Continuing the previous post on the background of a mini-RTW, and the general information about a mini-RTW, let’s look at what rules a mini-RTW must abide by.
- There must not be any backtracking, with some very specific exceptions. For example, YUL-FRA-MUC-KIX is allowed, while YUL-FRA-MUC-FRA-KIX is not. The exceptions to this rule are cases where no Star Alliance onwards flight is possible, or where the city is not a Star hub – sometimes, backtracking is permitted in this case. For instance, I have seen xxx-FRA-DME-FRA-yyy as an allowed routing (onwards to Asia), because DME is not a Star hub.
- The total mileage of the routing must fall within “maximum permitted mileage” (MPM) +5%. The MPM is a magical number determined by the airlines and it is roughly equivalent to the distance between points A and B, but not obviously so. There are some sources of this information on the Web, and your trip must add up to no more than this amount plus 5%. To use a specific example: the as-the-bird-flies distance between Montreal and Osaka is 6,600 miles. The maximum allowed distance, including 5%, is 12,764 miles when routed over the Atlantic, and 8,862 miles when routed over the Pacific. This means that the total sum of segments that you are flying cannot exceed this amount. However, once within this, you can do more or less whatever you want. So, for instance, you can do YUL-ZRH-MUC-BLQ-IST-BKK-HKG-KIX (which is about 12,343 miles, which is well within the limit), obviously with some stops along the way. You can route the return either KIX-NRT-YYZ-YUL, or if you are feeling adventurous, then something like KIX-ICN-SFO-YUL, which will rub right up against the MPM. It’s a bit tricky finding the right combination of distances and allowed routings, but once you find them, they are well worthwhile as you can stretch your miles even further.
In the next post, we’ll discuss why, despite what I just wrote, it is legal to fly from Montreal to Sydney through Tokyo and Singapore (instead of Los Angeles and/or Vancouver, much more logical choices), and why flying home from Auckland can get you a visit to Tokyo or Beijing.