Do you ever feel like youíre being given the runaround by airlines when purchasing a business class ticket for an international flight? Itís no secret that airlines have developed a number of ways to pad their ticket prices and ensure that they get the most money out of their customers as they can. Frustrations over a multitude of complications and unpredictability that can surround airline purchases are common.
Most airlines have turned purchasing premium cabin seats into a game, and unless you know the right tricks to watch for, itís almost guaranteed that youíll lose. A peaceful, restful flight is essential for those traveling long distances for business, and there are still a few ways to guarantee one. Here are four things to watch for to avoid overpaying for†business class airfare:
1. Purchasing your tickets too early
Buying a business class ticket should be an easy process, but itís often far more complicated than expected. Timing your purchase correctly is key. Ideally, business class fares would be cheap to begin with and only increase as tickets are sold and demand rises, but thatís not how it works. Your favorite airlines begin by overvaluing fares, only to drastically reduce them sporadically later to give you the impression youíre getting the seat at a steal.
Fewer than fifteen percent of premium cabin seats are sold at their initial asking price, so itís best to wait until the airline has a business class buying event to snag your ticket at a reduced cost.
2. Using more miles than necessary
If the price of a business class seat seems outrageous, using miles to purchase the ticket might seem like a smart idea. However, even the most seasoned traveler can make a miles mistake that results in extra fees, a less comfortable seat, or drastically overpaying for a flight. A flight that shows as being ninety percent empty on the airlineís website, may still place restrictions on the type of miles that can be used or require you to use an enormous number of miles for a seat that no one was buying. Redeeming a large number of miles for a business class flight thatís undersold is a terrible deal that can cost you more in the long run.
3. Relying on an upgrade to get a business class seat
If youíre a member of a frequent flyer or loyalty program, youíve probably received a message announcing, ďYouíve Earned an Upgrade!Ē Itís a great feeling – until you try and redeem the upgrade only to find that despite the number of available seats in business class, the upgrade simply isnít available for the flight youíve selected. Airlines can wait up until the day of travel to clear upgrades, as they want to try to sell the seats first. If all the seats sell, there are no upgrades left to give out the day of the flight.
Avoid the stress of trying to score a last-minute flight with an upgrade and instead look for a business class buying event which can sometimes sell premium cabin fares for even less than coach.
4. Utilizing wholesalers to get a good deal
In the past, discounts of up to forty percent on seats were more than enough to fill empty business class seats. However, current business class customers are looking for luxury while focusing on getting the best value they can. They want to fly comfortably, but theyíre not willing to overpay to do so.
Most wholesaler discounts are based on the full price fare that very few travelers ever pay, which distorts their value. Additionally, some wholesalers use frequent flyer programs in order to create falsified savings, but when half the cabin is empty thereís no need to redeem or buy points. Youíll get your chance to buy a business class seat for less than coach while earning full mileage on your trip when business class buying events occur.
Lars Condor is the Managing Director of Passport Premiere.