Imagine flying in top drawer style without having to spend top dollar prices.For most of us, when we board a plane and pass by the business class cabin, it is attractive to think of the spaciousness and amenities of flying business class. But the difference in price compared to coach can be hard to justify, or simply downright unaffordable.Business class used to be the preserve of passengers willing to shell out big sums. But as air travel has expanded and travellers have learnt more, it has become possible to buy business class flights which are much better value than before. Some business class flights are so heavily discounted you won’t believe that you can fly at the front of the plane for such a low price.We’ve picked the brains of frequent flyers and travel hackers to learn the best ways to buy discount business class flights, and here we share the secrets with you.
Speak to a Business Class Specialist
Online and in the Sunday supplements you will often see small adverts for travel agents specialising in first and business class fares.Some of those agencies really can sell you deeply discounted business class flights. How they do it varies – some buy at wholesale prices and resell with a small markup, some are quietly clearing excess inventory on behalf of the airline, while others are using a variety of creative methods to bend an airline’s pricing rules without breaking them.It is worth speaking to such agencies and asking for a quotation. But before handing over money, check out the reputation of the agency and see whether it is part of a bonded travel agent scheme which may offer you financial reimbursement in the event that the ticket fails to materialise.
Buy in Bulk
If you fly a route regularly you may be able to buy at a deep discount by purchasing multiple tickets simultaneously.Some airlines offer a book of tickets on a given route and the discounts can be substantial to the point that business class fares may even work out cheaper than standalone walk up coach fares. The books allow you to book flights but you still get to choose the dates and specific flights, sometimes with some limitations.
Buy on Offer
Like most other consumer items these days, airline tickets are often sold at discounted prices to attract purchasers.These discounts might be to mark a new route, to beat competitors in a price war or to compensate for lower demand at certain seasons or times. However, while some promotions hang around for a long time, many are pulled just a few days or weeks after they are launched.That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fly so soon – the travel period often spans six months or more. But the booking period is usually quite short. So, to score discount business class flights using this method, it pays to keep a close eye on the available offers. You can do this by signing up for updates from airlines and travel agents, and paying attention to the advertisements airlines often take out to promote their discount campaigns.
Play Around with Your Itinerary
The more flexible you can be with your itinerary, the more likely you are to find discount business class flights.Sometimes, starting from a different airport can make a big difference, for example because a currency devaluation has not yet been factored into the ticket prices. If you don’t mind flying there to start your journey, you can save money even after paying for your positioning flight.Often travelling at quieter times for business travel, for example midweek or on a Saturday, offers business class flights discounted to fill empty seats.Using a specialist tool like ITA Matrix or speaking to a skilled travel agent will help you unlock these sorts of itinerary tricks.
Look into Packages
Airlines often sell their own package deals and sometimes business class packages work out cheaper than the flight alone.This means that you can have the business class ticket at a discount to the normal price, and you have a hotel room you can use for your stay if you want to, at no additional cost.This tends to be truer for airlines who have high business class flight prices to start with, for example those who have a strong position in a given hub airport.
Buy a Paid Upgrade
A paid upgrade is one more way to get a discounted business class flight, although this method is less sure than those where you book into business class at the time of ticket purchase.You can sometimes buy an upgrade when you check in at the airport, while many airlines offer a bidding system whereby you make a cash bid for an upgrade and usually learn some days prior to the flight date whether that has been accepted.Business class flights can go a long way to making air travel both more convenient and more enjoyable. The service is better, there is better food and drink, seats are more spacious and comfortable and you have more flexibility should you need to change your plans. Fortunately, you can now buy discounted business class flights. Use our tips above to look into somewhere you’re thinking of visiting and see how much you can save.