|   | 

Business-class flight searches up 63% this year as holidaymakers consider the extra expense of travelling in luxury

  • Cheapflight data shows business-class searches are up 63%
  • Travellers can shave the price off luxury travel, if willing to go indirect
  • We give five tips to bag an upgrade for free on flights

Appetite for business-class travel appears to have grown this year with a website reporting a 63 per cent increase in 'premium cabin' flight searches compared to 2016.

Asprational holidaymakers flying from London airports to popular long-haul destinations are looking increasingly at business and first class: searches for London to Bangkok showed an increase of 94 per cent, while London to Cape Town grew by 60 per cent and London to Singapore topped the list with an increase of 166 per cent.

Many travellers may feel business class is out of their budget, but Cheapflights has also revealed how they can fly at the front of the aircraft for less – by flying indirectly.

Luxury flights: More holidaymakers are scoping out business-class flights this year, data shows

Luxury flights: More holidaymakers are scoping out business-class flights this year, data shows

Cheapflights, which analyses millions of flight searches every year, says flying direct from London to Cape Town in business class currently costs around 5,680 per person this month with British Airways/KLM.

But switching to an indirect flight, adding only 10 minutes to the outbound flight duration and six hours on the way back, brings that cost down by over 40 per cent to 2,371 in business class just 130 more than a direct economy fare on the same route.

Similarly, a return business-class non-stop flight from London to Bangkok currently starts at 2,250 per person with Thai Airways.

By flying indirect, adding four hours and 25 minutes to the outbound flight time, travellers will part with only 1,313 per person, a saving of almost 1,000, and a little over 700 more than a direct flight in economy.

Not everybody would be keen on adding hours onto their travel experience but it offers a more affordable opportunity to travel in a little bit more luxury.

The best way to find these deals and to see if the extra added time is worth it is to play around on travel search engines.

Huge boom: Business-class searches to Singapore are up 166%. Pictured, the Garden by the Bay

Huge boom: Business-class searches to Singapore are up 166%. Pictured, the Garden by the Bay

Phil Bloomfield, managing director of Cheapflights, said: 'Flying “up front” may sound an extravagance, but if you're able to factor in a little extra travel time to fly indirect it can be surprisingly affordable, ensuring you arrive refreshed and ready to rumble, whether that's a holiday, your honeymoon or a vital meeting.

'Where there's intense competition on a route, to the Middle East for instance, business class fares can be tightly priced and affordable.

'In these time-poor times though, the idea of taking longer to get anywhere might seem anathema.

SEARCH BOOM

Below is the list of how large an increase in business-class searches this year compared to last year – flights are from London airports.

Beijing 138 per cent

Bangkok 94 per cent

Cape Town 60 per cent

Dubai 102 per cent

New York 78 per cent

Los Angeles 83 per cent

Chicago 67 per cent

Singapore 166 per cent

Sydney 71 per cent

'But it's worth remembering that investing in a business class flight enables you to work in-flight if you need to, especially if the airline provides in-the-air wi-fi connectivity, and arrive refreshed and able to hit the ground running.

'Moreover, the fast track check-in and security options benefit the time-pressured or queue-shy, shaving off further valuable minutes in the airport that can then be spent possibly working – in the business class airline lounge.

'The extra cost for the business class flight can also be offset by “front of plane” perks.

'For those with something to celebrate, for example, a bottle of bubbly may set you back as much as 60 in an airport bar, but “bottomless” glasses of champagne are offered as part of some business class lounge experiences, where wi-fi is generally also free.'

The rise in holidaymakers searching business-class flights is likely to be down to curiosity and for millions, who have only have travelled economy, the lure of a luxury flight, especially for a celebration, appears to be worth investigating.

Search numbers are unlikely to be influenced by actual businesses looking, as they tend to use specialist firms.

It is also not clear how many of these searches go on to be booked as Cheapflights records searches – but people then go through to book on the airline directly and it doesn't measure this data.

FIVE TIPS TO BAG AN UPGRADE FOR FREE

No flipflops with business class seats being popular with suited or smart casual dressed passengers, looking the part may increase your chances of getting an upgrade when passengers get selected in the departure lounge

Put your good luck smile on don't shy away from asking whether upgrades are available in a polite but nevertheless direct manner

Join the loyalty programme at least show your loyalty to the airline who will prioritise frequent flyers by way of appreciating your regular custom

Arrive early for your flight chances are that with only a couple of upgrades to fill in advance you have more luck to be pre-selected if arriving (very) early

Arrive late for your flight without reserving your seat in advance, chances are that the airline may have already sold your seat again and only an upgrade can still accommodate you on the flight that you have a ticket for

Have you got a tip or a story as to how you bagged a flight upgrade? Let us know in the comment section below

ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

related articles

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem?

SUBSCRIBE

quotes

Everyone went outside to smoke cloves and bitch about having to stay after for the State.

Jon Stewart on events following Charles — January 19, 1999