Cheapest First Class Challenge

Vanessa Conlon

We just challenged our experts to find the absolute cheapest way to fly in the world's best first-class cabins. Imagine our surprise at the winning entry: only $690! Keep reading for all the details and a step-by-step guide outlining how you can fly cheap first class too.

By Vanessa Conlon · July, 2013

It All Started With 85% Off My Own Flight

You wouldn't believe it. I could barely believe it myself. I scored a non-stop Air Canada flight in Executive First, from Sydney to Vancouver for only $1,200. That flight is normally over $8,000! As a first-class first timer you can imagine my joy.

The Response

When I told my friends about this deal, the responses were mixed. From amazement (really?!) to disbelief (they'll refuse you at the gate). One friend scolded me, "Vanessa, if you can't afford to fly business, don't fly it. If you can afford it, pay full price".

Come on! I'd found out how to fly business class on the cheap! Happy face! Right? Having flown no less than six times from Australia to Europe return, stuffed into a full economy cabin, the opportunity to fly in style was just too tempting.

The Approach

I nervously walked towards the Sydney check-in counters, half expecting Air Canada to turn me away. I had done nothing wrong, but the deal just felt too good to be true.

Despite carrying my old threadbare backpack, I was greeted with a big smile and treated like royalty. Immediately, I knew I'd made the right decision. I was fast-tracked through customs and given access to the Air New Zealand (Star Alliance) lounge where I could help myself to a buffet breakfast, take a shower, and relax.

The Idea

Suffice to say, this was the best flight I'd ever experienced. But it also gave me an idea. I'd already tested the experts with this trip, but how about we push the envelope a little further to show you what's really possible.

Our Showcase Contest

The Challenge to our experts was simple. We asked them to help the average person experience the best first-class cabins in the world for as little money as possible. The flight could be from anywhere to anywhere, but the flight had to be at least six hours long, and had to be on the airline's best planes and in their latest first-class cabins.

The Airlines

We turned to the 2013 World Airline Awards to find the top first-class airlines:

  • Etihad Airways
  • ANA All Nippon Airways
  • Emirates Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Lufthansa

The Prize

To save big, we needed to motivate the experts. So, for this contest, Flightfox paid a $500 finder's fee. Sounds hefty, but we knew (hoped) the experts would deliver something amazing.

Showcase Contest Results

The results were mind-blowing.

The Winner

XtremeTravel, the winning expert, found a non-stop flight on Lufthansa's newest Boeing 747-800 from Frankfurt to Delhi for $693 (10% of the retail fare). This is in their best first-class cabin and would normally cost ~$7,000.

That's an 8 hour flight in Lufthansa's first-class cabin for only $693!

But how did he do it? Well, we can't give too much away, but we can say he has industry tools and knowledge that help him uncover unbelievably cheap premium-class flights. And in this particular case, it was the unusual routing that helped the most.

To top off this deal, flying out of Frankfurt means experiencing Lufthansa's dedicated first-class Terminal where you're wined, dined and chauffeur driven to your aircraft. In a Porsche, of course.

The Runner Ups

A close second was Xro, also with flights on Lufthansa's 747-800s:

  • $887: Bangalore to Frankfurt (RRP $4,024)
  • $879: Astana to Frankfurt and Bangalore (RRP $14,669)

And coming in third was Paul44, with Lufthansa:

  • $1,003: Delhi - Frankfurt - Almaty (RRP $7,376)

What if you don't want to fly between Central Asia, Europe and India? These routes tend to be more "popular" with Flightfox customers:

  • $996 Emirates: Melbourne - Singapore - Colombo (RRP $8,245), Florinmicsa
  • $1,250 Etihad: Abu Dhabi - London (RRP $5,666), Paul44
  • $1,258 Etihad: Abu Dhabi - Paris (RRP $5,666), Tovlad
  • $1,265 Lufthansa: Tokyo - Frankfurt - Bangkok (RRP $28,479), RDX
  • $1,572 Lufthansa: Frankfurt - Washington D.C. (RRP $9,635), Tovlad
  • $1,600 Lufthansa: New York - Frankfurt (RRP $11,009), Paul44

Interestingly, this challenge showed that some routes in the world are cheap in first-class even without tricks.

Cheap First-Class For You Too!

Before rushing to launch a first-class trip request, it's important to understand a few things. Not many people want to fly anywhere in the world. Most travellers have a destination in mind and wouldn't want to leave their plans up to chance. That's why we created the Super Cheap First Class package. This premium package allows you to choose where you'd like to go and your expert will arrange the cheapest first class travel option.

But for the best results, you must be happy with the following:

  • Flying economy for a part of the way, to get to/from other airports
  • Being flexible with dates and travel periods
  • Booking across multiple websites, in multiple languages

This may sound like a hassle, but consider it a special deal for your next vacation. Instead of taking the road most traveled, live on the wild side! Let one of our top experts find the best first-class deal and fly in style.

Flightfox is a new breed of corporate travel manager. We combine technology with human expertise to help your team travel better than ever for less.

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