Hi there, I'm planning a RTW ticket ( // means overland):
London / Bangkok // Singapore / Oz / NZ / Santiago // Rio / London.
I've had quotes from STA, flightcentre and oneworld which are coming out pretty similar. Though flight-centre are offering FREE dates changes on route (up to 24hours before flight - subject to availability), which is pretty tempting.
Can anyone tell me how much Oneworld charge to change a flight date? I like the Oneworld option as it can include a few more flights to remote locations.
SANTIAGO - RIO OVERLAND.
Also, can anyone help me with this leg of the journey? I'll be doing it from May - August (Winter). Am up for doing some snowboarding, but just wandered which route to take after that, considering it's winter? Has anyone done La Paz - Rio, or BA - Rio independently at this time of year???
STA, Flight Centre, Harvey World Travel, One World or any other company who books travel would all be using the exact same product for the itinerary you have described. It just depends how many hours the travel agent is willing to use up on a booking that will get them very little in return for the large amount of effort and time. One World alliance is the name of the chain which the group of airlines like Qantas, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, LAN Airlines are linked to. That is the only way you will be able to get those flights on to one ticket that doesn't cost tens of thousands of dollars.
As for the offer of free date changes, you want to try and plan you trip as well as possible in terms of departure dates as availability in the special rtw economy class letter code is low at the best of times. This is especially important in South America unless you don't mind hanging around for another month or so as flights are not as frequent and often only one or two seats . I did read of a person who broke his leg in South America so wanted to change the date on his departure flight out of South America and due to rtw tickets on One World needing to be booking in L Class for Economy, he was unable to get a firm date for over a month. He was changing a fair way out from when he was originally booked so for over a month he has to hang around not being able to walk properly.
When I've done my RTW travels I have planned a fair bit of it but in overland sections allowed at least a week more than I believe I truly would need incase I discover something along the way or anything like that.
As for the South America leg of your journey, you have so many options but going South to Patagonia might be a bit of a bad time given it will be absolute freezing as. A good idea for you might be to get some brochures like a Geckos brochure on South America which has a fair few overland trips which will give you some ideas. If you are from the UK (or hold a UK passport) it will be a lot easier for you going overland because places such as Paraguay and Brazil which require pre-arranged visas for most major countries like Australia and the US give free visas on arrival. If you wanted to do some very major backtracking after landing in Santiago you can do a bit of travel through Chile and Argentina before returning to Santiago, fly to Easter Island and then try and get a flight back to Santiago and on to Lima with a 24 hour period so as to constitute a transit rather than a stop over. After landing in Lima make your way overland through Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay. This might mean a bit more on your ticket in terms of cost because it may mean you have to pay for one extra stop in South America, but it would be worth it to see one of the places that is a once in a life-time sort of place. To do that you'd want the continent based fare on the One World alliance and that's the one you should be looking at anyway as the mileage based one will restrict you a lot more. You can get some mammoth mileage for frequent flyers if you are creative with your itinerary on the continent based fare and use airlines other than British Airways and American Airlines whereever possible.
Thanks for you advice, I'll look further into creating my own route via the one-world website. I realise they are less restrictive in terms of mileage (were you also suggesting this is good for colleting air-miles? I'm not really clued up about the benefits). Availability on the website (especially in South America) seems to be limited, when booking with FlightCentre/ STA etc. they can usually find availability that isn't on the website (think they have access to cancellations etc).
Not to get too hung up on the point, but One-world says date changes are permitted but may incur additional cost, I'm guessing this is usually around £50? I'm trying to plan my trip as accurately as possible, but I don't believe it's possible predict exactly how the trip will pan out. Date changes allow a bit of flexability, I take you point about availability though, especially in South America.
I do indeed have a UK passport, and have been looking through the overland brochures to get some ideas. Thinking of doing some snowboarding in Chile, then heading up to La Paz, before crossing to Rio through Bolivia & Paraguay.
I noticed when I tried planning my itinerary on the one world site seeing I was doing it a fair way out the flights were not always there. What I found was best was to download the destination planning guide which shows the days of the week which the flights fly on and then trying to make a valid itinerary from that. They may have changed the planner program since I used it though because it only had something like 4 months worth of dates to even look at and yet you can normally look about 11 months out on a travel agent system. Flight Centre can't get any more availability in terms of seats than any other travel agency or one of the oneworld alliance airlines which directly links to an airlines availability system. The planning guide does not directly link to the availability hence why you can't get all flights that are actually possible. That is why you should download the pdf off the oneworld website that is the destination guide. That helped me heaps with my planning.
As for the thing you refer with "may incur additional cost" for date changes, well the key word in that is "may". Sometimes a date change may mean the ticket needs to be reissued and if that happens then it could cost heaps, but if the ticket does not need reissuing and is just a matter of revalidating then it would just be a matter if taxes go up. If you think over and over about your routing and plan for months like I did, it is possible to predict how your trip will pan out as far as dates go. This is especially the case with overland sections where you may think it will take 2 weeks to get there but because you have allowed 3 and a half weeks it lets you take the scenic route a bit more or just take your time. Even if it did cost 50 pounds etc to change well if you do not plan to change the dates then paying that money should not be much of an issue because it still gives you that option if you find yourself in a position that this is required. To allow yoursefl some flexibility having overland sections gives you this. For example when I was in Europe I landed in Kiev/Ukraine and departed from Helsinki. I really didn't know apart from Russia exactly where I wanted to see, but I knew I had allowed about a month. Seeing I knew I had a month when I got to that stage I was able to plan accordingly. The same thing with the overland section you are talking about in South America (although I would add at least 2 weeks more than you expect because sometimes buses do not always go on the dates you want them to on longer routes).
With the frequent flyer program if you had a frequent flyer card on the continent based fare you are allowed unlimited miles as long as you don't break any of the other rules re number of sectors etc. In effect if you wanted to get extra miles you could do some very up and down itinerary which gets massive milage. Like if you were do something like London - Madrid - Rio De Janeiro - Santiago - Easter Island - Santiago - Mexico City - New York - Dallas - Chicago - Los Angeles - Honolulu - Sydney - Hong Kong - Johannesburg overland to Nairobi - London. That sort of itinerary has changed hemispheres 6 times in the one rtw trip so would have huge frequent flyer miles. It would be possible to rack up bigger mileage than that with a bit more effort.