How flying around the world can save a fortune on airfares ✈️🌏
Savvy travellers have jumped on to “around the world” fares to avoid paying through the nose for international flights, saving thousands of dollars in the process – even for business class.
Instead of $20,000 for return business class seats from Sydney to New York, travellers who tack on a trip to Europe and a stop in Asia are spending as little as $9000, and doing the whole trip at the pointy end of the plane.
Economy fares are also much cheaper as Newcastle’s Amanda Burgess discovered by spending $14,000 to fly around the world with her husband and three children last November.
Flight Centre around-the-world expert Alex Zoranada said there were significant savings to be had by doing a multi-stop global trip.
“When you’re doing return airfares with a specific airline it’s based on their availability, so if you do Singapore Airlines or Qantas return, you’re looking just at those options,” Ms Zoranada said.
“With ’round the world, there’s a lot more airlines to work with and you can basically have a look and find the best availability on the different flights and piece it all together.”
Round About Travel managing director Mark Trim said airlines based in North America and Europe had added much more capacity since the Covid-19 pandemic than those in the Asia Pacific region, which meant seats were more readily available at good prices.
He said the difference in price to go around the world as opposed to simply back and forth was so substantial that even corporate travellers were taking the plunge.
“I had a client who wanted to go to Dallas for a conference, who was looking at $19,000 return in business class,” Mr Trim said.
“By doing a ’round-the-world trip via Dallas, the (business class) fare came down to under $8000. It’s ideal for someone who has a bit of flexibility and can return home via Europe.”
Ms Zoranada said the concept was quickly catching on, and her team of seven was on average booking 60 around-the-world trips a fortnight, compared with about a dozen before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
“I’ve had to hire three more staff, and we’re now looking at setting up another team simply to handle the demand for ’round the world,” she said.
It was not possible for individual travellers to emulate such deals online and specialist agents needed to directly access airline systems.
Ms Burgess said she saved $7000 on airfares for her family by asking Flight Centre to organise her family’s trip to Los Angeles, London, Dublin, Paris, Munich, Bangkok and home.
“I had a budget, thinking I would spend over $20,000 on flights for five people based on what I could find online but it was nearly half that,” she said.
“When I got the price I was like ‘oh my god this is so good’.”
Currently, Lufthansa is promoting a $6681 “global airfare” in business class and $1968 in economy using carriers like Qantas, Singapore Airlines, United and Air Canada.
Mr Trim said the reason it was possible to offer such a low fare was due to Lufthansa and other European carriers, such as Swiss Air and Finnair, buying seats at wholesale prices from other airlines.
“Qantas and Singapore Airlines will sell those seats to them because they bring in so much passenger volume,” he said.
“It’s a win-win, and helps them fill those cabins.”
Travel agents who specialised in around-the-world airfares were the best starting point, because of the time it took to understand how the system worked.
“Agencies always add value to international bookings but in this case we add significant value,” Mr Trim said.
“These itineraries need to be constructed manually to get the most out of these airfares and it can be a difficult thing.”
This article was first published in The Australian by Robyn Ironside on 17 March 2023. Read article.
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