Have you ever wondered which airlines regularly offer the cheapest business class fares?
The secret is out! Flying in business class has genuinely never been so affordable, and if you really do your research, you could be flying on a lie flat bed for the same price as an economy ticket.
The business class section of the market is incredibly competitive as airlines are pushing harder than ever to take their share of the premium traveller market. However, not all business classes were created the same, and not all connecting routes were made the same—if you know where to look, and you don’t mind a connection on your journey, you could be flying in business class for the same price as a direct flight in economy.
There are certain airlines that consistently have very cheap business class tickets. Your own private space, (slightly) better reheated food, all the alcohol your liver desires, and, most importantly, a bed.
Below we list some of the cheapest airlines to fly in business class, and some of the more common connecting routes to bag a seat on these carriers versus the competition.
If you’re flying between Europe and the U.S. then Aer Lingus offer some great lie flat business class fares one way. Their business class on the A330 is a solid product, although don’t expect it to win awards anytime soon. You can expect fares of around $1,500 return from Europe to the East Coast and $1,800 return if flying to the West Coast.
So you’re looking at about double the economy fare on British Airways or American Airlines, and with the added bonus of a stop in Dublin if you want to see a little bit or Ireland. However, there are cheaper options available as you’ll see below, yet, they are not quite up to Aer Lingus which offers one of the most cost effective ways of having a decent quality bed over the Atlantic.
If you’re flying between North and South America, then AeroMexico offers some incredibly cheap business class fares. Connections are through Mexico City, and for any flights onwards to São Paulo or Santiago, you’ll be flying on a 787 Dreamliner with lie flat beds. I booked a fare from Los Angeles to São Paulo for just $650 one way, which was nearly 14 hours flying time in business class. Not bad at all!
AeroMexico also offer great fares (sometimes) from London to Mexico City, and if you book a flight on the 787-9 (as opposed to the 787-8), you’ll get a very competitive business class product in a 1-2-1 seating configuration.
Unless you’re flying on the new Turkish Airlines 787 business class, their product is relatively uncompetitive. On the Turkish Airlines flagship Boeing 777, 2-3-2 seating means that middle seats in business class are an unfortunate presence on Turkish Airlines. That being said, very often, you can bag a great fare if you’re flying between the Middle East and Europe to the U.S. or from Europe to Asia. As an example, passengers could book Turkish Airlines from Europe to South East Asia for around $950 one-way.
Although that’s a little more expensive than some of the other airlines’ great deals on this list, Turkish Airlines do offer a more extensive route network. Fares are not always cheap on Turkish but it’s always worth checking with them for a great fare.
Icelandair is never going to win any awards for its business class product. However, if you factor in price versus quality, then Icelandair becomes very competitive when flying between Europe and the U.S.
Their “business class” is more like a domestic First Class in the U.S., meaning no lie flat beds. However, for as low as $1,000 return between Europe and the East Coast of the U.S., the prices are more comparable with economy fares. Not to mention a free stop in Iceland!
If you’re flying between Europe and the U.S. then TAP is going to very likely be your best value option. With an ever expanding route map in the U.S. and a new and very respectable business class offering on their A330-900neos, fares across the Atlantic are as little as $675 one way. TAP has also recently introduced the A321LR neo which is adding further business class options from Lisbon.
Importantly, many legacy carriers offer expensive return-only fares. So if you want to fly between Europe and Miami, New York or San Francisco for a great price, and one way only, then it’s always worth checking out business class on TAP via Lisbon.
When an airline markets its premium product (flatbed) as inclusive of a free bottle of water and a basic meal, you know that you should have relatively low expectations. The first 2 rows of AirAsia business class are essentially a shell seat. Don’t expect nice blankets, any drinks (you still have to pay), even in-flight entertainment or anything beyond the lie flat seat.
So why book this? Well, it is incredibly cheap. I recently booked a six-hour flight in Air Asia flatbeds for just over $300. An incredible deal for a bed. Just make sure you BYO everything else!