Tips on flying economy class for business

Saturday July 15 2017

The inconvenience of planning ahead and a

The inconvenience of planning ahead and a longer trip duration is all you need to travel at a cheaper rate. But to get the lowest economy fares, it is best to buy your air ticket 21 days in advance at the very least. FOTOSEARCH  

By CATHERINE WANJIRU
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I frequently get requests from business travellers looking for cheap economy tickets, as they are required to keep their company costs low.

Unfortunately, economy class tickets are not always cheap. First, last minute and non-stop economy fares are usually priced higher.

The inconvenience of planning ahead and a longer trip duration is all you need to travel at a cheaper rate. But to get the lowest economy fares, it is best to buy your air ticket 21 days in advance at the very least.

Second, there are those economy tickets that are highly restrictive. These can be expensive if you cancel or miss your flight for any reason.

Restricted tickets have rules that range from non-refundable, name change not permitted, to non-transferrable to non-assignable. This allows the airline to give you the low price but not flexibility a passenger may need.

I recommend that you always read the airline rules before buying the ticket. I should also mention that in case a flight is overbooked, ticket holders with the cheapest tickets are usually the first to be bumped off.

Third, there is the premium economy ticket. There are some airlines that offer these tickets, mostly on international flights. The premium economy seats are in a separate cabin, just a few rows ahead of the economy area and behind the business class cabin, separated by a curtain or a wall.

These tickets are generally priced at 70 per cent less than a business class ticket but 80 per cent more than your normal economy tickets. But this is not always the case.

Because airlines ticket prices are determined by a number of factors such as demand and timing of purchase, there will instances, especially at check-in, when you will find premium economy tickets that are priced lower than the normal economy tickets.

If you are a holder of a frequent flier card, a premium economy ticket offers more frequent flyer miles, priority boarding and upgradeable opportunities to the business or first class.

Always remember to check for premium economy when booking your ticket, especially if you are booking on a day close to your date of departure. On the day of travel, ask at the check-in desk for any upgrade opportunities to premium economy.

So, if your company travel policy does not allow business class travel, premium economy is a great compromise. You will not only have travelled in comfort, but your expense report will show an “economy” ticket allowing you to stay within policy.