Round The World – in 8 Days

Philleas Fogg, in Jules Verne’s novel “Around the World in 80 Days”, considered it a challenge to circumnavigate the world in under 80 days. He had a bet and a limit of £20,000, to achieve it. Nowadays of course, it seems ludicrous that it might take this long and if you try really hard and have the funds you can go Round the World (RTW) in under 80 hrs by normal airlines. In fact, 50 hours is almost achievable as shown by this executive doing it in just under 52 hrs. Quite an achievement! So what is the challenge in doing a RTW inside 8 days? Should be easy right? Well… not so easy it seems if you are on a budget.

First off… I want to establish some background as to why I want to go RTW at all. Basically, it is very simple… I love flying, both as a passenger and a pilot of over 40 years, I have done so all my life, and having done a few long flights in the past couple of years I have been inspired to do something a bit whacky and fly around the world , with only limited breaks, just for the fun and challenge. I wanted to do it in under 80 hrs and as I said, this is achievable but not on a tight budget. So I have gone for under 8 days which is not exactly a leisurely pace but much more realistic for my aging body and diminishing wallet!

Initially I thought the real challenge might be in doing it all in economy class but I am nearly 60 now and I felt that this might be a step too far. So I have opted to do most of it in business class although there are a few economy legs just to keep the cost down.

I can almost hear you all saying – so where is the challenge? Surely it is just a few flights and you are back to your starting point? People are doing this kind of thing all the time aren’t they? Well, not exactly…

Creating the Itinerary

Unless you have a friendly travel agent willing to put in the time to find you the right flights you have to find a combination of flights, with the right timings and at the right prices yourself. This in itself took me days… no…  weeks of research searching various combinations of flights and routes trying to find an acceptable route at an acceptable price.

It is quite easy to find a RTW itinerary if price is not a concern but you could easily spend £7000 or a lot more on this trip in business class if you just accepted the first flight combinations that you found… my budget was £2000! As you will see, I blew my budget but not by much and I consider it a pretty good price for taking me around the world business class.

The thing is this: people don’t go RTW like this very often and when they do they generally want to get the most from the trip and stop off everywhere to get the best value out of the cost and time. Typically, RTW holidays take 6 weeks or more so airlines have special tickets to allow RTW trips that make the most of these assumptions. However, what I wanted to do is fly around the world with the minimal of stops and minimum of elapsed time and so I could not utilise those special RTW tickets. I had to put together the itinerary myself.

I will do a separate post about Planning and Booking the Trip – how I found the flights, what software I used and what planning was needed prior to booking – but for now here is the outline of what I will be doing.


Basically I am taking advantage of some special pricings on a couple of one-way routes – specifically:

  • Málaga–> Delhi via Helsinki with Finnair
  • Delhi –> New York via Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo with Malaysian Airlines

I wanted to start in London so my first leg is to Málaga. This is a easy flight at the start of the trip and so I am going Economy with British Airways with  an overnight stop in Málaga. Then the Finnair flights to Delhi with an overnight stop there. Then the Malaysian flights to New York with an overnight stop in Tokyo to facilitate the change of airport from Narita to Haneda. Then on the same day on to London with BA.

From To Airline
LHR (London) AGP (Málaga) British Airways
AGP (Málaga) HEL (Helsinki) Finnair
HEL DEL (Delhi) Finnair
DEL KUL (Kuala Lumpur) Malasian Airlines
KUL NRT (Tokyo) Malasian Airlines
HND (Tokyo) JFK (New York) Japan Airlines Marketed by Malasian Airlines
JFK LHR (London) British Airways

If things go to plan then the whole trip should be just over 7 days and I will have achieved my objective to go around the world in under 8 days.

Of course, this is travel and this is flying… things often go wrong… but that is half the fun and half the challenge!

Watch out for the next installment 🙂

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