|Business class - champagne served in real stemware|
Then we laughed at the thought. We know the price of that kind of comfort at 35,000-feet. And we aren’t about to pay it. . .full price anyway!
|Emirates A380 - double-decker - we'll be upstairs|
No, we are not paying the $13,810 (price tag on two one-way tickets). Thanks to frequent flier miles (75,000 miles, each) we are paying only the taxes and fees of less than $100.
|KLM Business Class meals|
|The Scout unkownly demonstrating Business Class seat comfort|
Flexibility is Key to Budget Business Class
You may need to be as flexible as the seats in Business Class in order to nab a ticket though.
|Business Class Seat Position control panel|
If Business Class FF (frequent flier mile) seats aren’t available to your destination from your nearest departure city, try thinking outside the box. Three years ago we flew a KLM flight from Vancouver, British Columbia (our Canadian neighbor) to Amsterdam. We took a 30-minute flight from Seattle to make the connection – as no Business Class seats were available flying directly out of Seattle.
The Emirates flight to Dubai is from San Francisco as there were no FF Business Class seats available on the direct flight to Dubai from Seattle.
|Champagne and leg-room - Business class treats|
Using our trips to Greece as an example, we’ve found that for some unexplained reason, flights from Seattle to Istanbul, Turkey have been cheaper than those to Athens, Greece. We’ve been flying there and catching a short flight to Athens to save several hundred dollars in ticket costs. Could you change your destination to one where seats are available and then use a train or commuter flight to get to where you want to be?
|Istanbul as a hub vs. Athens|
Can you Reverse your Route?
Because we’ll be – in a manner of speaking – commuting between Seattle and Greece the next few years, we can book flights round-trip from Seattle or round-trip to Seattle. If you routinely fly a certain route, check out prices for tickets starting at the other city – you might be surprised at the price difference.
An example: We will be returning to Seattle this spring from Istanbul. While checking prices The Scout happened upon a Business Class airfare, Istanbul – Seattle – Istanbul that was only $300 a ticket more than what we paid for coach class (Seattle- Seattle round-trip) last summer. We booked it, directly with the airline. (The round trip flight between Istanbul and Athens is about $150).
That same Business Class seat starting in London is several thousand dollars more than starting in Istanbul.
Option to Pay for an Upgrade?
Airlines don’t want those premium seats to go empty any more than cruise lines want ships sailing with empty cabins. Depending on the airline you may find some last minute upgrade-from-coach-class deals are available. Sometimes airlines will alert you to their availability at the time of your on-line check-in or make an announcement at the gate. The upgrade cost won’t necessarily be inexpensive, but will be far less than paying full fare.
Frequent Flyer Miles to Upgrade from Coach?
Some airlines will allow you to upgrade your coach class seats by spending your FF miles to do so. If you are seriously considering doing so, check with the airline to make sure the coach class fare you book allows you to make such an upgrade.
|In Business Class you can wait in private lounges - instead of sitting at the gate|
Shop Early and Shop for Sales
Start your ‘window shopping’ early. Sometimes airlines will put premium seats on sale and you might just happen upon one of them. The Scout was doing just that when he happened upon the fare I told you about above - a fare so good that a premium seat ticket discounter told us he couldn’t match it.
Discount Ticket Agencies
We’ve never yet used one of these places as The Scout is doing a good job for us, but we’ve seen them mentioned as sources of good discounts. Check out their track record before using one – and if earning FF miles is important to you, make sure the cheap ticket will allow you to earn miles. (Often times discounted tickets are in a class that doesn’t qualify – or qualifies for fewer earned miles). A Google search turned up any number of agencies advertising cut rates.
Monitor Mileage Award changes to Frequent Flier programs
We are members of Alaska Airlines mileage program and therefore fly their partner airlines to earn miles towards our Alaska account. We then use them to book Business Class on the partner airlines.
The flight we took in coach class on Delta in December to Greece earned us some 4,000 miles on Alaska. While in Greece, Delta changed its awards program so the return flight earned us less than 2,000 miles.
|Above Athens, Greece|
This week we are linking up with the fine bloggers at:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening