Business Class to Europe - Book now or wait?

Nov 5th, 2009, 01:35 PM
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Business Class to Europe - Book now or wait?

Hello Fodorites!

I just had a quick question about biz class tickets to Europe (PIT-UK/Ireland) next summer (June 2010) - would it be better to buy now, or wait for deals to pop up in April/May?

Any other year I'd wait until spring to buy, but given the current travel climate, I was wondering if it would be better to book now.

Trekker5211 is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 01:54 PM
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Well, checking on ITA it looks like typical fares for PIT-DUB/LON for February are in the $3000 range round trip, while for June they're in the... $3000 range.

It's not unusual for business class fares to come down a little in summer (due to business travel falling off) so IMO it's a case of your risk tolerance.

I think sub-$2000 business class fares from the eastern US to Europe are becoming more and more unusual, although they do occur. If risking $500 - $900 to the downside is okay with you, go for it. If not, wait. Remember if there are two of you traveling, that's $6K that the airlines will have that you won't, for something like six months.
Gardyloo is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 03:33 PM
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All the biz class tickets I've ever had have been fully refundable. The non-refundable fares I see on USAirways for PIT - DUB, for example are non-existent on most flights, and only $30 cheaper when they are avail.

Except for the fact that you need to fork out cash earlier I see no downside to booking a refundable ticket now. Should the fare go down you can get a refund for the difference later (or just cancel and rebook at a lower fare). Nor do I see any advantage for that matter.
J62 is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 04:21 PM
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Not all business class is refundable. Delta for example sells a discounted business class that must be purchased at least 50 days in advance, but is NOT refundable.
CarolA is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 08:14 PM
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Check the change fee. I tried a couple of dates in March for PIT-DUB. $2600 on AC with a 200 CAD change fee. $3160 on CO with a $400 change fee. If the fare does drop $500 to $900 you can recoup some of that, minus the change fee, as a credit for travel. But an AC credit might not be useful to you.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 03:15 AM
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I was checking prices from New York to London for next summer, (leaving June 15 and returning July 14) and the price was around $1,080 in economy, but only $600 if you flew the flight in reverse (London to New York).

However, the difference was only a $200 if you flew the flight in Business Class. With that reasoning, I would say book a business class ticket now but wait for an economy ticket.
wally34949 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 05:29 AM
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I receive emails almost weekly from Cooks-Amex showing New York-London biz for sometimes less than $2,000.
DRJ is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 07:24 AM
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You should definitely wait, unless you see something for $2k or less.
travelgourmet is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 12:51 PM
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The only way I'm going to fly business class is if its under $2400-2500...if that helps in the advice.

Also, DRJ, do you know of any site that could do that for PIT-London or something similar?

Plus, we're starting in Ireland and ending in London, so would it probably be cheaper to just fly PIT-LON then catch a flight to DUB or Cork? Or would it just make sense to book a multi-city ticket from PIT-DUB and then LHR/LGW-PIT?
Trekker5211 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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There are plenty of RT fares from New York (JFK, EWR) to London for $2400 - $2500. It's a hugely competitive market. Of course when you start adding in getting to NYC from PIT, then the one-way fares to and from Ireland from the UK, the price starts nudging $3K as is.

If you don't mind some extra connections, Openskies, the BA spin-off, has business seats from JFK to Paris for $1617 round trip in June; you'd then have to do a couple of one-ways (Aer Lingus, BA, Ryanair, Air France etc.) to Dublin and back from London, or else take the train, so there still would be extra cost and time, but definitely doable.

Nobody knows if Openskies is going to last, but when they canceled JFK-Amsterdam a few months ago, passengers with tickets were immediately re-accommodated on British Airways in business class, so not the end of the world .
Gardyloo is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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The only issue with OpenSkies is that their BizSeat looks pretty similar to CO's BusinessFirst on 767s...which wasn't (I really don't want to sound snobby here) the most comfortable in the world to sleep in, which is why I fly business class; their BizBed looks fine, but it seems significantly more expensive. Plus, I'd be fine doing one ways on one end (PIT-JFK/CDG-DUB), but at both ends could end up being a big problem...especially if my luggage gets lost.

Thus, ideally, I'd like to fly a flat bed (or at least true lie flat [like BMI], from PIT-DUB, LON-PIT...or at least from JFK. But it seems like thats far from likely. :/
Trekker5211 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 06:34 PM
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I just used USAir's double buy/sell/gift miles promotion to accumulate enough miles for a business class (Envoy) mid-summer ticket to Europe (highest mileage reward category) for $1100, which is $400 less than the current coach price and $2000 less than a paid non-refundable paid Envoy ticket. I have travel dates I had to lock in so my risk tolerance to wait for a better fare (either cheaper or burning fewer miles) was low.

If you can tolerate US or can find availability on a Star partner, this may be an option worth considering.
MLTimes is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 04:52 AM
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Thanks for the idea. I absolutely detest US (for both their lack of good well as what they did to Pittsburgh - I still hold a grudge), but if I could find availability on United...that might be a very good idea.
Trekker5211 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 06:23 AM
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Not sure about UA, but some airlines have a maximum number of miles you can gift or purchase in any calendar year. The trick is to buy some for yourself, have someone else "gift" you more, then if you're still short, wait until Jan. 1 and do it all over again.

Remember that buying FF miles then redeeming them for a summer trip still means you have to find availability for the flights. Normally it's not a terrible problem, but obviously requires some effort and flexibility on travel dates and routes.
Gardyloo is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 07:46 AM
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The US promo is 50K miles maximum x 1 of each transaction (buy, sell, gift). So, big opportunity to add several hundred thousand miles to your account for around a penny a mile. (Buy/Trade is 2.5 cents a mile + $30 fee + tax; gift is 1 cent/mile + fee + tax). A family member gifted me 28K miles laying around unused in their account (so, total to me 56K miles) for $331, and it was another $700 something to buy another 100K miles. Tax and fees on the fare were another $95. Definitely a good option -- and book now because rumor is the redemption rates for US miles on Star partners is going up soon. RIght now, US has lower mileage for award flights on LH and others than if you booked with the partner's own miles. Also, with the ANA booking tool, searching availability isn't that complicated for Star partners.
MLTimes is offline  

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