Oneworld’s Explorer to cut flight sectors

17 Jan 2008 by Mark Caswell
The arrival of e-ticketing means that possible flight sectors offered by the Explorer round-the-world ticket will be cut from 20 to 16. This will make this particular deal less attractive because the ticket will still be charged at the same price. Right now one of the multi-continent Explorer ticket’s big selling points is that it provides passengers with more flights than any other RTW offer (a maximum of 20 compared with the 15 of its rivals). The ticket features major carriers like British Airways, Qantas, JAL and Cathay Pacific and is a popular option for travellers heading for the US, Asia and Australasia. The reason is all down to technology. Travel agents now issue a paper ticket to passengers booking more than 16 sectors as that is the greatest number of flights which can be e-ticketed. But the imminent phasing out of paper tickets will spell an end to the practice. A Oneworld spokesperson says: “Oneworld is having to reduce the number of sectors available in its multi-continent [Explorer] fares to 16 because this is the maximum number of sectors which can be supported under the IATA standard for electronic tickets. “The industry, led by IATA [the industry trade body], moves fully into electronic ticketing from the end of May this year. The reasons for the 16-sector limit are mainly technological. Systems can handle only a specific amount of data per ticket and trips involving more than 16 sectors would exceed that limit. Over time, as technology advances, this restriction will hopefully be eased.” According to Oneworld, only “a very, very few people booked itineraries in excess of 16 sectors so the impact of this restriction will be limited”. Passengers planning a 20-sector ticket from June onwards should book as soon as possible before paper tickets are consigned to the scrapheap. For more information go to Report by Alex McWhirter
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