As the summer rolls in, business travel demand wanes and leisure travel demand booms.
That means the inventory of available seats at the front of the plane expands since most vacationers don’t think they can afford first class.
But with airlines putting first and business class seats on sale, the gap between coach and first class prices is becoming narrower.
A good example of this is Delta’s first class sale launched today. Delta says it is offering first class, domestic round trip fares for as little as $226 to $750 round trip.
Mid-June fares between New York LaGuardia and Atlanta: Cheapest coach: $336 round trip, cheapest first class: $416. So that means you can sit up front for just $80 more roundtrip. I’d do that.
This is pretty remarkable: Along the California Corridor between LAX and San Francisco, July fares in first class are running about $250 round trip, while coach fares are $212. I’d pay $40 more for a first class seat.
Other examples: Los Angeles LAX – Seattle in July. First class is $407, economy is around $300. I’d pay $100 or so more for a big seat up front for a that two-hour 45-minute flight.
Denver to Atlanta in coach during July is about $350 round trip. In first we found a few seats for just $506. $150 more to sit up front? Sure.
New York-Orlando is $456 roundtrip in first while coach fares are in the $250 range. That fare differential pretty much holds true for nearly all NYC-FL nonstops. Not bad!
NOTE: These fares were checked on May 14 and subject to change, unavailability.
I was hoping to see some nice discounts on transcon first class fares but they are still in the $1,000 range between SFO, LAX and Atlanta for example.
- Fares are available during the peak summer season: June 3 to August 7
- You must buy tickets 21 days in advance, and no later than May 27.
- A Saturday night stay is required. As usual, blackout dates apply- they vary by city and most are in June. .
- Here’s a link to Delta’s first class sale page
We’ve seen transatlantic business class sales this spring, now they are coming to domestic flights.
Here’s a link to Virgin America’s first and main cabin select summer sale. I expect other airlines to match Delta’s fares shortly, so shop around!
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