Star Alliance have a new addition to their multi-fare online booking service. In addition to Round-the-World trips, flyers can now arrange and purchase region-specific Circle Fares.
The update means customers will be able to book Circle Fares online without having to go through a travel agent. Only the first flight needs to be booked, so passengers are free to change their itinerary as plans shift. Flights are limited to the member carriers of the alliance.
Multi-fare flights like these are perfect for business travellers making trips throughout the world, without a return to their home country being necessary. Circle Fares cover three regions, with Circle Asia, Circle North Asia and Circle Pacific on offer. Circle Pacific gives the widest range of coverage, including Australia and New Zealand.
The smaller Circle trips give you up to 6 months of travel, with flights restricted to either Asia or the Pacific. A Star Alliance "Round the World" ticket will give you up to 16 flights throughout any location in the world, and you'll be able to travel for 10 to 365 days.
oneworld has already fully implemented online booking for multi-fare flights. When buying multi-fares with SkyTeam, customers need to contact a travel agent or each individual airlines they plan to fly with.
The cost of flights are dependant on how many miles you'll be flying, your starting country (which must also be your final destination), additional fees that may apply, and of course the class you'll be flying in.
It's worth finding a smaller country that offers cheaper rates to start from, as this could reduce your ticket price by thousands.
Flyers aren't allowed to have more than three stopovers in any one country, except the USA where five are possible. Only one stopover is permitted per city.
Prices for business class round-the-world fares are about double the price of economy, which is far less than you would have to pay for a single one-way or return flight.
With 28 member airlines, Star Alliance offers the widest coverage throughout the world, covering 162 countries. oneworld and SkyTeam both have 11 members, with the quality of SkyTeam's coverage coming a distant third.