| Bernd Kubisch |
PUERTO AYORA/BERLIN (dpa) – Astronauts do it in 90 minutes. For the rest of us earth-bound humans, flying around the planet is a matter of how much time, effort, and money we are able, or willing, to invest.
Some people will fly around the world in two weeks, making four stops along the way, while others will find air travel packages in which they can spread it out for a year or more, with upwards of a dozen stops.
Some will travel light, with just a backpack, while others will find it necessary to have two suitcases. Everyone shares perhaps one thing, what the Germans call “wanderlust” or the travel itch.
Europeans will go seeking the sun in Asian paradise spots in India, Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia.
Asian travellers may find the lure of such cities as Paris, Rome, Berlin or London, or the chance to go hiking and skiing in the Swiss Alps, too great to resist.
World flying tours have become a niche market, statistics on which are sparse.
“Above all it is the younger traveller who wants to fly the globe, hopefully on a small budget,” notes Sibylle Zeuch, spokeswoman for the German Travel Industry Association DRV.
“Many combine such travel abroad with getting their first jobs or traineeships.” Others may have enough money for major travel, but only scarce time.
Those whose professions permit it may take a sabbatical year off to travel. Others patiently save up their money year after year until they go into retirement.
Amid the trends, a number of travel agents have started to specialise in student fares, starting at around 1,500 euros (US$1,850).
Most of the round-the-world tickets are usually based on offerings by the three major airline alliances – One World (LAN, American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific), Star Alliance (Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Air New Zealand), and Sky Team (Air France, KLM, Delta).
Given all these airlines and the destinations they serve, the combinations are virtually unlimited, and much of the travel can be booked online.
Given such a prospect, the temptation for many is to try to do too much – something that one experienced traveller and travel agent, Henning Manninga, advises against.
Himself a round-the-world flyer and head of the Reiss Aus agency – a clever pun in German that can mean both “to travel” and “to break out” – Manninga thinks it better to book fewer destinations, leaving time to explore them more intensively. “Usually, less means more,” he says about selecting a flying itinerary.
If money is less of an issue, then there is the luxury segment of around-the-globe flying. For 33,000 euros, an agency called Windrose will organise a 28-day tour covering nine destinations, including such highlights as the Iguazu waterfalls, Easter Island, Tahiti, Bora Bora and Bali.
The price includes flying business class, and a chauffeur and private travel guide at each stop.
Further offerings in the upper market segment provide for so-called A La Carte trips, with the customer first vacationing in some luxury seaside hotel suite on Hawaii or the Seychelles, and then jetting off to Namibia for a dinner under the stars.
With the right quantity of pocket money, the customer is king in choosing where, when and how to fly around our planet.