As we pass the mid point of 2019, travellers inevitably start thinking about 2020 travel plans. Whether there is a wedding to attend, a bucket list cruise, or an annual escape from the New Zealand winter, getting the timing right for booking Business Class or Premium Economy airfares so as to not overpay is important.
Historically there was a much anticipated build up to the "UK / Europe Earlybird Season". Airlines would reset prices to the lowest levels for the season to reward travellers who paid for their airfares early. Prices then gradually increased as we approached peak travel periods and the flights filled up (gone are the days of "last minute" specials to fill an empty flight). Prices very rarely reduced after the Earlybird Season as airlines were well aware of the wrath of passengers (and their travel agents) who committed early, only to later discover they would have been better to wait.
After keeping our clients informed about Business Class flights to the UK / Europe for sometime now, and talking with the airline representatives, we felt that the 2019 Earlybird Season would be different and we published this blog: When Is the Best Time to Book a 2019 UK / Europe Business Class Airfare? In that blog we discuss the move to "Rolling Business Class Specials" rather than the traditional Earlybird Model.
What does this mean for 2020 travel?
For 2020 Business Class and Premium Economy airfares to the UK and Europe we expect to see the Rolling Business Class specials continue. The focus is therefore on availability of discounted airfares on your preferred travel dates.
The general rule is: The earlier you book, the more likely you are to secure the discounted seats on a flight.
As new specials are released that cover a new travel period, we update the UK / Europe Business Class Specials page on our website and send out a Business Class Sales Alerts by email (and update our Facebook and Linkedin pages).
So When Should I Contact Fine Travel to Book My Airfare?
Once you have set travel dates and a Business Class special covers those dates, it's a good idea to book your flights. Each special has specific travel dates, and generally airlines only release seats for booking 11 months in advance.
You'll see on our UK / Europe Business Class specials page that we include the travel periods for a particular special. So for example, at the time of writing this blog in July 2019, airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways have released Business Class specials for travel until 31 May 2020.
What if I don't want to pay So Far in Advance?
Unfortunately, unlike cruises, airlines require full payment at the time of booking - you can't just pay a deposit. This can be a challenge if you've put funds on a term investment that you were planning to use for a holiday. As a full service travel agency Fine Travel accepts forms of payment such as Q Card which can often provide interest free terms and payment holidays.
Is There Anything to do while I wait?
Although it may be too early to book an airfare, often we can book cruises and tours further in advance. Generally only a deposit is required to secure your booking and that makes it easier to then plan your airfares. You might also be able to take advantage of an Earlybird cruise or tour special.