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The oneworld explorer ticket FAQs

The oneworld explorer ticket FAQs

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Old Jul 15, 20, 3:54 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
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The information in this wiki is out of date - please see the information in the wiki in this new thread ---> The Oneworld Explorer User Guide

The oneworld explorer ticket thread.

Thanks to eamus in particular for the work in starting this thread and collating this information, which is taken from his two posts. This wiki supersedes the information in those first two posts. It is now community-maintained, please be bold and amend as you see fit.

The purpose of this thread is to collect some FAQs on the most popular oneworld ticket, the Explorer. This thread is not intended to be totally comprehensive, nor is it a substitute for using the search function for specific or obscure points (the search function is at the top right of your screen, in case you missed it!). It is an aid for planning your massive mileage-earning trip round the world on the airlines of the oneworld alliance. Once you have trawled through this thread you should be OK to start work on your itinerary. If you have any questions not covered here or in a search of old threads, don't be afraid to post and ask the experts here.

Please note that while we attempt to be as accurate as possible, the official rules do change. The airline who issues your ticket will have final say on what the rules are, and how they interpret them. Here goes:


Q: You people seem to like talking in code. Do you have a glossary?
A: Of course. Here are some basic terms:

ONE or OWE = oneworld Explorer ticket
DONE4 = D class (business class) oneworld Explorer ticket for 4 continents. The initial letter is A, D or L depending on whether it is First, Bus. or Economy, and the final number is the number of continents, 3-6 (sometimes a * is used to indicate a generic question/response, eg. *ONE4 or *ONE*)
Segment = a flight with a single flight number between two cities, whether or not it stops between the origin and destination, and whether or not there is a change of aircraft along the way. So for instance SYD-JFK is one segment even though it stops in LAX, but NRT-HKT is two segments (NRT-HKG, HKG-HKT) since there is no oneworld single flight number between NRT and HKT. Don't confuse "segment" with "sector," another term you often see. A sector is one take off and one landing, so SYD-JFK is two sectors but only one segment.

Other Useful Terms:
F, J, Y = the full price booking classes for first, business and economy classes respectively. Being discount tickets, *ONE* tickets generally use A, D or L for the respective classes, but sometimes people like to use "J" as a generic way of describing business class, for instance.
RTW = round the world
SWP = South West Pacific (one of the continents)
WT+ = World Traveller Plus, the premium economy cabin on some BA flights

The Airlines:
AA = American Airlines
AB = Air Berlin (HG for Niki) Shutdown 28 Oct 2017
AY = Finnair
AT = Royal Air Maroc (joined 1 April 2020)
BA = British Airways
CX = Cathay Pacific (and KA for Cathay Dragon)
IB = Iberia
JJ = LATAM Left OW alliance
JL = Japan Airlines (and NU for Japan Transocean AIr)
LA = Lan Chile (and XL, 4M for the other Lan's) Left OW alliance
MH = Malaysia Airlines
QF = Qantas (which DOES NOT HAVE A "U" IN IT !!!!!!!)
QR = Qatar Aiways
RJ = Royal Jordanian
S7 = S7 Airlines
UL = SriLankan Airlines

The Basics:

Q: What airlines can I fly with on a ONE ticket?
A: Any oneworld airline, as listed above, or their affiliate airlines (list below may not be up to date, see oneworld.com):

• American Eagle (operated by Envoy Airlines, Republic Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Compass Airlines, Trans States Airlines, PSA Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, and Air Wisconsin)

• Belair
• TUlfly

• BA CitiFlyer including flights operated by Eastern Airways
• Comair [South Africa](not to be confused with the Delta affiliate in the US with the same name)
• SUN-AIR of Scandinavia
• Open Skies
• BA Limited

• Nordic Regional Airlines (Norra)

• Air Norstrum
• Iberia Express

• J-Air
• HAC (Hokkaido Air System)

• LATAM Express
• LATAM Peru
• LATAM Colombia

• Alliance Airlines
• QantasLink operated by Eastern Australia, Jetconnect (NZ), National Jet Systems, Sunstate Airlines, and Network Aviation

• Globus

NOTE: Codeshare flights operated by other partner/affiliate airlines are not permitted on this ticket. So for example the QF flights that are codeshares operated by FJ (Air Pacific) are not eligible. However it is possible to fly on codeshares within the alliance. For example you can take an AA flight number that is actually operated by BA. The benefit of doing this is that it may help depending on which frequent flyer membership you are with, and what bonuses are given with these flights.

NOTE: If a ticket includes travel to/from/via Cuba it may not also include flight segments for travel on American Airlines/American Eagle/American Connection due to US Government restrictions. [this may have cha

Q: What are the basic rules of the fare?
A: It is a round the world ticket, so you must cross both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, but can only do so once for each ocean. The fare is calculated based on the number of continents you visit. The continents are counted even if you only change planes there (eg. stopping in Asia on a flight from Europe to Australia), and the continent count includes the continent of origin. See below for backtracking rules. You can fly up to 16 segments in total.

Q: Can I backtrack?
A: You can backtrack within countries and continents, but you cannot re-enter a continent after leaving it, except: (a) a transit without stopover in Asia on a flight between Europe and SWP or vice versa, (b) a transit without stopover in North America on a flight between South America and SWP, Asia or Europe or vice versa, (c) two permitted in Europe/Middle, for travel originating in Africa, Africa - Europe/Middle East - RTW - Europe/Middle East - Africa, for travel originating other than Africa, Europe/Middle East - Africa - Europe/Middle East, one of the visits to Europe/Middle East must be a transfer without stopover between Africa and the previous/next continent, if travel to/from Europe in both directions, itinerary may not include Mauritius/South Africa.

Any of these transit without stopover benefits can be taken in either direction (eg. Europe-SWP or SWP-Europe) and either before or after you wish to enter the continent for the second time to use your stopovers there. You can only leave and re-enter the continent of origin once, except for North America where you may have an additional transit without stopover.

Q: What are the continents on which the fare is calculated? Which countries are in which continent?
A: Forget all your geography lessons, and take a look at the map accessible by clicking this hyperlink and you should see the continents. For those who prefer the text, oneworld defines the continents as follows:

North America = United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean area, Central America and Panama
South America = all of South America other than Panama
Europe = all of Europe, including Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and all of the Middle East including Egypt and Sudan
Africa = all of Africa other than Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia
Asia = all of Asia excluding everything in the South West Pacific
South West Pacific = all of the South West Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand

Q: How many of those 16 segments can I use in each continent?
A: You get four (4) segments in each of Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and South West Pacific, and six (6) segments in North America. None of the intercontinental flights, including those across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, count against any continent allowance, although obviously they do count against your 16 segment total allowance. There are, in addition, other restrictions you need to be aware of.

Q: What about surface segments (eg arrive at LGA and depart from JFK)?
A: These are counted towards the total of 16 segments.

Q: Are there any other restrictions that I have per region/continent?
A: Yes:

Europe - Not more than two Europe/Middle East segments may be used for journeys between the U.K. and the following: Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Funchal, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tunisia, Ukraine, and the Middle East. You get four segments in Europe, so if you go from Heathrow to, say, Dubai, you cannot then go from Heathrow to Greece and back.

Americas - Within North America, only one transcontinental flight is allowed between selected cities on the East and West Coasts. "Transcontinental" is defined as a flight between one of ATL/BWI/BOS/CLT/FLL/BDL/MIA/EWR/NYC/ORL/PHL/PIT/SJU/RDU/TPA/YYZ/WAS/PBI and one of LAS/LGB/LAX/OAK/PHX/PDX/SAN/SFO/SJC/SNA/SEA/YVR. Also, in North America only one segment is permitted between the continental US and Hawaii (so if you want to visit Hawaii, you must go to/from Australia), and only one flight to/from ANC (Anchorage, Alaska) is permitted.

South West Pacific - within Australia only one flight is permitted between:
* Perth, and Brisbane, Canberra, Cairns, Melbourne or Sydney
* Darwin, and Canberra, Melbourne or Sydney
* Broome, and Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney
* Dampier, and Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney

Exceptions - there is no restriction between Sydney/Melbourne & Perth for passengers originating in:
* Perth, when in conjunction with travel to/from Jo'burg/Shanghai
* New Zealand, when in conjunction with travel to/from Jo'burg

Q: Can I take the QF flight from LAX-JFK (or vice versa) even if I don't have an onward flight with QF?
A: No. The rules would appear to allow it, but in actual practice QF does not. (Edited to add: The OWE rules don't prohibit it, but QF does not have 5th freedom rights to carry passengers solely between LAX and JFK, i.e., domestically within the U.S. The Passenger must originate/terminate in Australia.)

Q: Can I buy more segments?
A: This is no longer permitted. If you want to exceed the per-continent segment limit, one option is to add a "side trip" which are additional flights that are part of the ticket but calculated and priced per their own fare; you are still limited to a maximum of 16 sectors on one ticket. Another option is to include one or more flights in the booking record that are priced and ticketed separately; since such flights are on their own ticket, they do not count against the 16 segment limit of the main ticket. Not all agents or airlines are comfortable issuing separate tickets out of one booking record, so it is easier to book in a new record, but keeping al flights in one record and issuing separate tickets is often used to increase the ease of having connections protected when there are flight delays, schedule changes, etc.

Q: What about stopovers? What are the rules? And benefits?
A: A stopover is break in your journey of more than 24 hours. You can have as many stopovers as you like (one per segment if you like), but you cannot have more than two stopovers in the continent of origin. The key thing here is the 24-hour rule, and there are two main benefits. First, at some airports (eg. LHR) not having a stopover can save significant taxes as you will be classed as a passenger in transit, and second, you can stop for dinner and a night with friends, even if you are out of stopovers in the country of origin.

Q: Where can I fly on a ONE ticket?
A: You can get an idea of available destinations from the maps on the AA website at this hyperlink; just select oneworld cities once the relevant area has loaded. There is also a pretty bad map on the oneworld website here.

Q: What tools are available for working out my itinerary and the airline timetables?
A) You can access the official oneworld trip planner on https://rtw.oneworld.com/rtw/ - this includes the ability to book most itineraries online.

Q: Can I end my itinerary in a city other than the one where I started?
A: Yes. You can separate your origin and destination under any of the following circumstances: anywhere within the country of origin, between the US and Canada, anywhere within Africa, anywhere within the Middle East, between Hong Kong and China, between Malaysia and Singapore, or between Maldives and Sri Lanka or India. So you could start in CAI and end in DXB, but could not start in JFK and end in MEX.

Booking Tickets:
Q: The booking classes are A (first), D (business) and L (economy). If I buy a first class ticket and there is no first class on my flight, what happens?
A: That depends on what you mean by "no first class." If the seat inventory (A in this case, but the same goes for D) is not available for the flight you want and you can't get a flight that does have available inventory, you get downgraded to the next available inventory class (A goes down to D, and D goes down to L) and no compensation or refund is payable. Except on two class US domestic flights, if the plane is only one class (all economy) or two class (economy and business), then you get downgraded and no compensation or refund is payable. On two class US domestic flights and QR flights within the Middle East, if you hold a D class ticket you can book into the A (first) inventory, if it is available, at no extra charge. On domestic flights on AE (American Eagle), AY, and LA (which are one class except LA's SCL-IPC), all A and D tickets book into the Y (full fare economy) inventory bucket which means it is economy seating, but there should be plenty of availability.

Q: Can I upgrade some of the segments to fly business/first class?
A: In limited circumstances. Your options are: (a) you can upgrade your entire itinerary - subject to availability - by paying the higher class fare but otherwise without penalty, (b) flights operated by AA may be upgraded with AA miles, (c) US/Canada domestic flights operated by AA may be upgraded with 500-mile "sticker" upgrades issued by AA, (d) flights operated by CX may be upgraded using CX miles, (e) flights marketed and operated by JL may be upgraded using JL miles, and (f) flights operated by QF may be upgraded using QF miles/upgrade credits. BA also offers "on board" upgrades for prices ranging from GBP200 up if there is a spare seat on board. Talk to the purser when you board, but these upgrades only qualify for the mileage/status you originally booked. For instance if you were in BA economy and upgraded on board to WT+ for GBP200 on LHR-SIN, you only get the discount economy miles, not the WT+ miles.

Q: Can I upgrade some of the segments to fly premium economy class ?
A: Economy class can be upgraded to CX,JL,QF premium economy cabin or BA World Traveller Plus cabin for an additional charge, per flight segments.
USD1450 for SWP-Asia, SWP-Europe/Middle East, SWP-Norrh America, SWP-South America. USD350 for SEA-South Asian Subcontinent, SEA-Japan/Korea, USD250 for within SEA,Australia,Middle East. USD950 for all ohter sectors.
Booking class: BA(T), JL(E), CX(R), QF(R).

Q: What is an open segment and why would I book that?
A: An open segment is basically setting your itinerary in advance, but not confirming your seat on the plane. You do this by leaving the date on the flight coupon (eg. LHR-JFK) open, even though you have decided that you will at some point be flying that route. You might do this as it is easier to change your travel timing as you go. If you set all the flight dates and then needed to make a change at some point, you may have to change all the onward flights and not just the next one or two.

The downside is that you need the inventory to be available on the date you finally want to travel, and on some routes/carriers at certain times of the year, A and D inventory may have limited availability. Further, it gives you no protection should a route be discontinued. If a route between XXX and YYY is discontinued, you then will have to pay the reroute fee and use an additional segment to fly XXX-ZZZ-YYY.

Q: Can I change my mind?
A: Yes, you will find the *ONE* to be a reasonably flexible ticket. Date/time changes are permitted at no charge, and subject to availability you can change the oneworld carrier you want to use without charge as long as there is no change in origin/destination and intermediate points (eg. changing BA to QF for a flight SYD-LHR). Changes other than date/time (routing is the obvious change) incur a US$125 charge and the ticket is reissued, with some carriers charging you a service fee. Date/time changes are permitted at no charge, but routing changes incur a US$125 charge, and again some carriers charge you a service fee. The rules don't state that routing changes in this case are a reissue (see below about what happens if the rules change). The number of continents/extra flight segments may be increased or decreased and you will be charged/refunded accordingly. If you change the date or time of your first flight and the ticket price has increased since you bought the ticket, you'll pay the higher fare. If you need to cancel before departure, tickets originating in North or South America incur a penalty of 10% of the ticket price, tickets originating elsewhere incur no penalty. If you need to cancel after departure, all tickets other than those originating in SWP (no penalty) or Japan (lower of 10% penalty or JPY50,000) incur a 10% penalty. You may get a refund of the unused portion of your ticket based on the cost of the flights used to date and the penalty due.

Q: What happens if the rules on my ticket change, or are about to change?
A: If the rules change before your ticket is issued, then the new rules will apply and you will have to change any existing reservations that are not permitted under the new rules. If the rules change after your ticket is issued, the rules that apply are those that were in force when your ticket was issued. But be aware - if after the rules change you want to cancel the ticket, or to do something not permitted under the old rules, then the ticket will be cancelled and reissued, and the new rules will apply. If you are worried about rule changes and want to maximize your flexibility, set your last flight to be 12 months after the date of your first flight (which is permitted). This gives you 12 months' worth of flexibility once you start travelling since date changes are currently free of charge. To give yourself even more flexibility, get your ticket issued up to 12 months in advance of your first flight (which is also permitted), which gives you an effective 2 year lock on the rules as long as you don't change that first flight.

Q: How much does the ticket cost?
A: The base ticket price depends on the number of continents you visit, a minimum of three and a maximum of six, and the starting country. Oneworld no longer publishes a list of base ticket prices. Taxes and charges are added to this base ticket price as determined by your itinerary. Note that similar or even identical itineraries can thus have varied pricing depending on which airlines you fly and/or use to ticket as charges can vary between airlines flown and ticketing . Infants under 2 and not occupying a seat are charged 10% of the adult fare. Children 2-11 and occupying a seat are charged 75% of the adult fare, except for tickets originating in India where they pay 67% of the adult fare.

Q: If I pony up the money for an A ticket, which routes still have "real" first class?
A: This is a bit of a moving target, but essentially the following routes have traditional first class service on a three class plane (all include the reverse routes too):

AA - LHR to LAX, JFK, ORD, BOS and MIA; NRT to LAX, SJC and JFK; GRU to MIA and JFK; DFW to LGW and FRA; and some flights MIA to EZE
CX - HKG to LHR, JFK, LAX, YVR, FRA, SFO, and CDG; some flights HKG to HND, and unpredictably to NRT, SIN, BKK, MNL, KIX, SEL, TPE, and CGK.
JL - HND to CDG, LHR, and SFO; NRT to JFK, LAX, ORD, CGK, and SYD.
QF - LAX to JFK, SYD and MEL; SYD-SFO + SFO-YVR (seasonal), LHR to SIN, BKK, HKG, SYD and MEL; some flights HKG to SYD and MEL, SYD-JNB (seasonal F Class offering?), although one weekly SYD-JNB (Fridays?) and SYD-SFO service is operated by Qantas' 2-class 747-400s (no First Class, only J/Y).
QR - Any route served by the Airbus 380.
LA - SCL to MAD, FRA, AKL, and SYD

Q: Have there been any problems with handwritten tickets?
A: You need to confirm that each airline receives the ticket number for the flights that are booked on them. In particular, Cathay has been known to cancel space if it has not received the ticket number. Although the booking airline should send the ticket number to all airlines on the itinerary, it is best to call Cathay to assure they have received it.

 Booking Class:
 AA(except AA2755-6099) A D I L
 AA2755-6099 D/Y D/Y I L
 S7 D D D L
 AY International D D I L
 AY Domestic Y Y Y L
 JL International A D I L
 JL/NU Domestic F J J Y
 LA International J/W D/W I/W L
 XL/4M International J/W D I L
 LA/XL/4M Domestic Y Y Y L

Miles and Status:

This is a very difficult section, since what you will earn in terms of miles and elite status depends on which airline program you want to use. As a related point, you may find that a routing needs to be constructed using or avoiding certain oneworld airlines because of the mileage-earning implications. For instance, L class tickets on BA gets 25% miles when booked to the QF program, but the same L ticket on the QF codeshare earns 100% QF miles. All programs are geared off the booking class, so knowing the booking class and the flight number/operator are the key points. The best advice is to thoroughly check the earning rules for your preferred program(s), and if necessary, post questions on your local airline forum if you are unsure. That said, there a very general FAQ that the regulars on this forum thought should be posted.

Q: I know that the booking classes are A, D and L, but what happens to my miles if I am booked into another class?
A: Generally you will earn miles for the class in which you travel. If you are downgraded from A to D, you will earn D miles/status. Similarly, if you are on a domestic US flight and your D ticket is booked into the A inventory, you will earn A miles/status. If you upgrade individual flights, you receive the miles for the flight in which you were booked originally (ie. before the upgrade) except for pre-paid WT+ upgrades where you get the applicable WT+ miles/status. As said above, on board upgrades on BA earn miles/status for the class originally booked.

Q: Is there a consistent baggage limit, and if so, what is it?
A: The xONEx checked baggage allowance is 2 pieces. Each carrier can specify its own limit on the maximum weight allowed per piece. On some it is 32kg, on others it is 23kg, and there may be variations for some flights (eg QF domestic prop flights have a lower limit).

Further Information:
All the above information comes from the universal starfiles, which are the rules applicable to these (and other) tickets. Some very nice FTers have obtained copies of the rules and posted them on their websites. Note though that since the airlines do not routinely make the starfiles available to the public there may be a time lag in updated files becoming available to this community.

The oneworld.com does now routinely publish the rules which can be found by searching on their website via http://www.oneworld.com/search-results?q=rules

Validity Tools to check your routing
This tool is great for doing initial validity checks on your routing: http://www.slfft.org/mm/award.htm

If this location is inaccessible, see this thread for more information: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/onewo...ml#post6954703

Earning AA miles & status https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...-miles-aa.html

AB Air Berlin shut down 28 Oct 2017
LA Latam left OW May 2020
AT joined OW 1 April 2020

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Old Dec 21, 20, 1:10 pm
Moderator, OneWorld
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SEA
Programs: RAA RIP; AA ExEXP
Posts: 11,183
Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
From the wiki: The information in this wiki is out of date - please see the information in the wiki in this new thread ---> The Oneworld Explorer User GuideW
I am closing this thread but keeping it as a sticky for archival purposes. Please use the new guide, referenced above.

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