Like many aviation geeks, I’m really missing scouring the web for great deals on flights.
In normal times, at least, I make daily visits to the Flyertalk Premium Fares page to browse the latest offers on discounted flights in first or business class. I’ve snapped up some great deals over the years, but today I wanted to talk about one of the very best...
Qatar Airways is well-known for offering heavily discounted business class tickets from Europe, especially to Australasia.
In 2017, Qatar launched what was the world’s longest flight, flying over 14,500 kms from its base in Doha to Auckland, New Zealand - a marathon flight scheduled to take 17 hours and 30 minutes.
(Qatar no longer holds the title for the world’s longest flight, since Singapore Airlines has resumed flights from Newark to Singapore.)
Anyway, to promote its new service, Qatar released a spectacular fare for passengers flying from Pisa, Italy to Auckland. The price? Just over £1,300 (INR 116,000) return, for around 45 hours in Qatar Airways’ luxury business class.
A friend and I took the flight in March 2017, about a month after the service launched, and had a great time in New Zealand - even though it rained for most (but not all) of our trip!
The world’s longest flight seemed to fly by, and we got into a regular pattern of eating, drinking, watching a movie - and then repeating! While we enjoyed the experience in business class, I’m not sure I would want to take the flight in economy…
And the one that got away
I got lucky with the Qatar deal, but some fares are just too good to be true - especially when they are actually “error fares” that get pulled when the airline realises their pricing is too low.
In 2018, I jumped on a great deal that would take me all the way to South America in Air France’s first class, La Premiere.
La Premiere is regarded as one of the best first class cabins in the sky, and is rarely discounted, so I didn’t hesitate to book.
For just over £1,500 return (a crazy price), me and my buddy would fly from Istanbul to Montevideo (via Paris and Sao Paulo), with the 12-hour Paris to Sao Paulo leg in fantastic first class. At least we hoped we would...
I booked the itinerary on ebookers, and all was well for a week or so as the reservation was ticketed and confirmed. La Premiere here we come!
I checked my booking online about a week later and, sadly, our hopes were dashed when I saw we had been downgraded to economy on all legs. With that, our South America trip was over.
I was able to cancel my tickets, though it took me over a month to get the money back from ebookers. Still, it was worth a shot!
What was your best ever deal on a flight?