How to Fly Business Class on a Backpacker’s Budget

My first business class in-flight meal! In business class, you get to pick options from a menu, and there are separate appetizers and a main course! This appetizer had crab meat, and it was quite good! The breakfast eggs were kinda gross though. :P

Even if you’re a backpacker at heart, chances are you still enjoy some of the finer things in life now and again. If you’re flying half way across the globe to commence your round-the-world trip, flying in business class for instance can make the whole experience a little more comfortable.

Thought business class was just for the rich and famous? Not necessarily so. The good news there are ways you can experience business class even without a huge budget.

Look for unpublished fares

When you fly economy class you might have become used to looking on comparison sites like Skyscanner, Kayak, Hipmunk etc to get the best deal. While this works for economy, it doesn’t necessarily work for business class.

Instead of booking through the airline, you’ll want to hunt for unpublished fares. Travel agencies like Skyclub.com sell private, offline fares offering up to 50% off regular prices. How can they get such cheap fares? Well the airlines don’t want empty seats, but they also don’t want to publish such discounted rates online as they might upset full paying business class customers. Instead companies like SkyClub make deals with the airlines that allow them to supply heavily discounted business class flights offline.

Stalk forums and error fare sites

The next thing to do is stalk various forums, such as the FlyerTalk premium fare forum. Here people post some truly affordable business class fares and deals. You can also sign up to error fare sites such as FlyNous.com, SecretFlying.com or Holiday Pirates. They’ll notify you when airlines have made mistakes on their websites so you can rock bottom prices on business class flights.

Buy in the sales

Airlines are often running sales on their business class flights to fill up the seats, so look out for them. If you can, follow each airline on Facebook so you’ll see when they’re running a sale, or sign up to their newsletter to be notified by email. Air New Zealand, British Airways and Virgin offer some fantastic sales. You’re most likely to find discounted tickets around popular periods like end of summer sales, Black Friday and January sales.

Collect air miles

One of the easiest ways to fly business class for very little is by collecting air miles. If you live in the UK then you can sign up for the British Airways American Express card which allows you to collect 1 point for every £1 you spend. In America, there are numerous cards that offer huge sign up bonuses just for joining, so you can soon be on your way to earning enough miles for a business class ticket. There are lots of travel hacking tips for boosting points too, such as shopping at certain retailers.

Upgrade from economy for cheap

Finally another really easy way to fly business class on the cheap is by buying an economy class ticket but then upgrading instantly online. If the flight isn’t full and the airline wants to fill its business class seats, they’ll often let you upgrade at check-in and pay a lot less on the day. Some airlines even offer an auction process where you can ‘bid’ for a business class ticket.

As you can see there are lots of ways you can fly business class without being rich. All you have to do is look out for great deals, collect air miles or contact a business class flight specialist to see what they can do.