For anyone who loves to fly, lie flat business class seats are usually the most sought-after on the plane (unless someone else is paying for the ticket – then first class is the way to go). Of course, ticket prices go up exponentially when moving up from economy to business class. So, in preparation for a return to the sky, what are the cheapest lie flat business class flights out there?
The high cost of business class
The price difference between economy and business is significant. If we choose a random example such as Toronto to Seoul in December, we’re looking at $1,300-1,700 round-trip in economy. Business class is at least double the price, and usually more. With those same parameters flying round-trip between Toronto and London, it’s $450 in economy and close to $3,000 in business, which is up to six times the cost!
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For anyone traveling on a budget – or is just generally conscious of finances – business class tickets usually aren’t the first option. This, of course, depends on your priorities and whether you care more about the flight experience itself or the money you can instead spend at your destination. If the employer or client is paying for it, that’s a whole other issue, but we’re mainly talking to those who may not have the budget to fly in this cabin but might still want to experience it – if only once.
So where can we find some flights that offer some of that lie flat business class experience without the big price tag?
The shorter the journey, the lower the cost
In general, whether you’re seated in economy or business, if your journey is short, you’ll be paying for a relatively cheaper ticket. Of course, if your flight is too short, you’ll end up on a narrowbody jet, which is far more unlikely to have a lie flat business class seat.
You may end up in a large recliner in a 2-2 configuration, but the worst case is that your ‘business class’ ticket gives you a fairly regular seat (in a 3-3 configuration) with the middle seat blocked off. This is quite common with legacy carriers in Europe, flying within the Schengen area.
So, if we take this into consideration, we want a short flight in order to experience a lie flat business class seat for a low price – but it can’t be too short. What options are out there that fit these criteria?
The answer to our dilemma is in the realm of fifth-freedom flights. In many ‘fifth-freedom’ cases, a widebody jet will have traveled halfway around the world from its home, and still have one short flight tacked on to optimize flight times and/or capitalize on an additional market. Singapore Airlines’ Moscow-Stockholm service is one good example of this.
Therefore, with fifth-freedom flights, you’ll get the space and comfort of a widebody on a shorter route, generally dominated by narrowbody aircraft.
We’ve written one review on this recently with a KLM flight between Kuwait and Bahrain. Yes, the business class ticket was around three to four times more, and the trip was about one hour long, but it still offered a very brief experience of a lie flat business class seat without paying multiple thousands of dollars.
The other option is any short route operated by Emirates. We should first say that this is absolutely not a sponsored article. However, we’re bringing up Emirates because of the airline’s unique fleet composition – in that it is all widebody aircraft.
Therefore, you’re virtually guaranteed to get a lie flat business class seat no matter which Emirates route you’re on. Whether it’s flying Dubai to Kuwait, or Dubai to Muscat – it’ll be on a Boeing 777 or larger. The one warning about this is that the airline often codeshares with flyDubai – so check carefully before you book to avoid a budget 737 experience!
Would you ever book a super short flight in business class just to have a brief experience of lie flat comfort? Let us know in the comments.