Business travel volume tends to drop off a bit in the summer, when road warriors take their vacations. But airlines still have just as many premium cabin seats to fill, and some of them try to lure summer business with fare deals.
If you don’t have enough miles to secure award seats — or more likely, if you can’t find any award space — it might be worth your while to look around for business class fare sales. Many times you’ll find that the difference between a low business class fare and a high, peak season economy class fare is not all that much– especially during July or August.
The roundtrip summer sale fares we found start out as low as $1,699 round trip, but average around $3,000.
A word of caution: Airlines that cut business class fares in the summer often attach a long advance purchase requirements to the deal, so be prepared to lock in your travel dates a couple of months ahead of time. Also, keep in mind that even for the European carriers that do offer such deals, the number of seats available at the lowest advertised fares will be quite restricted. These fares are fleeting and may not last due to market conditions.
Business class fare sales are much more common with European carriers that US carriers. We scoured the websites of Delta, United and American and found no premium cabin fare sales to Europe at all for this summer. But, we’ve seen that US airlines sometimes quietly match these fares as summer approaches, so keep an eye out.
Here are some sample fares sales we found for summer travel. Will you take the bait and fly up front this year? The savings you’ll find due to the strong dollar might make these fares even more palatable this year.
- Lufthansa is currently offering transatlantic business class sale fares with a June 30 purchase deadline and a 60-day advance purchase requirement. They’re good for trips departing June 26-August 29 and returning July 7-November 29. Sample roundtrip business class fares start at $3,739 from Atlanta to Munich, $4,059 from Los Angeles to Berlin, and $3,599 from Chicago to Dusseldorf. Here’s how to know if you are buying the older angled lie flat (which will be phased out by end of second quarter of this year) or the new true lie flat seat on Lufthansa.
- A 60-day advance purchase also applies to Upper Class sale fares to London currently on offer at Virgin Atlantic. There’s currently an April 27 purchase deadline for travel from June 26 through August 29. (Some of the flights listed on Virgin’s sale page are operated by joint venture partner Delta.) Sample one-way fares start at $2,078 from Atlanta, $2,123 from San Francisco, $1,623 from New York JFK and Newark, $1,854 from Chicago and $2,023 from Los Angeles.
- Air France’s La Premiere Class (first) is on special offer for tickets bought by June 30 and travel between June 26 and August 29, with a 60-day advance purchase rule and a minimum stay over Saturday night. Non-refundable roundtrip fares start at $7,047 for travel from San Francisco to Nice, $6,022 from New York to Paris, and $8,166 from Los Angeles to Paris.
- Aer Lingus, which is rolling out a new business class cabin this year, also has 60-day advance purchase sale fares for premium seats this summer. Roundtrip prices start at $4,359 from San Francisco to Dublin, $3,479 from Chicago to Dublin, $2,999 from New York to Dublin or Shannon and $3,269 from Boston to Dublin or Shannon. They’re valid for business class travel from June 26 through August 29, although some blackout dates may apply in some markets.
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- Swiss is offering business class sale fares from New York for travel June 26-August 29. Roundtrip fares start at $3,022 to Geneva, $3,062 to Florence, $3,355 to Prague and $3,070 to Rome. Weekend surcharges may apply.
- La Compagnie, a boutique all-business class transatlantic airline that flies out of Newark with 74-seat 757-200s, is currently promoting special summer fares available for purchase through October 15. Rates are $1,699 roundtrip for travel to Paris Charles de Gaulle, and $1,798 roundtrip from Newark to London’s Luton Airport.
- SAS has sale fares out of Houston on its all-business-class, 44-seat 737-700 service to Stavanger and beyond (connections to Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Aberdeen, London and Frankfurt) starting at $3,183 roundtrip, available for ticketing through August 31 with a minimum three-day stay. It also frequently discounts business class fares between other US cities and Scandinavia. They’re only available through flysas.com/us. Also, check out SAS’s newly refurbished biz class cabins coming to a jet near you soon!
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