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Flights in Business Class are the aim of many holidaymakers but unfortunately, budgets don’t always stretch to such luxury. The good news is, these seats don’t have to be as expensive as you might think. A travel expert has shared his top tips on how travellers can get their hands on cheap Business Class flights.
Express.co.uk spoke to Skip van Schaik, the founder of Luxury Flight Club, who trawls the internet for cheap business class tickets every day and shares the bargains he finds with members of the club and on his website.
So what are his secrets to finding cheap Business Class seats?
Skip explained there are three ways of coming across good deals: Using Google Flights, checking what Online Travel Agents are offering and making the most of error fares. This is his travel advice.
“Google Flights is the single most important piece of free software I use for finding cheap business class seats,” said Skip.
“The explorer map is the easiest way to spot cheap business class flights.”
To use it go to Google Flights and set up the basic settings including departing airport, number of passengers, travel class and roundtrip or oneway.
Alternatively, you can set multiple departing airports and Google will automatically show you the cheapest fares.
As for your destination, rather than fill this in, click on the Explore Destinations map which shows a selection of fares.
Next, you can set up a few more advanced settings such as date, airline, maximum price and number of stops.
Skip recommends that when you have all your settings set up, press ‘ctrl’ + ‘D’ to bookmark the search when using the Chrome browser.
You will then be able to explore the map and see all the cheapest fares. When you see one you like, click on the destination and ‘view flights.’
When you click on the dates, a price calendar will show you which travel dates are the cheapest. Booking options will appear after you select your flights.
If the price is too high for you, it might well be worth waiting and setting up an alert on the flight.
“Many don’t know you can easily track the prices of certain routes,” said Skip. “Google gives you an alert when the fares change.”
Online Travel Agents
Online Travel Agents – otherwise known as OTAs – such as Skyscanner or Expedia can sometimes offer cheaper fares than the airlines.
It’s worth inputting the travel dates you found on Google Flights on OTA sites to see if it lowers the price.
This approach does come with a warning, however. “During these uncertain travel-times – it’s better to avoid the smaller OTA’s,” cautioned Skip.
“Customer support is not as good as the airlines. This can make it really hard to change your flights or get a refund.”
“The only reason to book with an OTA is when the price difference compared to booking with the airline is huge. And you have to be really certain you don’t want to make any changes to your flight.”
“OTA’s save money on customer support and charge high fees when you want to change or cancel your flight. These are the main reasons they can offer cheaper fares than the airlines.”
Always check if the travel agent offers ATOL protection and is trusted. Skip recommends Expedia, Kayak, Priceline and Orbitz.
Error fares turn up following a glitch in an airline’s pricing system and are the golden ticket when it comes to bagging Business Class flights on the cheap.
“Finding an error fare is like finding the Holy Grail,” said Skip. “You’ll get to enjoy unlimited champagne and a lie-flat seat for the price of an economy class ticket.”
“About two out of three times the flight get honoured. The other time you’ll get a refund or have to pay the price difference.”
“There are fewer error fares than there used to be. But on average – I find one every six weeks.”
“It’s the best way to fly long haul business class for under £500.”
Skip advises always booking these directly with the airline if possible and acting fast – the error fares can disappear within a few hours.
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