Business Class seats invariably offer great comfort and fabulous service but often have a hefty price tag. Knowing you paid a fraction of the cost of the person seated next to you would be a triumph.
For those in the know, there are plenty of ways to get tickets at rock-bottom rates - it just takes a bit of time, effort, planning and flexibility.
The BusinessClass.com guide to finding the best Business Class offers:
Search and Compare:
This may seem obvious, but exploring and evaluating alternatives is essential if you are going to bag the best possible flight deals. Let BusinessClass.com take the load with its flight search engine, comparing hundreds of travel sites at once to find you the lowest possible premium cabin fares. The website is packed with the latest trends, images, videos, seat maps and other details, making it even easier to find a perfect choice. Compare and find the best deals at BusinessClass.com.
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Buy Tickets in Advance:
The saying goes, "the early bird catches the worm", which is true when shopping for Business Class tickets. Timing is everything. Get it right, and you might get a Business Class flight at a significant discount. The ideal time to start searching for the best value deal is four months before the departure date and any time up to three weeks before. Book any later, and you risk skyrocketing prices, as airlines know you have no choice but to pay for the flight on offer. An exception to this is when you know that you have to fly on peak dates, e.g., flying home to meet family for the holidays. In such cases, the lowest fares are often available when flights open for booking, typically 330-360 days before departure. Another option is to find an airline that offers Business Class tickets with an auction upgrade. The airline sets a minimum and maximum price for a seat, and the highest bid wins. Before bidding, check how busy the upgraded cabin is by selecting a regular Business Class seat and see how many seats are available – the busier the cabin, the higher you'll need to bid to secure a seat. Of course, some aircraft will offer more Business Class seats than others, providing a greater opportunity to snag a bargain. Many airlines offer this auction option, including Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Qantas and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).
Fly in “Shoulder Season”:
Many destinations have 'shoulder seasons' – the time between a specific destination's high and low travel seasons. It typically refers to spring and autumn months being between the peak and off-peak months, when children are back at school, making it cheaper to travel, with quieter destinations to visit. Do your research – the global seasons offer passengers fantastic scope to take advantage of this lull in flight demand. Here are a few destination examples to whet the appetite: January and February – Morocco and Egypt – check out British Airways, Turkish Airlines and EgyptAir for great prices. March and April – UK, Ireland, Western Europe, Hawaii, and the Australian Outback – look for lower-priced seats with Aer Lingus, SWISS Air Lines, Air France, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates. May and June – Japan, Thailand and Australia – consider ANA, JAL, Iberia, Finnair, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar, and Etihad Airways. September and October – South Africa, the Mediterranean, Dubai and Canada – look for deals with TAP Air Portugal, Air France, Qatar Airways, KLM, and Air Canada. November and December – South Pacific, Costa Rica, the Caribbean and North America – look for deals with Fiji Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, United Airlines and American Airlines. One thing is for sure – airlines don't like empty seats, so look out for sales at certain times of the year. All airlines run unique fare campaigns, with many running them almost back-to-back. Two of the best times of the year for promotions are just after Christmas (December 26th until the end of January) and then again from late August to September.
Play with your Weekend Dates and Avoid Peak Business Travel times:
If you are planning a short-haul weekend break, think creatively. Shy away from Thursday-Sunday and look at Saturday-Monday or Tuesday instead. Adding a few more days before or after your trip may make a big difference to the price at the checkout. It often pays to add a Saturday night stay. Generally, the cheapest airfares require a Saturday overnight stay at the destination. This makes the fare less attractive to corporate travellers, but it often works well for leisure trips. For long-haul flights, most corporate travellers prefer Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Saturday is popular with everyone. The best offers are often available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Typically for short-haul, the best Business Class offers are often on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Consider Unsociable Flight Times:
When choosing to fly to long-distance destinations, many passengers prefer overnight flights. If a daytime flight is available, this is often considered less attractive and is priced lower. This is particularly great if you love enjoying Business Class with great food, drinks and entertainment at your fingertips. You won't want to sleep and miss out on all the perks - but if you do, Business Class seats have great beds too. Choosing the earliest flight of the day pays dividends. Some of the cheapest fares are early morning flights – around 6 am. So, if you are prepared to rise like a lark to arrive at check-in, you stand a greater chance of a reduced ticket. All the best deals unfold during unsociable hours, so you're covered if you don't mind setting off to the airport in the dead of night.
Be Flexible on Timing:
One way to be ahead of the rest is to plan Business Class travel when others choose not to. School holidays are busy with family escapes. However, it is also when many business folk book time off to spend with their families, leaving more seats in Business Class since most family groups choose economy.
Think of Alternative Destinations and Consider an Extra Stop
If you can be more flexible on location, you can save a packet for Business Class flights. When searching, ask yourself if other destinations serve the same purpose. For example, a weekend break in Brussels can be just as great as a weekend in London, but it is cheaper as it is less popular. For a beach holiday, consider less obvious ones, such as Vietnam instead of Thailand. It is always wise to avoid popular hubs, particularly if travelling during school holidays. In general, there is a higher willingness to pay for non-stop flights. If you are prepared to add a stop, it often reduces the fare significantly. For example, flying from Frankfurt to New York may be more economical to fly Business Class on British Airways than Lufthansa. The BA fare starting from Frankfurt may be cheaper than starting from London, even if the itinerary includes more flights.
Be Open to Other Airlines
The best offers are often on airlines with lower influence on the market. It goes without saying that newer airlines are willing to work harder to impress. Typically, the "home carrier" can afford to be less aggressive on fares in its home market, while competitors must use lower fares to attract passengers. If travelling from Singapore to Europe, it will almost always be cheaper to book Finnair or KLM than Singapore Airlines, while the opposite may be true in the other direction. Don't discount low-cost carriers. There are some excellent options for Business Class travellers, plus many major airlines operate an alternative cheaper subsidiary carrier. The Business Class offerings may not be the same premium product as the primary airline, but finding great seats and elevated perks for less cost is still possible. Check out some of these great alternatives: JetBlue – a New York-based low-cost airline. Jetstar – a subsidiary of Qantas. Eurowings Discover – a long-haul leisure airline of the Lufthansa Group. Scoot Airlines– a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines. Flydubai – Dubai-based low-cost airline.
Consider Alternative Airports or Hubs
Being prepared to fly to other places close to your destination can bring down the cost of a Business Class flight. Sometimes an alternative airport is nearby, which may be easily reached by car or train. For example, flying to or from Düsseldorf may be cheaper than flying in or out of Brussels or Amsterdam. This strategy may not make sense for short trips but can work well for long-haul flights. It may even make sense to reposition by air to a different country for significant savings.
Take Advantage of Companion Fares
Airlines are looking for ways to make Business Class tickets available to the more price-sensitive leisure market at reduced fares without losing revenue from less price-sensitive corporate travellers. Known in the industry as "ringfencing", one way airlines do this is to offer "companion fares", which are only available when a minimum of two passengers travel together on the entire trip. These fares are typically available on a campaign basis.
Industry tips can help you to secure a great deal for a Business Class flight that won't break the bank. The key is to plan, be flexible and stay informed. The best way to do all that is to ensure that you sign up for the BusinessClass.com newsletter to keep on top of all the latest deals and offers.
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