Cheap first or business class tickets to asia?
January 29, 2015 12:53 PM   Subscribe

I want to go to South East Asia this fall for my honeymoon, but the thing is I don't really care which country or city we go to first, or which city I fly from in the US, or even care particularly about when we go as long as it's after August. All I really want is the cheapest flight I can get across the pacific that will be comfortable for a 10+ hour flight (I'm over 6 feet tall, and the idea of sitting in economy for 10+ hours is a nightmare). Is this something that it's worth getting a travel agent for or is there some trick to doing this using ITA or something similar?
posted by empath to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also, just as an observation, I found a business class flight from LAX --> NRT -> MNL that's 1,700 and the flight from LAX --> NRT direct on the same flight is over $4,000. That's completely insane.
posted by empath at 1:02 PM on January 29, 2015

Try searching for flights in private browsing mode. Airline websites know your previous searches and purposeful jack up the price every time you visit.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:10 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

You might try booking emergency row seats. They usually have more legroom
posted by gt2 at 1:10 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can't speak to comfort but I can recommend Momondo for good flight details. Their prices were much lower than what I was finding on other flight aggregators.

Like gt2, I'd recommend the exit row seats: they usually charge extra now but it's much less than business or first class. You could likely book them in advance but perhaps that day, too: when I flew recently, the airline kept trying to upsell us on their more spacious seats. If all else fails, you could get an aisle seat so you could get up and move around frequency.
posted by smorgasbord at 1:17 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Some flights have "economy plus" or "extended legroom" economy seats that have more room. Usually those are like $25-$50 upcharge for a US flight and I think they were around $250 for like a Chicago to London flight. Definitely worth it for tall folks.
posted by cmm at 1:18 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Consider getting an Amex Platinum card. In addition to other international travel benefits, you get a free companion fare upon purchase of certain full-fare international first or business class tickets.

Emirates international business class is amazing, so if that's among equally-priced options, I'd go with them.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:19 PM on January 29, 2015

Kayak's Explore might help you find cheap routes. You can pick the month or the season and see prices for many different destinations. They use coach class and you can pick departure dates or stay duration but it will help in identifying cheap cities to fly to.
posted by mountmccabe at 1:27 PM on January 29, 2015

Look into the "premium economy" seats on Cathay Pacific! I found them to be incredibly comfortable, though, granted, I'm not as tall as you. There is significantly more legroom than you're used to on domestic economy.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:04 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Premium Economy is most likely the way to go, although it seems to have different names for different carriers. When I was looking at air fares to Asia a few years ago, EVA's "Elite/Evergreen" class was the cost/comfort-ratio leader.

Google Flights will show you cost comparisons of different Premium Economy fares between any two points, and also a grid of airfares for dates that can help you find a cheaper fare. If you leave the destination open and just specify dates, you can also see a map of which destinations are cheapest on the dates you specified.

If that's still too specific, and you're looking for true "anytime, anywhere" deals, keep your eyes on The Flight Deal.
posted by eschatfische at 2:21 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Singapore Airlines (which is fabulous even in the cheapest class) offers Economy Class Preferred Seats which offer extra legroom for small, totally-worth-it fees.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:44 PM on January 29, 2015

You may have some luck with SkipLagged.
posted by nathanm at 4:51 PM on January 29, 2015

I have AAA and used a AAA travel agent for a similar trip-- west coast of US to Korea, Korea to ??fun SE Asia?? destination, back to US, with a 6 foot 2 traveler and me (short person).

The agent could look up fares from Korea to several destinations so we could pick the cheapest/best, and he knew which companies tack on extra fees for baggage or food or whatever, so he could help us compare the flights based on total cost to us, not just airfare costs. Then he booked us the cheapest, most-legroom seats based on the plane types. The benefit is he knew this in-and-out ("XX air charges $40 for selecting a seat and they still might not honor it, I'd recommend booking airline YY--it's $10 more but we can select a seat now and have it confirmed, they can't move you" or "oh, you're on a ZZ plane model? Rows D-X are all the same economy price, but Row D is right behind first class and has an extra 1 inch of legroom, Row H has bulkheads with 2 inches extra room, and Row X gives you an extra 3 inches of legroom because it's behind the bathroom. Or you can move up to row C, the Bonus Tier, which has 4 inches extra legroom and costs $50 more.").

Yes, we had to pay him ~$100, and I was so resistant to using a travel agent (never used one before this). But in thinking how much time I spent looking up flights and worrying about how each airline names their "slightly better than cattle class" tiers and tracking the additional costs for each was well more than $100 of my time. It was a relief to walk in at 2 PM and walk out at 3:30 PM with all tickets booked.
posted by holyrood at 6:20 PM on January 29, 2015

And for checking legroom and how much more space you may get in 'economy plus' always check Seat Guru
posted by nightwood at 7:05 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

This sounds like a good job for Flight Fox services - they call themselves travel hackers and can work with the broad parameters you give them to find the best deal.
posted by AnnaRat at 7:52 PM on January 29, 2015

I saw no asian booking sites recommended, so let me throw in — they have an english website as well but are geared towards the chinese market. You will find much better deals here for many of the asian carriers than on their US-centric sites.
posted by krautland at 11:31 PM on January 29, 2015

« Older Newly diagnosed with lichen planus, looking for...   |   Need to Drain Water from Steam Heat Radiators Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.