With a little persistence, you could be flying business class to Asia at less than half of the normal cost, blogs Lars Condor. It’s a simple search trick that could save you thousands. Over the past month, airlines in the United States have been dropping prices on their business class seats to Asia.
American Airlines and Delta have slashed business class fares to China, Hong Kong and Korea at least 60 percent on five separate occasions since March 15, according to online business class flight monitoring services. If you missed out on these lower fares, it’s probably because you didn’t run your search on the right day or at the right time.
Take a look at this example: a May 14 search showed round trip business class fares between Dallas and Shanghai departing on June 14 for $2,350, including taxes. The next day, fares for the same route and dates of travel jumped to $5,700. On May 20, the price dropped back down, with round trip business class fares starting at $2,850. The next day, May 21, fares rose once again to $5,900. Notice a pattern?
If your initial flight search returns only high fares, then keep searching. Over the next few days you may find that fares drop significantly compared to your initial search. Carriers consistently test the market with different fare levels, and prices are often cut if these inflated fares don’t sell.
On occasion, you may find the deal of a lifetime. On March 17, 2015, a new record low was set when American Airlines sold round trip business class tickets between Washington and Beijing for the staggeringly low price of $450, plus taxes.
You may not always be so lucky, but clever searching can still pay off. In May 2015, the lowest round trip business class fares with American Airlines were found in Dallas starting at $2,300, plus taxes, to Hong Kong or Shanghai. Delta decided to match American with similar fares to Asia from Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Phoenix — all hubs for American Airlines. If you think it’s a coincidence that Delta’s lowest business class fares were offered for travel originating in American Airlines hub cities, then think again.
Curiously, American Airlines did not announce or promote the lower fares to its frequent flyers. Instead, American seemed to hope that its top-tier flyers would miss out on 60 percent cheaper premium cabin fares. The same was true for Delta. It appears that airlines would rather their most loyal travelers miss these fare cuts and continue to wait for upgrades and pay extra fees with mixed results.
Another perk of lower fares is that they generally have relaxed booking terms including no specific advance purchase, possibly not even requiring a Saturday night stay. Lower fare levels tend to also have no specific seasonality restrictions, so they can be used next week or next year.
In airfare booking, patience and persistence might just be the ticket to helping you achieve rock bottom pricing to your final destination.