Qantas pretty much always have fares from Australia to Europe that allow an “Atlantic Pacific” routing, meaning travel via the Americas. For most of the year, these fares start at a fairly high level, usually only in H class and above. It’s generally possible to combine half of one of these fares with half of a lower fare level, for example an O class fare that only allows travel via Dubai and/or Asia to create an itinerary that goes around the world on a return fare to Europe. Even when only using half an H class fare, these can be quite expensive when compared to a straight return to Europe but considerably less than a oneworld round the world ticket.
During earlybird season each year, usually around October, Qantas offer an O class option that allows an Atlantic Pacific routing which can represent an incredibly good value round the world itinerary. For some reason this year Qantas have loaded these fares for sale from now until the 17th of August for departures between the 2nd of October and the 23rd of November and from the 13th of January to the 28th of March. They have only loaded these O class fares for travel to London and not to other cities in Europe but it’s possible to fly into London via the Americas then back to Australia from another European city via Dubai/Asia or the other way around. If you do have some flexibility, it’s better to fly into London and depart from another European country as the UK departure taxes are a bit heavy.
The current O class fares allow one free stopover in each direction and unlimited additional at AU$100 each. The choices for where the stops can be are pretty awesome. In North America you can go via Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Vancouver, Montreal etc. The list goes on and on.
These fares do have route maps rather than a maximum permitted mileage though so there are lots of places that won’t work but most of the bigger American and Canadian cities are included. From North America to London you can use either American Airlines or British Airways.
In South America the options are far more limited, you can only fly into Santiago and on to London with British Airways from either Santiago or Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, the flight from Santiago to Buenos Airways isn’t included as the LATAM flights that operate the route aren’t marketed with a QF flight number.
The cheapest sale fares that allow an Atlantic Pacific routing at the moment are AU$1880 not including taxes and the cheapest fares that go via Dubai/Asia are AU$1325 to London and from AU$1365 to other European destinations.
Here’s an example of what you can do with these fares:
- 1st of March – Sydney to Honolulu on QF3
- 5th of March – Honolulu to Los Angeles on QF3255(operated by American Airlines)
- 12th of March – Los Angeles to New York on QF11
- 16th of March – New York to London on BA182
- 27th of March – Paris to Dubai on EK72
- 2nd of April – Dubai to Sydney on QF8412(operated by Emirates)
The total price for this itinerary is AU$2251.60!
That price is made up of half the return level of the Atlantic Pacific O class fare ($940), half the return level of the Sydney to Paris via Dubai/Asia fare ($683), two AU$100 fees for extra stopovers ($200) and taxes ($428.60).
Booking these fares
While I’m assuming Qantas will release another lot of earlybird fares in a few months time, it’s awesome to see an extra window for booking cheap round the world tickets with Qantas this year. Keep in mind that many online travel agencies will have trouble constructing these and it may be necessary to visit/email a human travel agent to get one booked. When I entered the above itinerary in Skyscanner, I got some pretty horrible options.
OTAs shouldn’t have a problem if you’re putting one together that’s a bit more straight forward than the above example. The screen shots below show the Skyscanner results for an itinerary that just has a stop in New York on the way out and a stop in Dubai on the way back.
How good are these fares?
I wouldn’t necessarily rush to book one of these as I would expect similar options to be released in late September or early October which will likely have a longer travel period. Better for those looking to book for the European summer next year. Having said that, if the current offering suits your travel plans there are some awesome bargains to be had.