RyanAFAMSP From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 155 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 11 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 1873 times:
I just wanted to invoke the expertise of people on this forum in regards to the best method to purchase business class tickets for trans-atlantic trips at a good rate.
I would like to fly in J-class on either Air France or Alitalia on a trip that would bring me into CDG and out of MXP from the U.S. in May. I have seen references on previous posts to ticket brokers and travel agents. I assume that buying directly from the airlines is not the cheapest way to go. I used to be an airline employee, so this was never an issue. But for those of you on the sales end of the business, any information would be great.
Jaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1782 times:
Buy a copy of the NYT, Sunday edition. Go to the travel section and begin to troll the small print ads where they advertize cheap biz class fares. I've never paid more than about $ 1800 to fly J-class R/T to Europe. Most flights, however, route me via JFK or EWR, from where I've flown on VS, AA, AI, KL, and even SQ. Its hard to find tix on BA or LH.
WAH64D From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 966 posts, RR: 14 Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1637 times:
WAH64D, Air France in my opinion is one of the best airlines in the world. From the service, to the food, to the aircraft. Sure there dirty on the outside but the cabin is always quite clean for me!
ryanAFAMSP, go for Air France im sure you will enjoy!
I can't disagree with you as I have never had occasion to be on an AF flight. Just judging a book by its cover, many airlines have a white livery but I've never seen any get quite as dirty as AF. Air Canada and BA seem to be able to keep theirs clean most of the time. As for the airport, CDG is by far and away the worst international hub I've ever been through.
RyanAFAMSP From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 155 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1589 times:
The New York Times idea sounds like good advice. I am actually fine with a JFK or EWR departure as I may be on the East Coast at the time. Plus my home airport is MSP and all international fares tend to be shockingly high. I could fly anybody out to the east coast to hook up with AF to Paris.
As far as the dirty airplanes go, I think this is more of an obsession of A.Netters than a legitimate problem. I used to be a UA flight attendant, and I always thought AF had a tight, sophisticated operation, which is why I wanted to give them a shot for this trip.
Aerofan From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1515 posts, RR: 2 Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1580 times:
My advice is to steer clear of travel brokers. You may get stopped on checkin and asked to pay several thousand dollars more.
I don't know how much time u've got, but there are some 45day advance biz fares that are substantially lower than the non discounted fares. There are certain restrictions on these so u may want to be very careful and read all conditions before purchasing
Acvitale From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 921 posts, RR: 11 Reply 9, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1514 times:
My company uses a group called bt-store.com to purchase discount J tickets on KLM/NWA. However, with the cheap J fares to Europe you may be better off with the published fares. Have you considered CO's Biz Elite services.
The consolidator mentioned above has been very good for Africa and the Middle East. We have not used them for Europe with the low fares that the airlines are offering to the general public.
A final note. Many airlines have special deals for American Express cardholders. Especially, high level ones, Plat. for example. Try calling AMEX travel and asking about the buy one get one free J class tickets for two people traveling together on the same itinerary.
1millionflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 10, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1487 times:
I have flown AF and they stack up very very favorably to KL, DL, CO,US, AA and others, I have flown all these carriers transatlantic in both biz and coach, AF is a fine product and the new terminal in CDG is excellent.
maybe you are thinking of AF circa 1988 they are much different now.
Acvitale From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 921 posts, RR: 11 Reply 11, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1461 times:
One final thought,
As for connections in CDG. It must be the worst hub in all of Europe. I adore AMS as a connection point. I just wish KLM had a decent premium class lounge. Well for that matter a decent premium class product. But, I digress.
Geoffm From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2111 posts, RR: 7 Reply 12, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1397 times:
I assume that buying directly from the airlines is not the cheapest way to go.
Depends on the phase of the moon. Sometimes the airline is cheaper, sometimes online travel agents are cheaper. Shop around. My recent booking to and around South America from the UK meant booking some flights (a) directly with CO; (b) a couple on Expedia.co.uk; and (c) one on Opodo.co.uk. Each was cheapest for the particular flight(s) I needed.
Remember that if the same published fare is offered by both the airline and a travel agency, the travel agency will add a booking fee to cover its costs.
Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3691 posts, RR: 29 Reply 13, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1306 times:
A final note. Many airlines have special deals for American Express cardholders. Especially, high level ones, Plat. for example. Try calling AMEX travel and asking about the buy one get one free J class tickets for two people traveling together on the same itinerary
Not as good as it sounds. These are full fare, fully flexible J tickets and booked into J fare bucket. It is often cheaper to do a little legwork and book two discounted business tickets in D or I class.
I presume the OP meant J class as in business class tickets, not J class as in fully flexible business class tickets.....
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
Here are some highlights from the article, though: Airlines Cut Prices On Overseas Fares Looking for New Profits, Carriers Lure Fliers To Business Class
A 50-Day Advance Purchase
It is happening partly because airlines have been aggressively adding seats on international flights as travel rebounds. In November and December, load factors -- the percentage of available seats that are occupied -- declined on international flights, according to airline reports, because the increased traffic didn't quite keep up with the added seats. In the past, business-class was generally full and as a result discounts were unusual.
Now that the airlines have a lot more seats to sell, leisure travelers willing to shell out a little more to ride up front can enjoy a unique opportunity. But there is a significant hurdle: The best deals require purchasing a ticket unusually early. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines recently instituted a 42-day advance-purchase discount for New York-London business-class seats, and UAL Corp.'s United extended a 42-day advance purchase from Chicago to London and New York to London. Northwest Airlines has a 50-day discount business-class ticket from Minneapolis to London for $2,020 round-trip. British Airways also has put in a 42-day advance between U.S. cities and the U.K., and today is expected to announce a promotion aimed at selling more premium-class tickets to North American travelers: People who buy those high-end international tickets get enough bonus frequent-flier miles for two U.S. domestic round-trips.
RyanAFAMSP From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 155 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1168 times:
Thanks everyone for the great info and keep it coming if you got it.
And yes I should clarify I meant business class, not necessarily the J-fare itself. I would be perfectly okay with a non-flexible fare.
With Skyteam how likely would it be to find a lower-cost ticket on multiple carriers, for example the eastbound leg on AF JFK-CDG and the westbound on Alitalia MXP-JFK? I would just love to try them both for the variety.