Middle Seat Hell? Your Ticket(s) to Salvation.
5/28/2008 3:04:33 PM Link
| Add comment
To your left, the big guy in the window seat. The really big guy. You’ve lost the armrest, fine. But Mr. 17A is also spilling a good three inches into your dear 17B…You shift right. But only so far. The woman in 17C has a large tote bag of Danielle Steel novels on her lap and breath that last saw a mint in the Cretaceous period.
5 hours, 55 minutes to go…
You tried, oh how you tried, to avoid this fate. But despite your miles and your American Express card and all your memberships with misleadingly named traveler’s programs…there you sit…and suffer.
Just another loser in the upgrade lottery.
Even miles up the wazoo mean nothing unless you book at least 11 months in advance. And you might as well forget about those pretty numbers when traveling on a holiday-- they won't help you.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Very few travelers pay full price for first and business class seats. Even those blessed ones flying on bigwig corporate expense accounts usually have tickets secured through some type of 40% off deal. Truth is, those first and business class tickets you were vying for aren’t always full. They just require a little insider help to obtain…
1) Secret Y-Up fares
Sure, airlines could give those empty seats to upgraders, but you can’t spell profit with “Free Upgrade.”
Hence, airlines offer Y-Up fares. They don’t bring in the huge revenue that full-fare arm-leg-kidney priced first class do, but it’s not like they’re asking for peanuts.
So why should you care?
Because these Y Up fares are comparable to—or even cheaper than-- last minute coach. And just because you can’t find them searching on your own, doesn’t mean they’re a myth. You probably won’t find Y-Up fares online. Ask your travel agent!
2) Traveling internationally? Buy consolidator or net fare.
There’s a network of consolidator fares that are 60% lower than published prices particularly if your trip is within one or two weeks. Travel agents can help you with the ins & outs of buying cheaper rate consolidator tickets.
Large travel agencies have negotiated net fares that can save you thousands. Normally, a last minute flight from NY to London is more than $8,000, but if you buy a tour ticket with a hotel, you can pay less than $4,000.
Also, all-business airlines L’Avion, Silverjet, and Eos have deals to select agencies at less then the published fares.
Once again, ask for help. Some large travel agencies have negotiated upgrade deals and 2-for-1 deals that you won’t find online.
Sound too good to be true? Cheaper business class tickets do almost always have some restrictions and they are about three times the cost of economy class, BUT they are still about half the cost of full fare business or first class.
3) Book three economy seats for two passengers.
You get as much room as in business class for about 25% of the cost. Sure, sure, it is economy. You don’t get fine meals or the solicitous flight attendants, but you can save $6-12 thousand on that six-hour flight (or 5 hours and 55 minutes and counting…) to Rome.