Tips, deals, and advice on traveling the continent on a budget.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Deals on business-class flights to Europe


If you'd like to travel to Europe in the front of the plane, we have money-saving opportunities for you.

British Airways is offering a business-class sale to London. Sample round-trip fares include $2,252 from New York, $2,432 from Houston and $3,168 from Dallas. (Taxes and fees are additional.) Tickets must be purchased by Feb. 1 for departure July 1 through Sept. 2. Fares are $30 higher each way for travel Thursday through Sunday.

Other carriers are matching fares, and American is offering 50-day advance business-class fares that don't have a seasonal restriction. American's fares include London plus other European destinations. Sample round-trip fares from Dallas include $3,038 to London, $2,478 to Frankfurt and $2,648 to Amsterdam. Add taxes and fees.

We don't see as many business-class sales out of Dallas as we do from other cities, such as New York, Chicago or Houston. Look into buying a separate domestic round trip to one of these alternate cities and flying to Europe from there. While American's fares from Houston to many European cities were similar to those from Dallas, the flights to London were $2,308 round trip. A savings of more than $700 per ticket might make it well worth the drive or a quick flight from Dallas to Houston for either the American or British Airways offer.

These fares still aren't that cheap when you compare them to what you'd pay in coach. Since summer fares to Europe are notoriously high, you'd get the most for your buck for travel then. They're a great buy compared to the no-advance business-class fares, which we priced at $8,000 round trip from Dallas to London.

Another option for saving money on business-class flights is to buy a coach-class ticket and upgrade using miles. Some deeply discounted tickets aren't eligible for these upgrades; be sure to verify before buying tickets.

Some carriers charge a "co-pay" fee when you use miles to upgrade discounted coach-class tickets. If you redeem AAdvantage miles, one-way upgrades to Europe cost 25,000 miles, plus a $250 fee. On March 1, the fee increases to $300 one-way for flights to Europe. Book upgrades by Feb. 28 to save $100.

Another option for redeeming miles is to use them for a domestic coach-class ticket to a cheaper gateway city such as New York and to buy a round-trip business ticket for your transatlantic travel from New York.

We're seeing all-premium-class carriers popping up for travel from New York to London. Eos, MAXjet and Silverjet began flights in late December. L'Avion, formerly Elysair, began business service from Newark to Paris, and MAXjet also has flights from Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., to London. These airlines have been offering promotional fares, so they're definitely worth a look. MAXjet and L'Avion, for example, recently offered intro fares from $999 round trip.

If you buy an Eos round trip from New York to London by Jan. 21, you can earn 100 JetBlue TrueBlue points, which are enough for a free domestic round-trip ticket.

Contact: American, 1-800-433-7300,; British Airways, 1-800-247-9297, www; Eos, 1-800-458-1277,; L'Avion, 1-866-692-6759, www; MAXjet:, 1-888-435-9629,; and Silverjet, 1-877-359-7458,

Tom Parsons is publisher of Contact him at


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