Brien – thanks for getting this started.
I’m curious about around the world tickets. In McMurdo last summer, Dawn from the Chalet gave a great presentation about how to do an around the world trip… It wasn’t about the details from trips, but rather it was about how to book it, and what was available for USAP participants. One thing she mentioned was that you could call a 1-800 # in the states, that went straight to the One World Alliance people (the around the world alliance that Signature Travel, Quantas & American Airlines are all part of), and plan your trip directly through them. Then, when you get off the Ice, you take that itinerary directly to Signature Travel and have them book it for you, based off of that itinerary… then you make sure that you get the original itinerary canceled, and only have the one from Signature. It’s smooth, and it saves the Signature Travel folks from trying to answer all the questions, and lets you go straight to the folks who plan/book around the world tickets full time. ANYWAY, we’re planning on doing an around the word ticket this time around. I wanted to start planning it, and so I went to the One World Allience website (OneWorld.com) and tried to get info. I couldn’t find what I was looking for, and so I want to call them. Well, I can’t find that 1-800 # that Dawn was talking about, the website just said to get ahold of one of their affiliate airline companies, and they can book the ticket for you. But I distintly remember Dawn mentioning a 1-800 #…. Was anyone else at that presentation? Or does someone know what that number is? What experiences have any of you had with booking an around the world flight?
Ok, beyond the subject of an around the world ticket, and on just leisure travel in general…. Signature seemed to do allright. We delt with Natasha, and everyone else I talked to delt with her, and she was great. They had set prices for common Leisure travel places: Australia (Sydney) & Hawaii (Honolulu). As far as going to other places in Australia, besides just Sydney, there was an aditional cost. Some people had Signature book those tickets, but we found it was cheaper to book our tickets on our own (for travel in Australia, I recomend JetStar, or check Virgin Blue for specials). For flying into Hawaii, you have to go to Honolulu, BUT you can fly out of one of the airports on a different island. Signature did not share that fact with us – we’d heard it from another ice person – but when we asked about it, Signature was able to accomadate… So, we flew into Honolulu, and booked our own island hopper to the big island, and then continued on the USAP ticket by flying out of Kona.
When we got off the Ice, we only spent a few days in Christchurch… we did not yet know all of our travel plans, and when we wanted to go where, and all those details. We had our meeting with Natasha at Signature, and she helped us figure out options (ie: how much it cost to go to Tasmania), BUT, we did not book our tickets at that time. She told us to email her within our 30 day window. So, as we traveled, we started figuring out when when wanted to do our other legs, and we sent her an email, and she booked it for us. Oh, she took our credit card info when we were in the Signature travel offiice right after we got off the Ice, and then actually ran it 30 days later when we emailed her.
I’m curious to hear what people have to say about Leisure Travel. And if anyone has info on the around the world tickets, please share!