Business Class Air Fares

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  • TMC Woking

    FYI, air fares in all cabins, particularly business and first class though, have always had the capacity to be very expensive. All airlines have multiple fare levels/prices in every cabin, for example, Thai has 27 business class fares filed on LHR BKK.

    Post pandemic however, demand has skyrocketed and passengers are more often than not seeing only fares at the higher end of the scale.

    The number of seats priced at the lower end can also be manipulated by airlines, thus driving higher yield or Revenue per Passenger Kilometre (RPK).

    From what I see on a daily basis fares will remain high in the premium cabins for sometime yet, in part due to strengthening demand from corporate pax.

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    Speaking to a friend of mine working for a major EU carrier, a month or so ago on this very subject, his reply was, “because we can, and people are willing to pay”.
    A very honest, if brutal answer I thought!

    PS. Apologies if you’re seeing this twice. I did post it a few minutes ago, but it disappeared!!

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    Midlands Traveller

    I would agree with LuganoPirate. The carriers are under no obligation to strive for lower pricing. It is supply and demand and at the moment those on the supply side are well placed.

    Not always the case of course. How many airlines have gone out of business because they couldn’t price sufficiently highly? I vaguely remember reading at the time of Sabena’s demise that they had made an annual profit twice since they resumed operations after the war. And another nod to Flybe here.

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    [quote quote=1343905]I would agree with LuganoPirate. The carriers are under no obligation to strive for lower pricing. It is supply and demand and at the moment those on the supply side are well placed.[/quote]

    So true.

    I mean look at the example of LHR-SYD. Those Asian carriers who would normally discount and then prompt the majors to reduce their prices are not in the Europe-Australia market right now.

    In addition we find that sixth-freedom carriers like SIA can easily fill their Singapore-Australian flights with Asian travellers and especially now that China is opening up. Hence SIA’s high fares from Europe.

    But you *may* find good rates on certain routes if you choose an indirect carrier and shop around.

    In a recent posting I gave the example of where BA was not only undercutting Emirates business class rate between Dubai and New York (via LHR) by a couple of thousand pounds (not Dirhams !) but BA was selling the above route in business class for less than it would charge UK travellers for London-New York.


    I’ve never been able to fathom airline ticket pricing.

    I said on a JV board in Doha for many years before retiring, and, having a daughter in Melbourne would often add a DOH-MEL to my trip if it meant I could get a long weekend out there.

    Oddly, on some accessions LHR-DOH-MEL return in J on QR was often cheaper than LHR-DOH return, and on some occasions only a little bit more expensive.

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    [postquote quote=1343933]

    Years ago Colin Marshall of BA said “if people can figure out how we set our fares we are in trouble”.

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    [postquote quote=1343967]

    That’s right. I once saw a published interview where a high up person in BA was asked why they don’t publish how they set their fares. The BA person replied that there was no way on earth they were going to do that.


    My wife and I are both flying from Accra to London on Thursday night, with BA. They are two separate bookings as I knew my plans well before she did. I booked in WTP and then used avoid to upgrade to business. For my wife, I booked her in Economy and then used avois to upgrade her to WTP. Still not ideal for domestic harmony though!

    I just tried to upgrade her online from WTP to CW with cash and they want another 3,500 pounds. For a 6.5 hour flight. Of course we may find that it is fully booked anyway, but I will see what happens when I ask at check in.

    But how could anyone justify 3,500 for a WTP to CW upgrade with almost the same food and the same IFE. I am BA gOld and she is BA silver so we can already check in at the business counter and use the lounge. I fail to see how this could be a serious proposition…. but that is what the computer says!


    It is I believe just a matter of time and just a year perhaps will have things back to ‘normal’

    Almost no major carriers are yet to run a full pre covid schedule with even the least effected like Singapore were still running at about 80% last time that I looked.

    As soon as majors are again running to full schedules discounting and ‘special’ fares will I am sure slowly return starting with the less well funded airlines who need to fill their aircraft to survive.

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    Many good points here, thanks to all.
    In particular, rising costs resonate. And this affects all of the supply chain, including airport services, over which airlines may have little direct control.
    A travel agent suggested would I not wish to consider an alternative destination? There are still a few routes with high competition and fares more akin to “old school” fare levels. If you are hung up on BKK, however, it is unfortunately a case of put up and shut up. these are the new fare levels for the foreseeable future.
    As Tom notes on capacity constraints and costs, there is also the dynamic in economies with ageing populations (compounded in the UK with a confused immigration policy) of staff costs continuing to rise due to supply constraints.
    My fear is that these fare levels will persist beyond 2025. Without a flooding of seats to the market, airlines will enjoy this period of high yield and profit, and these fares could become embedded. Once accepted by the market, suppliers will only cut prices if they are forced to, e.g. by government intervention, regulation or supply exceeding demand, with none of these scenarios looking likely without new entrants and with persisting high levels of demand.


    You make some good points here LHRSENflyer.

    One thing I have learnt from my decades reporting on aviation is that there is no certainty.

    Yes there remains a capacity shortage but in the years ahead (assuming everything goes according to plan) those mammoth orders for new aircraft placed by Air India and the Saudi carriers (on which we have reported recently) will mean a capacity boost between Europe, SE Asia with some services expanding to Australia.

    These airlines will not solely concentrate on the point-to-point market. They want to get more involved in sixth-freedom traffic.


    BA for MAN-PHL in April £7200 return in F…. I can wait until October when it is £3100 How on earth has business travel rebounded at these kinds of prices. Have people not heard of Zoom ? If I was in charge of travel in a major corporation, there is now way people would be travelling at these prices.

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    There are dates when this BA F class fare is higher still.

    Out April 16, return April 21 and the price will be £9,000.


    [quote quote=1351546]If I was in charge of travel in a major corporation, there is now way people would be travelling at these prices.[/quote]

    There are large numbers of (non-business) travellers for whom the cost of air travel is not relevant – media personalities, sportspeople, multi-millionaires, even princes (!)

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    I read this thread with interest as fly LHR BKK often used to be regular on EVA and Swiss (which I love). Had to use Thai post pandemic and just flown Finnair. Finnair fly’s 14 flights a week on the route and were full both ways. So I have no idea why BA cannot put a 4 class A380 on the route? Seems odd as it is such a tourist trap, there is also so few firsts seats on this route from Europe Thai and Swiss. Also does anyone know why Terminal 2 at BKK has not opened? I think there maybe no need for extra capacity but odd Thai don’t take it over?

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