Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Global Airline Alliances > oneworld
Reload this Page >

OneWorld Explorer - First Time Buyer (via BA)

OneWorld Explorer - First Time Buyer (via BA)

Old Feb 6, 19, 5:41 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Programs: BA Silver; Delta Gold
Posts: 1
OneWorld Explorer - First Time Buyer (via BA)

Hi all,

Fresh new member here, who has benefited enormously from many FlyerTalk threads in the last couple of years, as my travel mileage and standard of travel has improved over the last couple of years.

One thing which I found hard to find information on, without reading every page of the OneWorld RTW explorer sticky, was a practical guide on how to actually order a xONEx in the UK, as a first time purchaser. I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of jotting down my experiences as a first time buyer - if this is the wrong place for this, or it should be posted to another thread, please just let me know!

The Starting Point:

I am a UK-based BA Silver (Oneworld Sapphire) member, with a couple of months between jobs, and a schedule which meant that I have to be in Europe bng smack in the middle of my trip. This narrowed down the starting points for me (based on where I wanted to go) to either East Asia or West Coast America. This was eventually narrowed to East Asia, as it became clear that I would need to be in the States in the second month, after my Europe trip.

I originally thought HK would be the best base to start from (flights to HKG are cheap from the UK, Cathay is great, and HGK is an excellent hub for most of E Asia). The price difference was acute, however, between HKG and Japan. An itinerary hitting the same stops (as described below) was around £5500 starting in Japan, or £7900 starting in HKG. Given I didn’t actually want to spend much time in HKG, the choice was easy.

I settled on:
  • Osaka - Beijing (via Tokyo);
  • Beijing - Bangkok (via Kuala Lumpur);
  • Bangkok - Tel Aviv (via Amman);
  • Tel Aviv - London
  • London - NY
  • NY - Chicago
  • Chicago - Las Vegas (overland);
  • Las Vegas - LAX
  • LAX - Osaka

I realise that this was not the most efficient use of the fare; I planned a long stop in Thailand, but there are famously limited options within Thailand on OneWorld airlines. I will also travel a fair bit in Europe on the London leg of my trip, but I much prefer to take direct trains where possible in Europe.

Booking

I calculated the fare, and checked availability on the Oneworld website. To be honest, at that point, I had no idea what to do next. The OneWorld site directed me to call JAL (since that was my first airline) in Japan. I did so, and could not speak to anyone who understood my query. I found it frustrating that there is no booking reference or order number generated when you complete the itinerary on the OneWorld website, which you could simply quote to whomever you were speaking to.

Instead, I called the BA Silver line, simply to ask if they could be of assistance. I was told yes, and was put through to the booking line. You are then met with a number of keypad options; I chose “make a new booking” and “other destinations”. I was then put through to “Dylan”, who could not have been more helpful.

I had to read out loud all of the flights which I had chosen, and stated that I wanted a business ticket. Dylan immediately spotted that there was no D (or any) availability on the Amman-TLV leg, and so suggested that I fly to TLV via HKG. I thought this might trip me over the max asian legs, but the itinerary was sent down to the fare calculation office, and I was told to wait two days.

Two days later, Dylan called me back, having emailed previously to say that (i) the extra stop in HKG did trip me over the max Asian legs, but (ii) his fare department had suggested that I simply pay for the HKG-BKK leg separately, which would be fine. On the call, I suggested instead that I start and end in Tokyo, rather than Osaka, which would eliminate one Asian leg (since I could fly direct to Beijing from Tokyo). To my surprise, Dylan was able to make this change and issue the ticket without further remittance to the fares department. I paid £5800, including booking fees.

What was interesting to me was that Dylan was not a dedicated EC Silver/Gold agent. He works in the NE branch of BA, on the Florida desk. My call came through to me as a priority call via the Silver number, but he was fully able to make the booking for anyone who called him. I didn’t expect this; there is no dedicated RTW desk at BA (like there is at AA), but he immediately told me that he was able to make the booking, without first enquiring as to whether I would be flying BA metal (given the options, I’d prefer not to, but TLV-LHR is an easy direct flight).

Anyway, I hope that someone will find this helpful. There are no geographical restrictions, so far as I can tell, on who can book through the BA sales desk. Although my Silver status probably helped me jump the queue (and made booking details easier when providing my EC number), it should be universal.
trainsandsneakers is offline  
Old Feb 12, 19, 11:05 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: SFOSJCOAK
Programs: AA-EXP & 1MM, AS MVPG 75K, MR-LT Titanium, HH Gold
Posts: 5,771
Welcome to FT.

Thanks for sharing. It has been known here that ex-Japan and ex-OSL are more favorable in term of fare prices. You could have started from OSL due to shorter positioning from UK.
allset2travel is offline  
Old Feb 13, 19, 3:29 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: BOS/UTH
Programs: AA EXP, LT PLT; QR PLT; Bonvoy LT TIT
Posts: 12,353
Originally Posted by allset2travel View Post
... more favorable in term of fare prices.
I like your phrasing. You could be a lawyer! (Don't worry, I am one.) I gather that "more favorable in term of fare prices" means cheaper? As with all lawyers, why say it in two syllables when you can say it in 11?!?!?!?!
Dr. HFH is offline  
Old Feb 13, 19, 4:37 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Programs: AA (EXP), Hilton (Diamond), SPG (lowly Gold)
Posts: 7,207
Welcome to FT, @trainsandsneakers!

Originally Posted by trainsandsneakers View Post
I calculated the fare, and checked availability on the Oneworld website. To be honest, at that point, I had no idea what to do next. The OneWorld site directed me to call JAL (since that was my first airline) in Japan. I did so, and could not speak to anyone who understood my query. I found it frustrating that there is no booking reference or order number generated when you complete the itinerary on the OneWorld website, which you could simply quote to whomever you were speaking to.
I haven't tried to use the OneWorld online booking tool in quite some time, but back then, if it agreed that your routing was legal and you selected flights that it agreed were available (I say "if it agreed" for various things because the tool is notoriously unreliable), it would either ask for payment and ticket you right away, or generate a PNR and direct you to call the first airline. Odd that it did neither.

Originally Posted by trainsandsneakers View Post
Instead, I called the BA Silver line, simply to ask if they could be of assistance. I was told yes, and was put through to the booking line. You are then met with a number of keypad options; I chose “make a new booking” and “other destinations”. I was then put through to “Dylan”, who could not have been more helpful.
Seems you got very lucky, as not all agents have any idea about RTW fares.

Originally Posted by trainsandsneakers View Post
I had to read out loud all of the flights which I had chosen, and stated that I wanted a business ticket. Dylan immediately spotted that there was no D (or any) availability on the Amman-TLV leg, and so suggested that I fly to TLV via HKG. I thought this might trip me over the max asian legs, but the itinerary was sent down to the fare calculation office, and I was told to wait two days.

Two days later, Dylan called me back, having emailed previously to say that (i) the extra stop in HKG did trip me over the max Asian legs, but (ii) his fare department had suggested that I simply pay for the HKG-BKK leg separately, which would be fine.
You wanted to fly BKK-AMM-TLV, but there was no D on AMM-TLV, so Dylan suggested flying BKK-HKG-TLV instead, but that exceeded the four permitted segments in Asia, so Dylan suggested buying HKG-BKK as a separate ticket? Did you meant BKK-HKG instead? Interesting approach, to purchase that segment separately, since the rules have a maximum free flight segments per continent, so surface segments are fine. How much did he quote for that segment? Also, did you consider flying AMM-TLV another day? I did a cursory check in EF, and I see some days with D0 on all RJ flights, but other days with D3 or better.

Originally Posted by trainsandsneakers View Post
On the call, I suggested instead that I start and end in Tokyo, rather than Osaka, which would eliminate one Asian leg (since I could fly direct to Beijing from Tokyo). To my surprise, Dylan was able to make this change and issue the ticket without further remittance to the fares department. I paid £5800, including booking fees.
Sounds like Dylan was skilled, as he presumably recalculated the taxes and fees on the new route.

Originally Posted by trainsandsneakers View Post
What was interesting to me was that Dylan was not a dedicated EC Silver/Gold agent. He works in the NE branch of BA, on the Florida desk.
What is "NE branch of BA?"

Originally Posted by trainsandsneakers View Post
There are no geographical restrictions, so far as I can tell, on who can book through the BA sales desk.
Yes, anyone can purchase an RTW fare from any OneWorld airline via any office. The key is finding an airline and office with competent staff, which sounds like you have done very well at. The other key is finding an airline that does not charge as high airline-imposed fees as others do. Airline-imposed fees (also called fuel surcharges) are an area where each airline does things differently, which can result in thousands of dollars difference in the total cost for the same itinerary.
anabolism is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread