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Buying business and coach tickets

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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:11 AM
  #1
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Buying business and coach tickets

This is my preferred routing:
8/31/14: RDM-SLC-CDG-VRN
10/09/14: FLR-AMS-PDX-RDM

I want to purchase business class seats for the long haul portions of the flights.(SLC-CDG, AMS-PDX). The short haul flights typically do not have business class seating. Do any of you know if it is possible to switch classes on the same ticket with fare reduction? Or how to determine if the cost differential is significant enough to mix coach and business class before calling the airlines? Obviously a straight forward coach ticket (avg $1300) is less expensive than a full fare business class (avg $4000).

This is a celebratory trip for us and I was hoping to add a little comfort along the way and reduce stress by paying for business class on the long haul portions.. No, unfortunately, we do not have miles to utilize.

I may consider premium economy but my motivation for business class is the laydown seating for sleeping.

Thanks for any tips to how to make this happen and happy travels.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:33 AM
  #2
 
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You would need to call, but my guess is that combinability rules would mean that you won't be able to save any money by doing what you propose.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:38 AM
  #3
 
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We've often flown on multiple leg trips where we've been in Business Class seats on one or more legs and Coach on the other legs. And, yes, the fare differential is reflected in the price of the tickets. How much of a differential there will be depends on the pricing structure the airline(s) you fly set(s) for the different legs of your itinerary.

For what it is worth we've even done a "three fare" itinerary - combining First Class, Business and Coach on the same multi-leg trip.

In short, you can book whatever "seat class" you want for any given leg of your itinerary - the price you pay will depend on which type of seating you have on the different legs.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:42 AM
  #4
 
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Just to clarify - you'll have to "price out" the different scenarios using airline/travel websites or call your airline(s) to see what combination works best for your itinerary - there's no "magic formula" that you can use to determine airfares.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 10:35 AM
  #5
 
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A business class ticket from Redmond to Verona would include first class on domestic flights in the U.S. (if offered) and business class on intra-Europe flights. It would make absolutely no sense to book economy seating on the shorter flights.

If you book well in advance, you can take advantage of discount business-class fares. In addition to the routing that you asked about (on Delta/Air France), you might also want to consider going through SFO and Frankfurt (on United/Lufthansa).
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 11:35 AM
  #6
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Thanks for the fast responses. There are no first/business class flights from RDM to connecting departure airports unless one counts early boarding as first/business class. I don't. So, I will the airlines a call and see what I come up with. For fare quotes..

Thanks again.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 11:55 AM
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Also don't assume that eliminating some stopover points or reducing the number of flights will save money. Airline tariffs don't work that way - the price has to do with demand for the origin-destination city pairs and not (necessarily) the number of flights or connection points en route. For example, cutting out RDM-SLC and CDG-FLR on the outbound, and cutting out FLR-AMS and PDX-RDM on the return, but keeping the same Delta flights (SLC-CDG//AMS-PDX) results in a business class fare over $1000 higher than the business class fare with all your connecting points, even if you're not flying in FC on the domestic legs and you're in Euro business class (i.e. no middle seat sold) on the shorthaul flights within Europe.

I'd also wait until well into the new year to book for your dates. Quite often there are sales for business class seats in mid- late summer owing to a falloff in actual "business" travel. Monitor the usual sites, especially ITA - http://matrix.itasoftware.com/search.htm - for awhile. Seats are NOT going to sell out.

You might also increase your choices by looking at larger airports in Italy that might have more carriers, such as Pisa (PSA) which is quite convenient for Florence, and Milan or Venice for Verona.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 01:13 PM
  #8
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Gardyloo,

Yes, looking at fares has been an education. I had already figured out the higher business class fare increase as you illustrated. I understand my selection of SLC/CDG drives up the price but the timing works really well for us. I avoid SFO after spending too many missed connections due to low ceilings / fog. I could fly business class more cheaply RDM/SEA/KEF/CDG/VRN .... but would like to keep the number of stops on outbound to a minimum. SLC/CDG routing meets that requirement and it allows easy time arrival into Verona for a transfer to Bolzano on the same day.

I have been tracking these flights since mid-September on ITA. I haven't seen an increase/decrease to speak of in prices (nothing greater than $200)

I shuffle departure/return dates with only the obvious hiccups in price, e.g., high demand weekend. Both you and DanTopaz have suggested discount business-class fares. What should I be looking for because I haven't identified any type of sale. I know I am working at a disadvantage because I don't have frequent flyer points or a commitment to a loyalty program.

Thanks for the advice of continue to monitor ....
I'll take another look at departure airports from Italy.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 02:55 PM
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I could fly business class more cheaply RDM/SEA/KEF/CDG/VRN

By KEF, I assume you mean Icelandair. In which case, note that Icelandair does NOT offer business class. They offer something they call business class, but it is not a competitive business class product and is basically a good premium economy product.

Honestly, I think it is deceptive marketing for Icelandair to list their fares as business class fares.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:12 PM
  #10
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Thanks for the info on business class on Icelandair.
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Dec 4th, 2013, 11:07 PM
  #11
 
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I agree with Gardyloo about looking at other airports in Italy. Train service between large cities in Italy is convenient. I know Verona has an airport but it would never occur to me to fly into there. Milan is just 90 minutes away. It's a much bigger airport. It has more flights and you're going to find more competitive fares. For such a popular tourist destination, Florence has a pretty small airport. Pisa is the big airport in that part of the country.
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