Delta, 800-221-1212
Fares*: Coach: $2,266 - $3,059 / Business: $3,605 - $4,506 / First: $5,150 - $6,386
Comments: The higher fare represents the cost of stopovers in Africa, the South Pacific, or South America. Otherwise, trips are confined to routes in Europe and the Far East.
Suggested Stopover: ZÆrich, Singapore, and, for the spendthrift, Harare, Brazzaville, and Cairo

Airline: Northwest, 800-447-4747
Fares*: Coach: $2,570 / Business: $3,618 / First: $5,019 (in conjunction with Air India only)
Comments: You can fly with only one of Northwest's partners: KLM, Cathay Pacific, Air India, or Swissair. Choose carefully.
Suggested Stopover: Tokyo, Amsterdam, Manila--but not all three

Airline: United, 800-538-2929
Fares*: Coach: $2,570 / Business: $3,618 / First: $5,019
Comments: Unlike other domestic airlines, United has an around-the-world ticket that utilizes only United's routes.
Suggested Stopover: Hong Kong, New Delhi, London, Los Angeles

Airline: TWA, 800-892-4141
Fares*: Coach: $2,199 - $3,314 / Business: $3,618 - $5,335 / First: $5,000 - $6,882
Comments: Must choose one partner airline. Among the choices: Qantas, Korean Air, and Garuda Indonesia
Suggested Stopover: Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, and Djakarta, headquarters of Garuda

*As of February. Around-the-world ticket prices change infrequently, but call for current fares.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web