Planning A Round-The-World Trip On SkyTeam’s Forgotten Airlines?

Filed Under: China Southern, Garuda Indonesia

As you guys know, this year I’ve made a point of reviewing as many new airlines as possible. So far I’m pretty pleased with how I’ve done. Even though the year is slowly coming to a close, in 2017 my goal is to review even more new airlines than this year. I’m in the process of planning something that seems like a fun way to kick this off.

The SkyTeam products I’ve already reviewed

This year I’ve enjoyed reviewing several new SkyTeam products for the first time, including the following:

China-Airlines-Business-Class-777 - 8
This year I flew China Airlines’ excellent 777 business class

This is in addition to SkyTeam premium cabin reviews I’ve written in prior years, which include the following:

Delta-One-London - 3
Last year I flew Delta One from Los Angeles to London

Furthermore, I’ll soon be flying Garuda Indonesia first class, which I’m very excited about.

Flying SkyTeam business class around the world

I’ve enjoyed trying more SkyTeam airlines, as a lot of the airlines have surprised me. For example, China Eastern was significantly worse than I was expecting, while Aeroflot and Xiamen were significantly better than I was expecting.

Since I still have quite a few SkyTeam products to try, I figured I might as well have some fun with it. I’m trying to decide the best way to approach that. Here are the SkyTeam airlines I’d most like to review:

  • Aerolineas Argentinas’ A330 business class
  • Air Europa’s 787 business class
  • China Southern’s 777 or A380 business class
  • Garuda Indonesia’s 777 business class
  • Kenya Airways’ 787 business class
  • Korean Air’s 747-8 or 777-300ER business class
  • MEA’s A330 business class
  • Vietnam Airlines’ 787 business class


How I plan on booking this

I’m still in the early stages of planning this, but my intent is to book a combination of discounted business class tickets and also award flights.

Like I said, at this point I’m just looking at options, though I figured I’d share what I’ve been thinking in general, and maybe you guys can inspire my further.

Here’s what I’m thinking in general.

I could start by flying China Southern business class from New York to Guangzhou.


Then maybe I could fly Kenya Airways business class from Guangzhou to Bangkok, which is a cool fifth freedom route they operate.


Then I could grab a connection to Jakarta, and try Garuda Indonesia’s 777 business class from Jakarta to Amsterdam.


I could then return back to Asia on a cheap Vietnam Airlines business class fare.


Then I could head back to Europe in Korean Air’s new business class.


And then from Europe I could take Aerolineas Argentinas to Buenos Aires.


And then that’s the part in the travel planning process where I stick this on a map and come to the conclusion that I’ve gone too far. 😉


So it’s back to the drawing board to simplify this a bit…

Bottom line

I’m serious about planning a crazy round the world trip on SkyTeam, though clearly I have to refine this a bit. I realize I probably won’t be able to get all airlines on one trip, but I have to find a way to combine more products onto individual itineraries, since I plan on booking this all as several one way tickets. If only Delta was better about displaying award availability for all partners online, and also publishing award charts, which would make it easier to figure out how some of these flights could be consolidated onto single awards.

If anyone has any inspiration or ways to simplify parts of this, I’d of course love it. I think I’ve completely lost my mind with this one, though…

  1. @lucky, have you looked at booking a round-the-world itinerary using Flying Blue miles? Would that limit your airline/cabin choices?

  2. This is exactly the sort of insanity I love reading and to which I aspire. One small point – you somehow left out TAROM. Since they’re a FlyingBlue partner, maybe you could sneak in a stop in Bucharest, though I don’t know what long-haul routes they fly – if any. Either way, it can’t be as bad as your flight on Ukrainian International…or can it?

  3. @ Bobby J — It seems the biggest plane they fly is a 737, so doubt there’s much fun to review about a shorthaul product. But perhaps I’ll still be able to make that part of the itinerary. Hmmm…

  4. @lucky RO at least has a real shorthaul business class class product: flew their 737 a few years ago, and it was a very, very nice ride for Europe. It may be worth a connection to try it out.

  5. Hey Ben! Try Azul’s new business class on their A330, they fly from VCP to FLL and MCO (near GRU – São Paulo – Brazil). From EZE to SAO you could fly LATAM’s widebodies or even Emirates First to GIG or Qatar and Turkish to GRU! As brazilian, I would love to see something here

  6. Lucky: I’d really like to try more SkyTeam longhaul business class products.
    Also Lucky: Book them all in one trip.

  7. Jet blue mint Los Ángeles-new york, NY-buenos aires aerolíneas argentinas, Buenos Aires-Madrid air Europa,madrid-seoul korean air,seul-bangkok garuda,bangkok canton kenya airways ,canton london china southern, london beirut london MEA, conetion to dublin,lisbon or palermo to return lo LAX with air lingus,tap portugal or meridiana

    Hope you like it

  8. Oh I think you can also go instead of a transatlantic fligth you can go from london to vietnam in vietnam and vietnam to LAX in turkish buisness since you have not review it yet

  9. Lucky how many articles have written with the opening line…”as you guys know, I’ve been trying to review as many new airlines as possible recently”? Yes. We know. You state it daily.

    Are you succeeding?

    Instead of less pointless news threads maybe you could focus on actually writing these articles? Please. I log on and scroll through 15 rubbish articles until I get to a review.

  10. I might remove the travel dates from the screenshots so that people don’t have a clue about your exact flights, and don’t f* with your itineraries as they did that one time before.

  11. @ erick allen — Appreciate you looking out for me, but in this case dates are totally random and don’t represent when I’m thinking of flying. 🙂

  12. Are CSA not getting forgotten too…?

    And don’t they fly PRG-ICN? That could *totally* fit. 😀

    Not to mention costing a stonking 25,610 Etihad Guest miles in Business, though I’ve no idea what award availability is like.

  13. I thought my trip around the world in July 2017 was crazy, ORD-LHR-AUH-MLE-SIN-SYD-AKL-HND-ORD, but yours is INSANE!!

  14. Ben, continuing my previous comment, you could make EZE-GIG/GRU and then VCP-FLL/MCO. You could make the first step on LATAM (could redeem miles from AAdvantage), TK, QR, EK and AR. The Second step in Azul’s A330 (United miles here).
    It would be awesome!

  15. Maybe you could simplify it a bit by doing it in 2 trips:JFK-CAN(China Southern)-BKK(Kenya Airways)-KUL(Ethiopian Airlines)-HAN-CDG(Vietnam Airlines)-AMS-SFO(KLM), Your second trip would be LAX-ICN(Korean Air)-CGK-AMS(Garuda Indonesia)-MAD-EZE(Air Europa)-JFK(Aerolineas Argentinas)
    Any thoughts?

  16. Just do it. It would be an awesome journey. I’d add a day or so in between some of the trips to get proper rest in a bed, but definitely to string together a trip like this would be highly memorable.

  17. Thanks. Get on it fast. I glanced at the articles today. All boring. Didn’t bother to click on any. We need your trip reports soon.

  18. @lucky Let’s continue this route. Boliviana from EZE to MAD via VVI on their 767, then take Air Europa 787 back to MIA.

  19. I’d be very keen to see you review China southern and Vietnam airlines. They invariably have the absolute cheapest business class fares between Australian and Europe and I’d like to know what I’m letting myself in for.

  20. Ben, what about AZ?

    It’s part of SkyTeam, it’s got a totally refurbished J class, onboard WiFi, the same catering you loved.

    There must be a sector you can fit it in, right? 😉

  21. You are a flying beast! I hate to fly. I mean I face my fear on a regular basis, but I truly hate it. I almost drove home 14 hours this week so I could skip the connections after transpacific turbulence. I hate driving too so cost plus fatigue kept me on my mileage run/trek. I do fine unless there is turbulence. Being a non drinker doesn’t help.

  22. Ben, we live vicariously through you. 🙂

    You have inspired me to take the long route and not to be afraid of stopping overnight in a random city to work an award or paid fare deal.

  23. You could take Xiamen business from Guangzhou to BKK or an airline you’ve tried. Then Air India BKK to Mumbai and Kenya Air Mumbai to Nairobi. Since you’ve been keen to try Air India business class, I felt while you go up and down around Asia you might as well drop in to Mumbai.

  24. You may want to consider a round the world free ticket for 250k delta points business class but you have to book far in advance and may not get the flights or airlines you want.

  25. Lucky you are wrong about TAROM, they fly an A310 as well. it has a very interesting business class cabin (2-3-2) cradle recliners, basically an old school J product that many airlines used to have a decade ago.
    It could be a good option if you want to visit TLV on your way.

  26. think I cracked it…. 1) LAX-CAN on China Southern; 2) CAN-BKK on Kenya Airways; 3) BKK-SGN-SYD on VIetnam Airlines; 4) SYD-CGK-NRT on Garuda Indonesia; 5) NRT-ICN-FRA on Korean Air; 6) FRA-BEI on MEA or via OTP on TAROM; 7) BEI-CDG on MEA; 8) CDG-EZE on Air Europa; 9) EZE-MIA/NYC on Aerolineas Argentinas.

  27. How about trying Czech Airlines from Korea to Europe? It is one of less know airlines, doesn’t have much reviews either. It would be fun to mix it all up and try something less…predictable 😉 A lot of added value for your blog as well IMHO.

  28. Do it Ben!! Suggest you add Garuda Indonesia’s new business class on board their new A333 to connect your missing link between ICN and KUL (via CGK) or between CAN and CGK before you start your CGK-AMS segment.

  29. Would recommend for your world trip:
    – UX MIA-MAD
    – RO MAD-OTP
    – RO OTP-LCA (or any TAROM other route that is not operated by 737-800 or ATR)
    – Then to KBP direct with UIA or indirect with Air Moldova, and A9 KBP-TBS (Instead, you could do LCA-TBS with Aeroflot if you want to stay within Skyteam).
    – AM MEX-EZE
    – AR EZE-JFK

  30. For the rest of the airlines you mention, maybe you could get a USA-Korea flight with Korean, ICN, continuing to MNL, then to CGK on Garuda, to HAN and BKK on Vietnam, to NBO and CDG on Kenya, to PRG and FCO on CSA, to BEY on Alitalia, to RUH on MEA and then Saudia to anywhere.

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