Special Report on Long-Haul Air Travel: Putting a cut-price girdle round about the earth: Operators have bargains for travellers if they eschew routes to the Antipodes via South-east Asia. Simon Calder reports

FARES to Australia and New Zealand being offered by American and antipodean airlines that operate across the Pacific can be as cheap and often less expensive than for routes via the Far East.

For example, at Trailfinders in London you can pick up a scheduled one-way flight from Gatwick to Sydney, Australia, for pounds 270 (plus pounds 12 tax). Or rather, a series of three flights which take you meandering around the globe.

The first goes as far as Boston, where you transfer to a tiny propellor plane to New York, spending the night at your expense there. The next morning you fly to Osaka, losing a complete day. Never before has Japan's second city featured as a stopover on the London-Australia route; console your jetlagged soul with the knowledge that, had you flown here direct on British Airways, it would have cost pounds 683 just to get this far. Finally, 14,000 miles and three days later, you arrive in Sydney.

This is an extreme example of the phenomenon whereby going the long way around to Australia and New Zealand can be cheaper than the route via South-east Asia. British Airways' two-stop service from London to Auckland via Asia is quicker than Air New Zealand's Pacific flight, even though the latter stops only once, in Los Angeles. The time-saving for Australia is greater still.

In a world which has an over-supply of aircraft seats and a shortage of people to fill them, airlines are having to cut fares drastically. Add the over- capacity across the North Atlantic to the glut of seats over the Pacific, and the traveller who is prepared to take the west-bound route to the Antipodes is certain of a bargain.

The North American carriers are able to offer same-airline service all the way to Australia and New Zealand. As well as Northwest Airlines, Canadian, Continental and United Airlines can take you from Gatwick or Heathrow to the Antipodes. The prospect of a stopover in Houston or Toronto may not be quite so tempting as a few days in Bangkok or Bali, but on North American airlines you can almost design your own route.

The Pacific is also enticing: most carriers can offer a Honolulu option, while Air New Zealand offers the chance of a stopover in Tahiti or Fiji. It is the second-largest carrier to Australia, and sells some attractive through fares to seven cities.

Most of these deals are available only through agents. The UK has the world's best discount flight market, and a few calls can save a fortune. Perhaps the perfect solution is to combine a cut-price trans-Pacific flight to Australia and New Zealand with a discount fare across South-east Asia. It does not take a fortune to encircle the globe these days: you can make a round-the-world journey for less than the current excursion return fare from London to Moscow of pounds 723.

It is a buyer's market, and the bargains are there for the taking - especially across the Pacific. 'From the punter's point of view, it's fantastic', says Rob Lawrence of Campus Travel in London. 'There's never been a better time to visit Australasia'.

Even the politicians are coming to the aid of the traveller. The Northwest Airlines special offer is partly the result of a trade dispute. The New York-Osaka-Sydney route is the subject of a wrangle between the US and Japanese authorities. Japan is accusing Northwest of 'poaching' customers between Osaka and Sydney, and has said no more than half the passengers on this sector can originate in Osaka. The remaining 50 per cent of seats have to be filled somehow, and offering impecunious Brits a cheap trip to Australia is one way to do it.

The winners of this particular skirmish are the bleary-eyed voyagers in the transit lounge at Osaka. They may not have any idea of what day it is, but they have the right idea about how to save money on the long haul to Sydney. Goodness knows what the people of Osaka make of it all.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

    £600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

    Commercial Litigation Associate

    Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

    Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

    £65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

    Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little