Business class fare sales ex-LON to SE AsiaBack to Forum
Anonymous25 Mar 2010
This time last year, there was a slew of fantastic fares to SE Asia. In particular, there was tit-for-tat discounting from BA/QF, CX, SQ and EK, on consecutive weekends, when you could get to SIN/BKK/HKG for around GBP1600 in business and about half as much again in first. For one of my trips I managed to book an EK F promotion (F for the price of C) to SIN for GBP1600
This year, no such luck. Yes, the year round TG F/C to BKK at 1500/2400 is still easily available through consolidators, TK is still doing c.GBP1600 to most of Asia, and there are still some moderately attractive QR fares, esp to BKK. But all the decent airlines are pricing out at nearly double what they were last year – yes, 2900 in C on SQ is an ok fare, but 1600 last year (a promotion that was repeated like clockwork, once every four weeks for 3 months) was much better!
The particularly cheeky one IMHO is EK – I thought EK F was distinctly average/inconsistent/amateur, and this year they want over 3400 for the same flights/routes! (and a deeply not-worth-it 2300 in C) So EK is definitely off my list, especially after the sudden devaluation of their now useless Skywards programme
So… Any ideas if there will be any more fare sales this year? I know the economy has improved, but loads can’t be much better than last year (when my last C-class flight on the SQ A380 was roughly 30% full in C…) Or any suggestions of consolidators who can get access to the decent F/C fares on BA/SQ etc? (I already know about WestEast, Lees and Emerald, thanks) Or perhaps I should wait for the traditional post-BA strike premium fare sale (and tit-for-tat response)?25 Mar 2010
cityprofessional: though you’re probably correct in your speculation that the number of travellers has not improved significantly since last year, loads reportedly have improved as airlines cut capacity and delay fleet deliveries.
British Airways and others have, perhaps even more significantly, reported a slight improvement in premium cabin loads, which should be helping to bolster fares.
Your mention of the current BA industrial action is relevant, however so is that of Lufthansa, TAP, Air France et al, the combination of which is probably catalysing something of a stasis in terms of promotional activity across the industry.
So whilst British Airways might be expected to go into a ‘sale’ if and when the cabin crew dispute is fully played-out, they may be reluctant to do so as they seek the potential opportunity to attract higher-margin business from customers moving away from other IR-affected carriers.
The advice would probably therefore very much depend on your own personal circumstaces; if you need to be somewhere and you can see availability that meets those needs at a fare that you can justify, then book it.
If your travel is discretionary and/or your dates are flexible, then keep trawling the net – both agency and airline sites – and speak to a couple of specialists like Trailfinders regularly too. Just be prepared for nothing happening and you ending up not travelling at all.
One tactical thought would be, if you wanted to book before the end of the month, to find a friend/colleague who has an unused discount code issued to those who booked BA flights during the last sale. These 15% off codes can only be used when the nominated recipient is logged into their BAEC account, but they are then free to use the one-time only code for any passenger they choose. On that basis, BA to SIN/BKK would work out at a shade over £2000 in Club, and a little more than £3900 in First for select dates over the Summer and on into the Autumn.25 Mar 2010
An interesting and thorough summary.
While loads are still challenging airlines, capacity has been reduced so that is feeding through to keep fares more stable than was the case last year.
Meanwhile, APD taxes continue their relentless rise (currently £434 on an exLON J rtn to SYD, and set to rise again in November!!), oil is not getting any less expensive and there are fewer super prmium fully flex fares being purchased, which makes it less easy to discount.
I think Finnair have some deals on right now, if like the cold.25 Mar 2010
So much capacity has been taken out by airlines especially BA and Qantas on the kangaroo route, that dscounts are neither necessary or likely. Last year family of 4 to SYD with stop in SIN in F BA/QF for £11K. This year more than double. This is the real affect of alliances on passengers and fares. The QF /BA alliance may be working for the carriers but the impact on premium cabin fares is clear for all to see. Once BA pitch their fares ex LHR the other carriers all fall in behind as the market clearly supports this fare levels and the seats that are available are being filled.
There will be no deals in the short term but ex Europe fares in some cases on BA., can prove to be much cheaper that a journey starting in London. Stockholm and Budapest are good for this. Check ot Hopwise for latest best prices.25 Mar 2010
Try using http://www.kayak.co.uk
It’s a price comparison web site, which searches multiple airlines and consolidators. Very useful for quickly searching fares across the market. I have also found it useful for finding routings I would not have thought possible myself.
After entering the initial search criteria, wait for results to appear. Then you can use the very comprehensive filter options shown the right hand side of the screen to narrow down the results. Including searching just particular airlines or airlines within the main alliances.
A sample search for LHR to SIN in business class for May 2010 out on Saturday 22nd May and returning Saturday 29th May searched 32 different travel providers. Cheapest results were for Turkish Airlines at £1679.
I have no direct or indirect affiliation with http://www.kayak.co.uk what so ever. I am just a user who has found it useful for some of my travel planning needs.25 Mar 2010
Kayak is one of many websites that are always worth checking but, like them all, it’s far from infallible – nor does it search for everything available.
Its search parameters are somewhat restricted by design, and it can only read from certain data feed points in its supplier websites. This means that the booking fees added by some sites are ignored, raising the risk of the final price paid not being that which was originally shown as the cheapest.
It also suffers from some odd quirks; it claims to interrogate QR’s website, yet for sample dates it shows ebookers being the cheapest site for a LHR-SIN itinerary – at £2219.26. It doesn’t show the £25.00 ebookers credit card fee but, more significantly (given the fact that it suggests that it checks QR’s site), the best price is in fact currently on the QR site – just £1844.30 with no fees.
Unfortunately, there’s no replacement for leg (or click)-work.25 Mar 2010
Re: Kayak. Fine if you want to check ebookers and expedia, but does not have any “true” consolidators listed on it
Re: Capacity. Yes, BA has lowered Kangaroo capacity somewhat, but QF has A380s, is selling F as J on some routes, and there are now even more QR/EK/EY flights into both SE Asia and Australia
Re: Finnair. OK fares, but no cheaper than LH/OS/AF/KL – and until they fully retrofit into flat beds, you may as well take a middle eastern airline (although I realise the TPs are helpful for some). Swiss also used to do some super cheapies ex-LHR to BKK/HKG (sub 1500), but they also seem to have dried up
Re: ex-EU. Weakness of the GBP doesn’t make it nearly as attractive as it used to be. Yes you can get discounts on BA ex-LHR fares, but you can get much cheaper ex-LHR on TG/EK/EY/QR
All-in-all, I fear I’m going to be paying more this year than last, and not much hope of getting into SQ C or EK F for as little as I paid last year 🙁25 Mar 2010
I can’t offer anything any good news – just sympathy.
There was a discussion sometime ago –
– about business class fares being much higher than last year. Seems like things haven’t really improved. 3000 quid for an SQ return from London to Singapore two weeks ago. Excellent analysis by continentalclub.25 Mar 2010
Anyone flown Egypt air? I have been offered business class LHR to SIN at £1020 plus £241 for taxes? havent booked. I hear the A330 from Cairo does not have flat bed just 40in leg room? Is that true? Can help appreciated!25 Mar 2010
@BMIdiamondclubfan, haven’t tried Egyptair, but there’s no alcohol either onboard or in the lounges, and am sure have seen reports that business is more like premier economy on other airlines. From what I can make out, the 777-200s (to BKK) have tight armchair-style seats, although the A330s to KUL and the new 777-300s to LHR are allegedly lie flat. The potential upside is you can use the bmi codeshare for LHR-CAI, although the connection times for the Far East are not great26 Mar 2010
I agree, searching for return fares through to Sydney in the next few weeks, they are double the amounts + from this time last yr, as well as last November (SQ A380 Business return LHR – SYD was £1,930).
Prices to Asia are more than this at the moment. Business cabins have been reduced, Premium Economy is now set at the price of previous Business class (VS want £2,100 return PE to SYD!)
First Class is dis-appearing. Planes have been removed lessening services, & some are using older Aircraft, with noticeably less comforts, food, & the aircraft are looking shabby. (TG / MH for eg).
The days of booking ex other Gateways in other currencies, are gone. The value o the £ is down 30-40% against some volatile or lesser internationally used currencies even…ZA Rand, UAE Dirham, Thai Baht, & at a 40 yr low against the Australian $!.
Perhaps it is the best time to use up those miles, for long haul C travel, as they will be giving you twice the value as the fares are more than doubled now…?
I agree, no movement on long haul fares this year so far. Cannot see that changing…
VK is also correct that the taxes & add on’s have become ridiculous from the UK & will be worse in November. I travel out of EU gateways whenever possible now, & come November with the increases, on principle i would rather take a short economy flight / train to Board my long haul from the EU, than pay the UK Government money, that is being used for nothing to do with Environmental preservation.
Paying just to get off the island…or are we being enclaved here?!27 Mar 2010
does anyone have any experience of buying tickets via ameican agents selling airmiles. I have recently been to Asia at a cost of £2300 in F – QF out Cathay back and previously using Finnair/BA. Appareantly in the states this is big business and in the main it is using American Airline miles. I always check with the airlines about the validity of the ticket and I always get a receipt in relation to my travel insurance.28 Mar 2010