Buying RTW tickets by default – in Paris


I hadn’t really intended to buy RTW tickets – I just wanted to get to Rochester, New York from Paris.

Have you noticed how increasingly difficult and EXPENSIVE it has become to book airline tickets if you want to stay anyplace longer than two weeks? ‘THEY’ (whoever you might imagine that to be) don’t want us to travel for long periods of time – indefinitely. So, rather than pay an outrageously priced ticket for a round-trip ticket Paris-NY-Paris that would allow me to return to Paris the following summer, I’ve bought for the SECOND time a RTW ticket for $2137 Euros which turns out to be a better deal.

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The funny thing about RTW tickets seems to be that the airlines involved in these programs like Star Alliance, Skyteam and One World don’t always seem to know that they HAVE a RTW ticket. In some cases, it appears to be as if you’re digging for buried treasure.

When I called up Air France to find out about their RTW program (they’re part of Skyteam, I was told I’d have to come into an office).

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Read reviews of the RTW Plane Tickets offered by the three big alliances:

So, the first time I purchased a ticket was at the Air New Zealand office,part of the Star Alliance – yes, there is an Air New Zealand office in Paris at 9, rue Daru. The second time, was also with Star Alliance, but at the United Airlines office in Paris (when we were there last October, they were in the process of moving out of their offices on Boulevard Haussmann).

The beauty of the RTW ticket is the fact that it allows for travel during an entire year. You can also change the dates of travel free of charge. The negative of buying your RTW ticket in France is the additional tax which comes to a whopping 200 Euros. (I think that even including the French sales tax, the price is comparable to what you would end up paying in the US.)

Normally, you buy the RTW from the airline with whom you’ll be traveling for the largest segment of your overseas travel, i.e. Air New Zealand – if you plan on going to New Zealand, or United if you plan on doing your first overseas flight from France to the USA. The most important thing to keep in mind when switching from air carriers is that the baggage rulings vary ENORMOUSLY. For example, last year, when we left LA for Raratonga we were allowed three bags, two check-ins and one carry-on. The weight limitations also vary from carrier to carrier. If you are traveling from Australia or New Zealand, you already know this. Singapore Airlines has strict weight limitations on carry on – which includes the weight of your laptop.

The insanity of weight restrictions became quickly apparent in Rarotonga when a check-in clerk informed me that my carry -on was too heavy.

When I insisted it was the SAME carryon that I had brought on the flight from LA to Rarotonga (which continues on to Auckland), he still insisted that it didn’t meet the Rarotonga/New Zealand regs), so I pulled out my handy daypack, divided the camera gear from the rest of the carry-on, handed back the carry on which he weighed and gave back to me (and the day pack, I had placed on my back!) which for some reason no longer qualified as carry on weight.

ALWAYS, bring along an extra day pack for emergencies like this.

There are other options besides the alliances for RTW tickets. Read our other RTW Plane Ticket Reviews: