Find tips and tricks right here on how to get an upgrade on your next flight and you’ll be headed to the business class lounge in no time.
If finding cheap business class flights is one of your life missions, we get it. Doesn’t everybody dream of flying in style at the front of the plane? Imagine sipping on some bubbly in your spacious, comfy seat as the flight attendant attends to your every desire. Ok, maybe not every desire but they’re quite attentive in the ‘behind-the-curtain’ section. Keep reading for our top tips on how to find cheap business flights.
Ways to Score an Affordable Business Class Seat
1. Understand the differences between fares
What exactly is business class anyway? Many people equate business class to being very expensive and out of reach, therefore shutting down the possibilities of ever flying up front. And let’s face it, cheap business class tickets are not the same as cheap economy fares. To help get a grip on the differences, let’s do a basic comparison.
Air Canada business class vs economy class
Business class on Air Canada has many elegant perks: deluxe, roomy seats in an exclusive cabin (some with flat-bed pods), fine wine, hot gourmet food (with real dishes and utensils!), inflight entertainment, priority check-in, security screening, and boarding; free changes and cancellations, 150% more Aeroplan miles, airport lounge access, and two checked bags. It’s safe to say that after your flight, whether it be a long-haul flight or a short trip visiting friends in another city, you’ll get off the plane and walk through the airport feeling refreshed and looking like a superstar.
Economy class on Air Canada offers several different ‘tiers’ but the bottom of the barrel is the ‘basic’, which gets you a seat with two small pieces of carry-on luggage allowance. After flying long-haul in this the economy cabin, you’ll most likely get off the plane feeling that jet lag and looking like a hobo.
The price differences between the bottom and the top ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Flying Air Canada business class across Canada costs between $1100 and $1600. Flying business from Vancouver to Singapore on Singapore Airlines, one of the world’s top carriers, will set you back about $3700.
Like all airfares, it’ll depend on when and where you’re flying. But, it is possible to narrow the price difference substantially.
Of course, they’re not the only classes available. Some airlines offer first class, business class, premium economy, and economy, so it’s not all top luxury or bargain basement fares. There is some in between. Travelling in style fully depends on your budget.
2. Stay up to date with business class prices
One of the best ways to keep tabs on cheap flights, including business class, is with the Skyscanner app. Enter your departure and destination cities and dates. Under the departure date box, you can choose the number of passengers and the class. Change this to business class and scroll through the fares to find the best option.
To find the cheapest month to fly (the same business class flight on the same airline may be hundreds of dollars cheaper on a different day, or during a different week or month), use the Explore tab and scroll to the bottom to the Best Deals by Month.
Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” search tool is a popular choice for people who are flexible. Flying to or from a major west coast hub like Vancouver Internation or LAX can result in cheaper transpacific business class fares, while Toronto or New York departures may find cheap tickets to the Caribbean.
Luckily, there are seat sales in all classes, so a cheap business class seat is possible. In addition to the Skyscanner app, sign up for airline newsletters, follow them on social media, and join their frequent flyer program so that you’re one of the first to know about any deals on business class tickets.
3. Know the best time to book cheap business class tickets
Since business travellers and corporate types use this fare class the most, it makes sense that you’re chance for cheap business class tickets are better during non-business days, and weeks.
Try weekends, public holidays, and even over Christmas Day and New Year’s for more opportunities to fly business class.
4. Join airline loyalty and points programs
Loyalty and air mile programs are one of the best ways to save money. If you’re not a member of a reward program, sign up and start collecting ASAP.
Not only can you use air miles to book free travel, but some programs also let you use points to upgrade to business class tickets. Which means if you’ve already purchased an eligible economy fare, you can trade in your points for a business seat. Star Alliance offers upgrades for as little as 7500 points! Now that’s something to get excited about.
To book a cheap business class ticket using your points, log into your airline’s reward program and find the book flight tab. You’ll be able to select business/first class. In Aeroplan, a return business class fare from Toronto to Paris will soak up 110,000 points plus taxes.
No points for a quick getaway? Check out these springtime deals.
5. Make a bid for a flight upgrade
Bid on a cheap business class upgrade
If you’re willing to pay for an upgrade, a feature offered by airlines such as Air Canada, Air New Zealand, and Cathay Pacific, is bidding for an upgrade. Here you can place a bid in the amount you’re willing to spend to upgrade your ticket to business class. If you’ve purchased an eligible fare on an airline that participates in upgrade auctions, you can make an offer on a business class seat. Obviously, the higher you bid the greater your chances, but many upgrade auctions have surprisingly lenient lower limits.
Try for a free upgrade
There’s been a rumour going around for years that says if you look the part, you may be offered a free upgrade to the front cabin. And while there’s no way to ensure this will happen just because you wear a suit to the airport, it’s always good form to look nice and be kind and courtesy during check-in. Who knows? It may just work in your favour.
Unless you’re on your honeymoon, the chances of a free upgrade when travelling in pairs or groups is pretty slim. Travel alone, look elegant, be nice, and if it’s a milestone birthday, casually mention it to the agent at check-in. It could work. For more tips on getting a free upgrade, check out our guide here.
6. Go with the low-cost airlines
Cheap business class tickets are going to be more affordable on low-cost airlines. For instance, WestJet is changing the game with their Dreamliner 787 business class seats on select flights between Calgary and Toronto, and Calgary to London, Paris and Dublin.
The new cheap business fares offer passengers a flight in luxurious pod-style seats (yes, they lie down) with on-demand dining, large built-in screens with endless hours of entertainment, lots of personal storage, and all the expected add-ons like priority check-in, boarding, and complimentary checked baggage. One-way business fares from Calgary to Toronto on the Dreamliner start at $735 CAD.
Want to Look for Cheap Business Class Tickets?
Finding affordable travel in all cabin classes is made easy with Skyscanner’s search engines. We can help you book your entire holiday: flights, hotels, cars, and even offer tips on things to do and places to eat.