FRANKFURT — Star Alliance carriers including Air Canada have reduced the number of stopovers needed to qualify for a Round the World (RTW) fare, from three to two, opening up sales opportunities for the specialized fare to a much larger database of clients.
A globetrotting trip stopping at only two destinations for at least 24 hours is now possible using selected Star Alliance RTW fares, says the group. This change increases the number of itineraries available under the RTW product for travel on the Star Alliance network.
Air Canada is part of Star Alliance and is one of its founding members. The other 27 Star Alliance members are Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Avianca Brasil, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United.
Overall, the Star Alliance network offers more than 18,400 daily flights to 1,300 airports in 191 countries.
“By enabling round the world travel with only two stopovers, we are increasing the attractiveness of the Star Alliance Round the World fare product,” says Janice Antonson, Vice President, Commercial and Communications, Star Alliance.
She adds: “Customers will now find it easier to build their bespoke routing choosing from the vast offer provided by our 28 member airlines, operating more than 18,400 daily flights, connecting 1,300 destinations in 191 countries.”
Before booking with their agent clients can do advance research with the ‘Star Alliance Book & Fly’ tool, available in English, German and Japanese.
RTW fares are generally an attractive value for money proposition, especially when compared to individual one-way tickets on separate airlines for the same journey, notes Antonson.
The total price of an RTW ticket is dependent on class of travel, the precise itinerary, mileage and routing selected, as well as currency exchange rate fluctuations.
In terms of distance, customers can create an individual itinerary covering up to 26,000 (41,842 km), 29,000 (46,670 km), 34,000 (54,717 km) or 39,000 miles (62,764 km).
Passengers can build their own routings within the maximum mileage of the selected fare level. Travel needs to begin and end in the same country and be in one direction, either going East or West, although some zigzagging is permitted within a single continent.
Both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean must be crossed once.
In addition to building an itinerary from scratch, customers can also choose from a range of themed RTW journeys, which include World Food, World Wonders, Architecture Hotspots, Nature Trail, Aquatic Wonders, Connecting Cultures, Natural Wonders, Sports Hotspots, Wine Tasting, Romantic Journey and Luxury Lifestyle.
In this case, the tool automatically loads a suggested routing, which the customer can adapt to his or her needs. Full details can be found at www.staralliance.com/inspiration.
Stopovers of at least 24 hours must be made in a minimum of two cities and the overall itinerary may include up to 15 stops.
As part of offering greater choice to RTW travellers, certain RTW special fares are also available, requiring at least three stopovers and allowing a maximum number of stops that range from five to 12.
The Star Alliance RTW fares are available for travel in First, Business, Premium Economy or Economy Class and are valid for 12 months.
Customers travelling on Star Alliance RTW fares may accrue miles in any of the member carrier Frequent Flyer Programs (FFP). The collected miles may count towards earning Star Alliance Gold or Silver status and can be redeemed for example for free flights, upgrades, or hotel stays (subject to the terms and conditions of the individual FFP).
More than half of RTW travellers fly in Business Class, more than a third opt for Economy Class and around 8% for First Class, says Antonson.