Airline Alliances Rules and Limitations

Sometimes several airlines will come together under an agreement to co-operate under an airline alliance. The big ones you might come across are Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld.  Many people book their RTW journeys through these airline alliances because they might have a frequent flyer program or perhaps they thought these alliances were the only places they would find the flights to all their choice destinations. As you can see from our website, this is not the case, but even more so, there are some real disadvantages to booking through an airline alliance.

Their fares are almost always more expensive than the ones we can offer. Their fares are generally based on mileage and number of stops. They are limited to the airlines within the alliance and often don't have access to any low-cost airlines.

Airline alliance RTW tickets also often come with many rules. Typically, you must travel in one direction, and must fly in and out of each of the airports on your itinerary. This can limit the opportunities for overland travel if you need to return to the airport you flew in to. Some alliances will allow flights out of different airports, but you generally still end up paying them for the miles you travelled on your own. They are also limited by the flight schedules and routes of the airlines within the alliance, placing limitations on the routes and dates you can travel.

They do claim to offer date flexibility and sometimes you're able to avoid committing to specific dates  until later. These tickets are similar to our 'open' or 'flex' tickets and therefore also come with the same risks: they are subject to flight availability and to seat availability on the flights you want and therefore you still need to attach a date to the ticket early enough. And in order to make these adjustments or bookings with the airline alliances, you will need to navigate the fine print of whether you have to call the alliance or the airline directly and if the latter, which airline you're supposed to call, the carrier or the one you booked through.

While they might give you frequent flyer points, we can usually get those for you too, for the sections you book through the alliance's airlines.

We can do everything they can do, but with more flexibility, ease of booking and ease of making changes and at a lower cost. And you always have someone to call if you run into problems.