Airlines love squeezing cash out of their lemons. When you have a big plane just sitting around on a tarmac, it's costing dollars not making beautiful profitable lemonade. I won't even pretend to go into how complicated airline route agreements are, but each airline is kind of allowed a freebie route where they can sell one flight out of their usual jurisdiction, usually a fairly short obscure flight while the plane is waiting for its next long flight. Why do you care? Because this creates unique opportunities to fly on a plane configured for long haul flights with flat beds and nice amenities for dirt cheap prices. Will you want a larger taste? Here are a few ways to test out some of the best luxury in the sky without the price tag.
LAN Dreamliner Business Class Frankfurt to Madrid
New planes and flat beds, what a combo. Dreamliners are stellar whatever cabin you are traveling in and compared to your usual small plane regional business class (never worth it) this is a haven. You will find flat bed seats, solid tv screens and even some champagne. Sure Ryanair and the other European discounters have their merits, but for these prices I'll take the lounges, amenities and of course, the bed.
Cost Range: €175-€275 round trip.
Garuda Indonesia 777-300 First + Business Amsterdam to London Gatwick
Garuda offers one of the most luxurious first class products in the world. Sure you don't get it for long, but if you ever wanted to know what a glamorous airplane suite complete with amenity kit and Billecart Salmon champagne feels like, this is a nice taste. If you want to save a bit and opt for flat business class instead of a full on suite, you'll save a couple hundred bucks. Regardless, trying this product will make you never want to turn right again. Save those miles : )
Cost Range: £140-£280 depending on business or first one way.
TAM 767-300 Business Class New York to Toronto
My boss loves this flight. As most of you know, shorter flights are generally served by shorter and smaller aircraft offering a bumpier ride, less personal space and if you are lucky enough to get an upgrade, just a bigger seat and nothing more. This plane operates the magical extra allowed route for TAM inbetween scheduled flights from New York to Brazil. Bottom line you are able to snag a solid flat bed experience and airport priority screening for less than most coach flights on a crappy plane.
Cost Range: $86-$160 each way.
Thai Airways 747-400 Business + First Hong Kong to Phuket
Using location based ticketing you can get local prices making this a steal. if you also know how to use SeatGuru you can figure out which of the several daily flights operates the internationally configured plane offering their first class suites and newer business product. Thai's first is one of the better in the air offering enough space for even the greatest "jumbo jet" of a passenger.
Cost Range: $375-$550 round trip.
Let's be honest, none of us look forward to these seats. If you're anything like me there is no such thing as a small taste of something I love. If I am all in, it's all in. I think this post is a very clever way to experience what is out there without gambling the ranch.
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