How to fly business class for less

Jean wants to book flights to Indonesia and is thinking about splurging on an upgrade to business class, only she wants to know if there’s a way to do it that won’t cost the earth. In today’s Travel SOS, Leon gives her some tips to get bumped up to business class.

Q. Jean
I would like to go to Bali for a week and there’s a good deal for a seven-day resort holiday that will save me heaps of money. So, I was thinking of spoiling myself and spending a bit extra on a business class seat on the way there. Is there a cheap way to do it?

A. Good on you for treating yourself. I always walk past the business class seats and think one day. I know you’ll feel like a million dollars once you arrive in Bali, but you don’t want to spend a million for the privilege.

There are a few ways you can get a business class seat for a bit less than you might think.

Firstly, I’d recommend looking at low-cost carriers. Jetstar flies to Bali and its business class is also more affordable. By all accounts, the seats are super-comfy, you get inflight entertainment, 30kg checked baggage, priority boarding, food and premium drinks on demand and an amenities kit all for around the same price as a Qantas economy fare.

If you’re wary of low-cost airlines, then you could search Skyscanner for the cheapest available business class flights.

You can also bid on an upgrade using cash or your saved points. Sometimes airlines have empty business class seats and in a bid (pardon the pun) to fill them, they’ll hold an auction process a few days before departure.

If you belong to a frequent flyer points program, you can use your points towards an upgrade. You may even have enough to get the upgrade for free. Sometimes your credit card company can give you an ‘in’ on upgrades, too.

The other way to do it is to look out for the best deals and book early. Sign up for special offers with all the major carriers and you’ll be the first to know about early-bird deals.

If all else fails, and you don’t want to fork out for a full-fare business class seat, buy your economy ticket, dress nicely, rock up to the airport flight desk with a big smile and your best manners and ask nicely for an upgrade. If you’re travelling by yourself, you may have a pretty good chance at getting bumped up to business class.

Good luck with your search, Jean!

Do you have any tips for Jean getting an in expensive business class upgrade? Have you flown business class on a low-cost carrier? What was it like?

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