We’ve all been there, shuffling to the back of the plane, walking past cushy business class seats, trying not to stare in longing. Some of us even promised ourselves it would be us one day, with one day being a day we’re millionaires. Or, at the very least, making a lot more money than currently exists in our bank accounts. But you don’t need a million dollars to fly business class; you just need to know how to find cheap business class flights.
For that, we’ve got you covered. Of course, you can still hold on to your dreams of becoming a millionaire. But, in the meantime, why wait to treat yourself to luxury? Discover our tips for finding cheap business class airline tickets and get the answers to all your biggest questions about business class flying.
Table of Contents
- How to Get Cheap Business Class Flights
- FAQ: What You Need to Know About Cheap Business Class Flights
- Looking to Score Cheap Business Class Flights? Next Vacay Has You Covered
How to Get Cheap Business Class Flights
You can’t expect amazing business class deals to fall into your lap. However, you don’t have to sell precious organs for them, either. Simple—and painless—ways exist to score business class upgrades:
- Use a flight search engine
- Use your frequent flier points
- Bid for an upgrade
- Ask at check-in
Putting these simple but effective tools into play could be the difference between being packed like sardines in economy and reclining in the lap of luxury that is business class flying.
4 Ways to Find Cheap Flights in Business Class
Most people think of splurging and spoiling themselves on vacation. But when do you consider your vacation started? Business-class flights press play on your vacation before you even set foot at your destination and get you in the right mindset to enjoy everything ahead. So, if you want to start your vacation off right, here are the best ways to find and take advantage of cheap business class tickets.
1. Use a Flight Search Engine
Start your search for business class deals just as you would for economy tickets: on flight search engines.
If you’re flexible with your destination, Google Flights Explore allows you to peruse multiple destinations for the cheapest business class flights. It also lets you know if the business class fare is above or below typical prices for that route. Or, you can get a team of real-life humans to find and vet business class deals for you. Next Vacay finds the best prices and business class options and delivers them right to your inbox, putting the business class life within reach without you having to lift so much as a pinky finger.
Of course, not everyone can be flexible with their destination. So for those with more rigid plans that need tickets ASAP, sites like Momondo (which is particularly good for finding business class international flights) and Skyscanner do a great job comparing multiple airlines, allowing you to quickly search specific dates for the best business class airfares available.
2. Use Your Frequent Flier Points
Leaving coach behind for the front of the cabin can be as simple as cashing in on your frequent flier points. Miles you earn aren’t just good for buying tickets; you can also use them to upgrade after you book a flight.
You’re probably signed up for multiple loyalty programs if you’re a frequent flyer. That means you’ve been earning miles on every flight. Accordingly, those miles you’ve earned can be used to upgrade qualified airline tickets to business class.
Of course, most airlines only allow you to upgrade select fares, so don’t expect to upgrade your super cheap, basic economy ticket to business class. Always check each fare’s terms and conditions before booking if you’re considering upgrading.
3. Bid for an Upgrade
You may not have ever associated bidding with buying plane tickets, especially not business class tickets, but it’s another savvy way to upgrade your flight.
Many airlines, though none of the three major airlines in the US, run online auctions. Not only can online bidding save you from waiting on the standby list at the airport, but it can also help you score cheap business class flight deals.
Bidding usually opens seventy-two hours before your flight, with a minimum bid amount set by the airline. You can then make a bid at or above the specified amount. The airline will then inform you if you won and upgrade your seat accordingly.
You won’t find many tips on bidding from the airlines, so making an educated guess will require a bit of research.
SeatGuru lets you know the plane model and the best seats. Of course, with older planes, you’ll have far fewer amenities than newer, luxe models, so you won’t want to bid too high.
ExpertFlyer tells you how full a flight is. The availability of seats can help determine whether you should bid high if the flight is packed or bid low if the flight is relatively empty.
Pro-tip: Bid 20% to 40% of the difference between your economy fare ticket and the average cost of a business class seat.
4. Ask at Check-In
If you haven’t been able to find a deal for cheap business class flights, or you put it off too long, talking to the employees at check-in or your gate could be the only thing standing between you and business class seats.
Immediately upon arriving at the airport, ask if there are any business class seats available and how much an upgrade would be. Of course, the downside to waiting till check-in is that there’s no guarantee there will be seats still available or that they’ll be cheap.
But, a last-minute hail mary at the airport could be the difference between cramped economy and luxe business class seating.
FAQ: What You Need to Know About Cheap Business Class Flights
If you’re trying to decide whether business class is the right choice, you need to know what’s on offer and how it differs from flying premium economy or first-class flights. Key differences between these flights and the amenities you can expect may help determine the kind of luxury flight you want.
Is Business Class the Same as First Class?
Business class and first class definitely share some upgraded perks and amenities, but the important thing to remember when comparing the two boils down to one simple factor: more money equals more amenities.
Flying business class will get you quick check-in, big overhead compartments, comfortable seating, made-to-order meals, fancier airport lounges, and better in-flight entertainment setups. First class takes all of that and kicks it up a notch.
Two of the biggest differences come in comfort and dining. While business class offers added space and comfier seats that recline or even lay down, some first-class experiences offer double beds, private rooms, and even first-class apartments. As for dining, business class provides restaurant-quality meals, while first-class often has meals and drink menus selected or prepared by famous chefs.
The long to short of it is that business class travel isn’t the same as first class. But, it shares more similarities to first class than economy, with the kinds of perks and amenities to make your sixteen-hour flight feel like only six hours instead.
What Are the Perks of Flying Business Class?
Business-class experiences differ based on the airline and route you’re flying. That said, you can expect some standard amenities and offerings in key comfort areas.
1. Faster Check-In
Get ready for speedier check-ins. Flying business means having access to priority check-in with a separate counter, and because there are fewer seats, the lines are much shorter than flying economy. Business-class passengers also get to check an extra bag.
And it’s not just check-in that’s speedier. How many of us have been first to deboard, only to spend forever waiting for our luggage? And, of course, it happens to show up last at baggage claim. Flying in business class means the wait is over, at least partially, because your bags will be the first to appear on the carousel.
2. Roomier Overhead Compartment
The overhead compartment area can fill up quickly in economy, and stuffing your carry-on amongst the other baggage can often feel like a dangerous game of Tetris.
Luckily, these worries evaporate in the business cabin. Plenty of space in the compartments means you’ll exert a lot less elbow grease fitting your baggage overhead.
Plus, you’ll often find small pods in front of you to store additional smaller items.
3. Comfy Seating
Business class comfort comes with roomier and plusher seating. Your upgraded travel also includes seats that recline further, a comforter, and a pillow, making getting a siesta in the sky a lot less pain-inducing than the neck-twinging and neighbor-bumping you get in economy.
Pro-tip: Use SeatGuru to check if your aircraft seats recline fully or stop at a deep angle.
4. Amenity Kit
The amenity kit is a delightful perk on top of everything else the business cabin offers. If you forget to pack your toiletries in your carry-on, you’ll find everything you need to freshen up or make your long flight more bearable. Your amenity kit comes packed with a toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs, moisturizer, and other goodies.
5. Great Food
Food in economy is never anything to write home about. The meals range from passable to painful, and if you’re looking for dietary accommodations, look elsewhere. Like business class.
The meals in the business cabin are a far cry from economy, so much so they may as well be from another kitchen entirely. Oh wait, they are. Expect gourmet meals and a main course prepared to order, with delicious desserts and a wine selection that puts everything you experience in economy to shame.
6. In-Flight Entertainment
Save your laptop and tablet for your destination. While economy often offers cramped quarters that make it hard to enjoy anything, let alone a movie on a screen five inches from your face, the business cabin will have you covered for in-flight entertainment.
In the business cabin, you’ll be pleased not only by the screen’s size but its distance—so you can more easily take in the action onscreen—and the noise-canceling headphones—just in case you forgot yours at home.
7. Access to the Airport Lounge
Another perk you can take advantage of before and between flights is the airport business lounge. Like the business cabin, business lounges offer a superior experience with more comfortable places to relax, delicious food to eat, and better Wi-Fi, whether you need it for work or just to while away the hours until take-off.
How Much Does It Cost to Fly Business Class?
On average, domestic business class flights range from $500 to $3,500, while international flights can fall between $3,000 to $5,000.
By definition, luxury doesn’t come cheap. But how much you’ll have to shell out for business class seats depends on various factors like your travel dates, route, and airline. Based on that, business class tickets can sometimes cost five to ten times that of an economy ticket. Other times, the difference is much less harsh.
Again, it all comes down to the particulars of your trip. Less popular routes generally offer better business class flight deals, while traveling out of peak season all but guarantees the cheapest business class tickets.
Are Business Class Flights Worth It?
The answer to this question depends on the destination and the traveler. For example, upgrading your tickets may not be worth the extra hundred or thousand dollars if you’re on a short, three-hour flight. Furthermore, your plane may not offer the kind of business class experience you want to make the extra money worth it.
However, if you’re incredibly tall and find the cramped seating arrangements in economy nearly unbearable, upgrading to a business cabin experience might be worth it, even on a short flight.
On the other hand, if you’re used to roughing it and have the blessed ability to fall asleep anywhere, you may find the reclining seats and amenity kits in business class to be an unnecessary add-on.
Business-class flying is considered a luxury for a reason, and it could make all the difference in your flight—and trip—experience. If the thought of flying in a cramped seat for a 19-hour flight to Australia sends a shiver down your spine, heed the business cabin’s call and upgrade your ticket accordingly.
Looking to Score Cheap Business Class Flights? Next Vacay Has You Covered
It can be easy to fall into the rabbit hole of search engines and business class options when finding your perfect flight. And while there isn’t a queen of hearts waiting to chop off your head, the headache of countless hours searching may make you feel being headless is the better option. So, why not let someone else do the headache-inducing job of finding your cheap business class flights for you?
Next Vacay searches hundreds of flights and class fares to destinations worldwide. When business class fares drop, your inbox gets a notification. No searching, no filtering, just booking. So, get ready to sit back, cocktail in hand, and enjoy the high life with business class flights that won’t empty your wallet.