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Want to fly business class? Here’s how to do it affordably



New research shows that four European airlines offer the most affordable business class flights compared to the cost of economy tickets.


Have you ever dreamed about upgrading your economy flight to a seat in business class?

While the switch may be out of reach for most of us, new research has found an upgrade is not always prohibitively expensive.

Holidu, a leading provider of holiday rentals across Europe, analysed the price difference between economy and business class fares from over 30 of the world’s biggest airlines to find out whose premium experience is the best value for money.

On average, they found that business class is 250 per cent more expensive than flying economy – but some airlines have markups as low as 88 per cent.

What’s more, four out of the top 10 airlines with the smallest price discrepancies are based in Europe. Here’s what you need to know before diving into a luxury flight experience.

Which airlines offer the smallest price differences between economy and business class flights?

Four of the top 10 airlines are European and four are based in Asia. Only one African airline – Air Algerie – and one American – American Airlines – made the top 10 ranking.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Oceanian airlines in the study are among those with the biggest price discrepancy, considering how far they are from the rest of the world.

Air New Zealand and Qantas’ business class offerings are 263.55 per cent and 342.34 per cent more expensive than their economy flights respectively.

The overall route with the biggest price discrepancy is Etihad Airways’ flight from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, with a staggering 1,271.17 per cent difference between its economy and business class tickets.

In terms of European companies, Austrian Airlines comes in at seventh place in the ranking, with the lowest price difference between its economy and business classes on the continent.

Headquartered in Vienna, it flies to six domestic and more than 120 international destinations across 55 countries.

The price difference is still relatively high overall, with a cost of 194.82 per cent more for its business class than its economy on average.

However, if you fly from Vienna to Larnaca in Cyprus with the airline, business class is just 69.66 per cent more expensive than economy and includes an extra item of hand luggage and hold luggage each. People opting for the business class service will also benefit from complimentary lounge access and extra air miles.

Which other European airlines have the best value business class flights?

Despite four appearances in the top 10 list, European airlines were found to be relatively expensive, especially compared to Asian ones.

The top three airlines on Holidu’s list are all Asia-based, with Japan’s All Nippon Airways in first place with a relatively small price difference of 82.22 per cent. In second and third places are Japan Airlines and South Korea’s Asiana Airlines, with 93.71 per cent and 119.67 respectively.

German flag carrier Lufthansa was in eighth place, with an average price discrepancy of 198.49 per cent. However, for mid haul flights, this number was just at 79.26 per cent – one of the lowest out of all of the airlines included.

Neighbouring Switzerland’s flag carrier Swiss Air comes in at ninth, with an average difference of 202.12 per cent, although many short haul flights see a change of 111.66 per cent between classes.

Coming in tenth place, Aer Lingus’ average price difference between economy and business classes was found to be 204.15 per cent. If you are travelling with the Irish flag carrier and looking for an affordable business class seat, you may want to plump for a mid haul trip, where a business ticket costs 100.08 per cent more than a basic one.


As with all transport options, it’s worth checking the exact difference for yourself in case of changes before you fly.

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