When UK / Europe Earlybird airfares are released, planning ahead to secure the cheapest Business Class booking classes can be the main factor in securing the greatest discount.
Finding The Right Mix of Price and Availability
When the Earlybird Business Class airfares are launched, prices are generally at the lowest we expect to see AND there are lots of seats available at those prices. When looking for the best price on a particular airline we are searching for two main factors:
- Price of the fare class.
- Availability of the fare booking class.
The price of the cheapest Business Class fare class was the focus of this companion article: When is the Best Time to Book an Earlybird Airfare to the UK and Europe. With healthy airline competition in the Business Class market between New Zealand and the UK and Europe, these cheaper "lead in" airfares have stayed relatively low.
What we are seeing affect the price paid for Business Class airfares is the limited availability of the cheapest Business Class booking classes as we move closer to peak travel seasons.
What Happens If the Cheapest Fare Class is Unavailable?
When the cheapest fare class has sold out, we search for the next available fare class. This may be on one or both legs of the journey. So on your outward journey we may be able to secure the cheapest Business Class fare class, but on the return journey only the second cheapest is available. Or, the cheapest fare class may not be available at all, so you have to go with the second cheapest fare class for the entire journey.
To illustrate this with an example based on a Business Class airfare we have seen:
- Using the cheapest fare class the lead in price is approximately $6,000pp return
- If the cheapest fare class is only available in one direction, the price increases by $550pp.
- If the cheapest fare class isn't available at all, the price for the next cheapest booking class increases by $1,100pp.
It's important to appreciate that each itinerary will be different. For example, if no cheaper booking classes are available there could be a significant price jump to a full Business Class airfare.
We therefore have two factors that can affect the price actually paid for a Business Class airfare to the UK and Europe:
- Increases in the base price of the cheapest Business Class fare class.
- Scarcity of the cheapest Business Class booking class requiring a more expensive booking class to be bought.
It's also important to remember that airlines will generally offer different Business Class airfares to different cities in the UK and Europe and airport taxes can also have a considerable impact on the final price (which we cover in our article on Open Jaw Business Class Airfares to the UK and Europe).
Our recommendation is to avoid being lulled into a false sense of security by low lead in Business Class airfares to the UK and Europe. These low airfares are available, but the important questions are whether airfares are available on the dates you want and to the destinations you want. The closer we get to peak travel season the greater the chance that the cheapest Business Class booking classes will be sold out.