oneworld is set to be the first in the travel industry to sell multi-airline round-the-world air fares on-line. It is on track to launch its on-line booking facility in the next few months, initially for oneworld Explorer. This is among the most popular multi-airline tickets worldwide, enabling passengers to travel right around the world using the flights of any of oneworld’s ten member airline and 20 or so affiliates, who together serve some 700 destinations in approaching 150 countries.
Until now, while travellers have been able to plan through the internet their journeys using alliance or multi-airline fares, they have had to contact airlines or travel agents to complete their bookings and pay for them.
With the launch of oneworld’s new booking tool, they will for the first time be able to complete this entire process on-line, via oneworld.com or the website of their preferred oneworld airline. Travel agents worldwide will also have access to this facility.
The system will enable customers to plan oneworld Explorer round-the-world trips, which can be of up to 16 segments. As a customer builds his or her itinerary, it
will verify flight availability, displaying only flights that have seats available for the date and routes selected. It will automatically validate that the itinerary meets all fare rules and conditions - and then provide an instant price. Once a customer has finalised his or her itinerary, he or she will be able to pay on-line using a credit card and print out all the details before his or her e-tickets are delivered by email.
The first phase of this development - enabling customers to plan their journeys using oneworld Explorer - was rolled out late in 2007. The project - which has been led on behalf of all the alliance’s carriers by Qantas - should be completed in the coming months with the addition of the booking and payment facility.
oneworld Vice-President Commercial Nicolas Ferri said: “oneworld will be the first in the world to enable customers to book and pay on-line for any kind of multi-airline round-the-world ticket. The tremendous value and flexibility our oneworld Explorer provides combined with this soon-to-be-introduced convenience of planning, booking and paying for tickets on-line will further solidify the leadership of oneworld and its member airlines in this area. We are delighted to be the first and only alliance to offer this level of convenience to our customers and travel agency partners.
“With so many possibilities of places to visit and routes to take, planning and booking this kind of ticket can be time-consuming - both for our customers and sales representatives. Our new, easy-to-use on-line booking and payment facility will simplify the entire operation, saving our customers a huge amount of time and providing them with far more flexibility in planning their trips. It will also reduce costs for our member airlines and free up time of airline and travel agency reservations agents to handle other tasks.”
Unlike other round-the-world fares, oneworld Explorer’s price is based on the number of continents visited (three to six), not the mileage flown, making planning and pricing journeys much more simple and flexible. It covers flights worldwide by all oneworld member and affiliate airlines.
With oneworld the only airline alliance with members based in South America, Australia or the Middle East, it is just the ticket for anyone who truly wants to circumnavigate the globe.
It offers great flexibility and value, generating the largest portion of the US$725 million revenues earned by oneworld for its member airlines through its alliance fares and sales activities in 2007. It was used by around 50,000 people last year.
oneworld Explorer can be booked for travel in Economy, Premium Economy (where available), Business or even First Class, and earn frequent flyer programme mileage awards and tier status points. Prices from the USA start at US$3,900 excluding taxes and charges. For lead-in prices from other countries and full details, see www.oneworld.com/ow/air-travel-options/round-the-world-fares.
More than three years ago, oneworld became the first of the global alliances to put in place interline e-ticketing (IET) links between all members of the grouping, enabling customers to travel with the convenience of just one electronic ticket for journeys involving any combination of alliance’s member airlines. Rival alliances have only recently completed links between their own member airlines.