Throughout the years, I’ve offered one easy tip for finding great flight deals: window shopping. Sometimes the difference in flying economy and first class – not even premium or business – is the difference in glancing across the columns, or not. It might sound foolish, but it’s true.
There are genuine examples where airlines either (accidentally) or intentionally are selling first, business or premium economy for less than economy, and if you don’t bother looking, you’ll simply never know. Taking things further though, there’s another great way to touch luxury for a little bit less, and that’s by combining cabins.
Even if you find an amazing opportunity one way, you may not have the resources or desire to stretch and pay more than hoped both ways, or maybe you just don’t need the extra comfort going the other way. A few search engines and airlines allow you to combine cabins, so here’s how to make the most of that opportunity to find the perfect flight deal, for you…
Combining Airline Cabins
It’s easy – it’s the concept of flying one way in one cabin, and coming back in another. Maybe you don’t care about spending more on a day flight, but want extra room on the night flight back, or it could just be a desire to splurge one way, just to get a taste. Any reason is a good reason, especially when a higher cabin is on sale.
Let’s say I’m flying from London to New York round trip, and I’m taking a day flight to New York but a night flight back to London. I might not care about extra space for a day flight, so I’m happy to pay the lowest price – after glancing at first or business prices to compare, just to make sure there’s nothing crazy on offer.
But on the night flight back, I really, really want extra space – and ideally a bed. I may not be able to afford one both ways, so combining cabins on one booking allows me to compare and then lock in two different cabins, splitting the difference in cost. Like economy out, business back.
Unfortunately, there just aren’t a lot of websites that allow you to do that easily.
Actually, That’s A Lie
There are actually lots of ways to book multiple cabins in one spot, the problem is that those opportunities are rarely where you search for flight deals, and even if you are in the right place, they don’t exactly spell it out for you, either!
Most airlines allow you to book multiple cabins on one trip, but they only tend to do that on their websites. For example, you won’t see an option to mix cabins on Google Flights, or even Expedia. The best mainstream, non airline site for searching multiple cabins is actually Kayak. You simply click flights, then where it says “economy” you can click multiple, and choose which cabin you’d like for each part of the trip.
On airline websites, this is easy if you search for economy, or first, and it shows you all the options in between. You’ll see the price for each cabin directly in line with each other on websites like those of American, British Airways, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, United, Swiss, Lufthansa and more. Frustratingly, Air France and a few others don’t.
The key here is knowing that it’s totally okay to use them as you see fit!
The best way to find the perfect fare for you, is usually to find something that inspires you, perhaps in a cabin a little bit out of reach. Like a long haul business class deal for $1200 round trip. Why not take advantage of whichever half is cheaper, and fly economy the other way, if you can?
Basically, you want to use resources like our deals page, or anyone else that highlights great deals to show you opportunities where premium cabins are on sale, or economy is super cheap, and then you can do the rest to find a way to make it fit into your budget entirely, or just one way. All that matters is that you know you can, whether it makes sense every time, or not.