The Brancatelli File By Joe Brancatelli
HOME E-MAIL JOE PRINT SEND LINK 2015 COLUMNS JOE'S ARCHIVES SEARCH
A Business Class Bonanza to London and Europe
October 15, 2015 -- Ready for an astonishing business class sale to London and Europe with roundtrip tickets through August, 2016, for as little as $1,566 from the East and $1,616 roundtrip from the West Coast? The same sale has business class travel to European destinations over London as low as $1,950 roundtrip.
For the record, this morning British Airways announced a promotion slashing roundtrip business class fares to London to $2,015. You can fly through August at that price so long as you book your tickets by the end of the day tomorrow, October 16. As I was playing around with the fascinating BA pricing tool to check availability, however, I came across even better fares.
How about all-inclusive prices as low as $1,616 roundtrip from Los Angeles and $1,611 from San Francisco? And this is not just a short-term Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year price. This is for many dates in November through the end of next August.
Some other prices?
+ Tampa is as low as $1,566 roundtrip.
+ New York/Kennedy and Newark departures are as low as $1,605 roundtrip.
+ It's as low as $1,611 roundtrip from Baltimore-Washington, Austin, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego or Washington/Dulles.
+ Atlanta is as low as $1,811 roundtrip
Unfortunately, this sale does not extend to Canada. Sorry, guys. And BA's pricing tool only seems to extend to its gateways. If BA isn't serving your city, you'll have to buy a separate ticket and self-connect.
Otherwise, the restrictions seem incredibly simple. A seven-day minimum stay seems to be the sweet spot for the absolute lowest fares. But I am seeing good prices for stays as brief as three days and as much as 14 days. It seems that the key to these fares, which are coded I class, is a Sunday-night stay. Fares are nonrefundable, of course, but changeable for a $500 fee.
Unbelievably, it gets even better. Travel via London to Europe in business class is as low as $1,533 roundtrip. That includes all of BA's United States gateways. Some sample Europe prices:
+ As low as $1,533 roundtrip from Chicago to Barcelona on several days in May with slightly higher prices other days.
+ As low as $1,938 roundtrip from New York to Rome next summer with slightly higher fares late this fall and winter.
+ As low as $2,018 roundtrip between LAX and Paris.
+ As low as $2,008 roundtrip from DFW to Athens.
+ As low as $1,991 roundtrip form Houston to Copenhagen.
I don't know what this is about competitively or whether other carriers are matching across the board. However, some JoeSentMe members who are fare hunting via Kayak.com report they are getting matching fares. One even found a sub-$1,700 roundtrip next summer with an open jaw. Another member reports Delta via telephone is matching the fares. The original BA sale, by the way, includes seats on American's Europe flights, Iberia and BA's boutique carrier OpenSkies.
Want still another wrinkle? British Airways and AARP have a partnership that allows you to save $400 on a business class ticket. That discount is "stacking," so that'll knock another $400 off your fare if you are an AARP member. To get that additional discount, you must start at this URL and, of course, be an AARP member.
And one more? The Oneworld Alliance is currently running a massive bonus-miles promotion. Since these low fares seem to be booking in I class, the prices qualify for 25,000-point Avios bonuses or 25,000-mile American Advantage bonuses. (See here for the AAdvantage offer. The BA promotion is here.) The miles/points bonuses are valid on travel until January 31.
And if your head's not reeling yet, here's one more. First class seats are also on sale, some as cheap as $3,000 roundtrip. The deals are more sporadic in first, however, so hunt around assiduously if you are committed to flying at the absolute pointy end of the plane.
It's not often I can say something is better than an airline claims, but this is remarkable. Move on these fares if you can. And do let me know what you scored.
And remember: So far as we know now, tickets must be booked by the end of the day Friday, October 16, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
This column is Copyright © 2015 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2015 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.