This is definitely one to save for when global travel is running smoothly again, but bear with me as it may save you a fortune the next time you need business class tickets to the United States...
Big savings on transatlantic business class tickets with British Airways and partners
India is not known for cheap flights to the United States but, with a bit of planning, it’s possible to take advantage of some great value flights departing from Europe (rather than from India).
A long-standing quirk of British Airways’ pricing is that the carrier will often allow you to tack on an extra flight (in this case to India) to a standard roundtrip return from Europe to the United States.
I used ITA Matrix (see our article on how to use the ITA search engine here) to price out the itinerary below, and have also confirmed that the ticket is on sale for this price on the British Airways website.
As you can see, it is possible to buy a business class ticket taking you from Europe to the US, then from the US to India (via a oneworld hub in Europe) for just £1,400.
Prices go as low as £1,300 - even for travel to the West Coast - though this fare doesn't currently appear to be available:
While the cheapest prices on itineraries of this kind are for flights beginning in continental European cities, it’s also worth checking departures from London so that you can avoid the leg from Geneva to London (though obviously the more you pay, the more you eat into the money you've saved by not starting in India).
Note that when searching for tickets like this, you may find that some segments are operated by BA’s oneworld partner airlines, such as American Airlines and Finnair.
Why should I bother flying all the way to Europe when I want to go to the US?
Business class tickets from India to the United States are expensive - very expensive.
A search of the best fares for business class flights from India to key hubs in the US, travelling in August 2021, shows tickets typically range from £2,000 to £3,000.
When comparing this to my British Airways itinerary ex-Europe, we can get three of the main legs required for a trip from India to the US (via Europe) at a much cheaper rate than if you had started from India.
The cost of our earlier British Airways itinerary to Boston, this time starting from Mumbai instead of Geneva, is now more than £3,100 (compared to £1,400):
Like the idea of making big savings by departing from Europe? Now all you need to do is get there...
How can I get to Europe to pick up my British Airways transatlantic itinerary?
With Indian carriers like Vistara, Air India and SpiceJet, plus European carriers, active in the market, there are plenty of ways of getting to Europe.
Here are a couple of options to consider:
- If budget is the primary consideration, take a cheap flight in economy. I’ve seen super cheap one-way flights from Indian to European cities for around £200 (with Ukrainian Airlines and El Al, at this price point)
- Cash in some of your unused air miles. Virgin Atlantic, for example, offers Delhi to London business class redemptions for as little as 37,000 Points (plus taxes and fees)
The golden rule to remember when booking a trip like this…
The most important thing to keep in mind if you are considering an itinerary like this is that you’ll be making your way to Europe independently. In practice, this means that British Airways (in this case) has no responsibility to fly you to the US (or anywhere else) if you miss the first flight in your itinerary with them.
When making your way to Europe, you MUST ensure you leave plenty of time to catch your onward flights, in case something goes wrong (for example your flight from India to Europe is delayed or cancelled).
At the risk of labouring the point, if you don’t show up on time to take the first flight in your transatlantic itinerary, the carrier (BA in this case) WILL refuse to transport you, and all your flights will be cancelled.
Ideally, I would turn the Europe part into a holiday and spend some time exploring the continent’s great cities (there are plenty of them!). At a minimum, I would plan on arriving to Europe two-three days early, just to be safe.
There are big savings to be had for India-based customers who consider travelling to Europe to start a transatlantic business class itinerary with British Airways and its oneworld partners.
It’s possible to get flights from Europe to the US, then from the US to India (via Europe) from just £1,300 - a fraction of what you will pay for trips starting in India.
If you can bear to take an economy flight to Europe, or are happy to use air miles to position to your starting point, these deals could work very nicely for you.
Anyone tempted to start their transatlantic travel in Europe to make big savings in business class?