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Skyscanner’s guide to getting great value business class tickets

Anxious of the damage buying a business class ticket would do to your wallet? What if we told you, you could get cheap business class tickets? Yes, you can. Read on for Skyscanner’s guide to getting affordable business class tickets so you can arrive at your holiday destination pampered, wined and dined, and as fresh as a daisy!

What’s in this guide:

Why fly business class?

When business class fares are often marketed as being as much as five times the price of an economy class ticket, the idea of booking a business class ticket might never have crossed your mind as a sensible option. However, if you know how to snap up bargain business class tickets and get to know all the other benefits of flying business class, then your ticket purchase may be your greatest travel revelation in years! Sure, you have seen the lie-flat beds and passengers quaffing pre-departure champagne, but do you know all the other perks of flying business?

  • Priority check-in and boarding.
  • Baggage allowance of around 40kg (compared to 30kg in economy)
  • Lounge access with a la carte meals, huge chairs, showers and a wide selection of drinks and other treats.
  • Bigger, more comfortable seat which may recline into a lie-flat bed.
  • Fabulous food and drinks options on board.
  • Amenity kit to help make your flight even more comfortable.
  • Be among the first passengers to disembark the plane  

Flying business has so many benefits and for those treating a loved one for a holiday somewhere special, it’s the perfect way to travel!

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Which are the best routes to book a business class ticket?

Top tips

  • Fly long haul not short haul for the best business class experience
  • Fly on newer, bigger planes (think A350 and B787 rather than B737 and A320)
  • Fly with an airline that offers great business class products
  • Check out the seat configuration and look for direct aisle access

Before booking your business class ticket, it’s crucial that you do some research. Airlines flying short haul routes from Singapore to places such as Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur and many routes in Europe such as Barcelona to London or Frankfurt to Paris may use smaller planes such as A320s or B737s in which the business class seat is the same as an economy class seat (e.g. 3 seats each side of the aisle configuration) but with the middle seat blocked off. They may not have personal IFE (In-flight-entertainment) systems, though you will be provided with a snack and a drink.

An invaluable resource for comparing the kind of seat and entertainment you will get with your business class ticket is Seat Guru’s Long and Short Haul Business Seat Comparison Chart. Browse through this to compare how much bang for your buck you get with airlines like Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines compared with Lufthansa and Silk Air

Generally speaking, longer haul flights (think 6 hours or more) on bigger planes such as the A350 and the B787 will often get you a better seat, food, amenities and facilities in business class. Short haul flights (think 3 hours or less) can be disappointing in terms of what you get for your dollars. Medium haul flights (3-6 hours) can vary depending on the airline, so be sure to do your research in advance so you know what you’re getting when you buy!

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Emerging destinations from Singapore with good business class options

Looking to travel somewhere a little more adventurous this year? Skyscanner has identified the most popular emerging destinations for Singapore travellers in 2019 and the best business class options for you to take to get there.

  • Berlin with Qatar Airways, Etihad, Cathay Pacific
  • Moscow with Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Etihad 
  • Dubrovnik with Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines
  • Athens with Qatar Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airlines
  • Ulanbataar with Cathay Pacific, Korean Air
  • Hiroshima with Japan Airlines, ANA

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Top tips for getting great value business class tickets

Now you know why to fly business class and how to select the flights with the best business class seats and facilities, check out Skyscanner’s tips for getting a business class ticket without paying exorbitant prices.

1. Join a loyalty program that offers miles and never pay full fares for business class tickets

Sign up for a loyalty programme of one of the airlines of any of the major alliances such as Star Alliance and One World and save up miles every time you fly with airlines of the same alliance. These miles can be used as partial payment for business class tickets and save you a bomb. When you’re a member of the loyalty program, sign up for emails to find out the latest flight and miles offers and check regularly for great deals such as Krisflyer’s Spontaneous Escapes, where you can use your miles for exceptionally good deals on business class tickets around the world.

2. Sign up for a credit card that converts everyday purchases into miles.

One of the best ways to fly business without handing over a cent is to sign up for a credit card such as the American Express Kris Flyer Credit Card, which allows you to convert everyday purchases into miles. Often these cards will offer you a generous sign up bonus and bonuses on overseas spends etc. Use these miles to book your next business flights and smile all the way to the beach! Some credit cards also offer free hotel stays, chauffeur rides to the airport and deals and discounts at great restaurants. Read more about credit cards offering miles.

3. Buy miles online

Everyone wants more miles to pay for his or her business class tickets. However, if you have maxed out your purchases but need a decent haul of miles for your next ticket, you may consider buying miles from an online broker such as The Mileage Club or direct from the airline. Generally, it is cheaper to buy through online brokers, though occasionally airlines have big miles sales. Keep an eye on sites such as Sam Chui Aviation and Travel to see the latest deals on miles and business class deals.

4. Check out airline sales and consider the relative value of the ticket

When you’re looking for a business class ticket, you need to consider whether the quoted price is good value. When you buy direct from the airline, always look for sale seats and when you have found one, compare the price to an economy class seat. If the economy ticket costs $800 and the business class ticket costs $4000, the business ticket costs five times more. Are you willing to pay five times the price for a business class ticket? Probably not. However, if the business class ticket is $2000 and the economy class ticket is $800, the cost of the business class ticket is only 2.5 times more expensive and starts to look much more attractive when all the benefits are taken into account.

5. Keep an eye out for great value tickets online and on Skyscanner

Sign up for websites that detail business class ticket sales such as Sam Chui Aviation and Travel and forums such as Flyertalk to learn about sale fares on business class tickets.

If you can’t find business class deals using your own methods, Skyscanner’s tools can help you find the best deals. If you’re flexible on time, you can use the Skyscanner app to find the cheapest month to fly. Once you find the specific destination and dates you want to fly, you can change the filter to show business class flights. The same business class flight on the same airline can be hundreds of dollars cheaper flying on a different day, or during a different week or month, as the tool’s name instructs.

6. Be flexible with departure cities.

It’s cheaper to depart from some cities, such as Colombo, Jakarta or Ho Chi Minh City than departing directly from Singapore. For example, start your business class ticket journey in Colombo rather than in Singapore to snag great business class fares. Check out Matrix Airfare and its Nearby Cities function to find great business class fare options and then make your booking through Skyscanner. A simple search revealed return business class tickets for next May from Colombo to London for as little as $1650, so why not add a day or two in Sri Lanka to your holiday?

7. Bid for an upgrade to business class

More than 50 airlines now offer passengers the opportunity to bid for upgrades before the departure date. These airlines include Singapore Airlines, ANA, Swiss, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa and Qantas. How does it work? Once you’ve bought your ticket, the airline will send you an email offering you the chance to bid for an upgrade. You click on the appropriate link and make your bid. You usually find out whether your bid has been successful 72-24 hours before the flight departs and if you’ve been successful, you get to enjoy all the usual benefits that business class affords at a fraction of the price.

How do you succeed in getting your bid accepted?

  • Choose to bid on flights with fewer business class travellers (think weekends and mid-day flights flights) and flights to leisure destinations (think Sapporo or Okinawa rather than Hong Kong and Shanghai)
  • Choose to bid on flights on planes which are more likely to have lots of business class seats (A380s, A350s, B787s, B777s are all a good bet)
  • Bid an extra 20%-40% on top of the price of your economy class ticket for a good chance to get your bid!  

6. Don’t ignore budget airlines!

Some of the budget airlines flying out of Singapore also offer business class products on some of their routes which can represent excellent value.

  • ScootBiz – double legroom compared to a Scoot economy class seat, extra baggage allowance, food and drink and streamable entertainment
  • AirAsia Premium Flatbed – the best in the budget business class field by a long shot with full flatbeds, meals, pillow and duvet and heaps more.
  • Jet Star Business Class – wider seats, food and drink and smooth boarding.

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Best business class airlines from Singapore

If you’re not sure which airlines to choose to enjoy the best experience, read on for a guide to some of the world’s best business class products. Note that business class offerings vary depending on the route and the model of plane being flown. Always do your research beforehand and remember, the best business class experiences are usually found on long haul flights!

Qatar Airways Business Class

If you are flying to Europe, Africa or North America and want to fly business class, Qatar Airways should be the airline you check out first. Winner of Skytrax Best Business Class 2019, Qatar Airways combines excellent service with great value. Most notable is their QSuite (look out for it when you make your booking), which is considered by many to be the finest business class product in the world. In QSuite, you get a lie-flat seat with a door to the aisle, giving you total privacy, and those in the middle seats can be converted into double beds, perfect for couples. The food on the on-demand a la carte menu is outstanding and you will be pampered with an amenity kit containing high-end European beauty products. You won’t get bored on Qatar Airways as the entertainment system has over 4000 choices!

Find out more about Qatar Airways business class

Singapore Airlines Business Class

Gaining third spot in the 2019 Skytrax ranking for business class, Singapore Airlines is renowned for its high levels of service. Business class seats on many of their models (A380, B777-300ER) come with direct aisle access and the book the cook service, where you are able to choose from a menu of dishes created by renowned international chefs and have your choice served to you with a great selection of wines. Seats are some of the widest in their class and fully recline. KrisWorld, Singapore Airlines in-flight system, has over 1000 entertainment options to ensure your time in the air breezes past. Sadly, Singapore Airlines no longer give out luxurious amenity kits to business class passengers, though you should be offered an eye mask and some socks!

Find out more about Singapore Airlines business class

Emirates Business Class

Emirates is renowned for its great value and high quality business class and is a good option for those heading to Europe, Africa and the Americas. If your flight is on an A380 and the B777, you will get chauffeur driven to the airport, speedy check-in and access to one of their high-end business class lounges (check out the Moet and Chandon champagne bar in Dubai for world class pampering). Seats are private, feature lie-flat beds and even have their own mini bar. Emirates ICE entertainment system is one of the best in the sky and features over 4,000 entertainment options including live premiership football. When you fancy a stroll and if you are on the A380, head to the onboard lounge for cocktails and snacks and a chat with friends. 

Find out more about Emirates business class  

Cathay Pacific Business Class

Cathay Pacific is a handy option for flights to North America, Europe and North-east Asia and is one of the world’s top ten best business class products according to Skytrax. Seats are configured in a reverse herringbone formation on many of their long haul options with lie-flat beds and direct aisle access. You won’t get bored with over 1000 entertainment options on their StudioCX IFE. You will be well fed on your Cathay Pacific flight with locally sourced and seasonal produce, award winning wines and plenty of high-end chocolates to keep you happy.

Find out more about Cathay Pacific business class

Thai Airways Business Class

Book a flight on Thai’s Royal Silk Class and get pampered from the moment you arrive at the airport in Bangkok with a massage in the Royal Orchid Spa, where you can choose from a selection of spa treatments and enjoy an a la carte meal before getting on your next flight. Seats on most long haul flights recline fully flat and travelers are provided with an amenity kit of luxury beauty products. The IFE is somewhat limited compared to other business class options, but with over 1000 hours of entertainment available, you should find something to keep you busy during the flight.

Find out more about Thai Airways business class

Book your Business Class trip right here

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First published on July 2019. All prices are correct at the time of writing.