Albert has found time on his vacation in Thailand to send in a couple more posts:


Greetings, Fellow Travelers!


BLUF: Many times, the most affordable business class airfare is not from your home airport to your desired travel destination. Often, an inexpensive positioning flight to another location can save you $100s.


Today’s TTP is on using positioning flights to save money while stationed in Europe.


Travelers, I began writing this TTP mid-way through two weeks in Thailand. After a very busy start to 2019, I’ve joined Joey who’s in the middle of a month-long tour of SE Asia. He’s already enjoyed some time in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore.


A few friends have inquired how we afford to fly to Asia in business class as often as we do. First, this is not an inexpensive hobby; we spend money on it. Though, I plan our spending and strategize our travel very early and a bit obsessively to ensure we don’t spend beyond our means. Second, travel and travel experiences are a priority for us. Not everyone can do that, so a bulk of our “fun funds” go to travel. Finally, I understand and exploit how different airlines price their flights out of different cities in Europe.


The final item is a great TPP to exploit. For example, I purchased this trip’s Cathay Pacific business class ticket from Brussels roundtrip to Bangkok rather than from Stuttgart or Frankfurt, my two “home” airports.


In the fall 2017 (when this trip’s planning began), I found a $2099 RT business class ticket from Brussels to Bangkok. While I usually fly out of Stuttgart or Frankfurt, all business class tickets were upwards of $3000, which despite what people think, is outside my spending comfort zone. Ha!


My love for Cathay stems from how great the food is (dim sum for breakfast!) and the ability to credit flights to Alaska Airlines (a subject for another post). I also enjoy transiting HKG, Cathay’s hub, for it’s amazing selection of lounges with showers, noodle bars, and creature comforts.


Was flying out of Brussels worth the $900 savings (from STR) when I had to get to Brussels? Absolutely! For way less than $900, I bought an inexpensive RT Swiss flight through Zurich and a single night at the Sheraton at Brussels airport on the front end. While not everyone values their time equally and may choose to fly a more convenient route, for our two tickets, I “saved” $1800. (Full disclosure: I’ve paid for convenient routes, too!)


Remember, we wanted to go on this trip, in business class, to SE Asia. Given those parameters and my price point comfort zone, I made it happen. Money well spent!


Here’s a little more insight into more of my travel thinking: I understand how each travel action can offer me value. To explain, the Swiss flights credit to my United Airlines account and help maintain my United Gold status and therefor my Star Alliance Gold status for great lounge access and other benefits. My Sheraton stay adds to my nights and points balance for Marriott inching me closer to maintaining Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status and with that, its great benefits. A lot of moving pieces, but worth it to me.


In sum, travel planning is simple; travel planning well is not. By opening up the aperture of where you start your airfare search, you can possibly save a good bit of money. So, perhaps, you can spend a night in Stockholm before catching your Emirates flight to the Maldives, or enjoy some goulash in Budapest before enjoying a luxe flight on Singapore for a holiday in Bali. Europe is small, and a short positioning flight may make all the difference in price.


(In sum PS: positioning flights also work well in Asia and North America, but as I focus more on Europe, I’m more familiar with those.)


Happy Travels!





Albert Guerrero, USAF, Ret.

“Let’s Travel Farther, Together!”


Follow my travels on Instagram: @albert_traveler


Posted by glenn | 3 Comments

3 responses to “Techniques, Tactics, and Procedures (TTPs): Positioning Flights for Business Class Tickets”

  1. Keith Turner says:

    i am stationed in naples italy..any tips on how to exploit how different airlines price their flights out of different cities in Europe.

  2. Albert says:

    Hi, Keith. One of the best ways is to use Google Flights. You can put up to five airports in the “Where to” and “Where from” spaces. For Italy, I’ve found great deals from Milan (MXP) and Pisa (PSA). If you want to broaden that, you can try Prague (PRG), Warsaw (WAW), Stockholm (ARN), and other Scandinavian and Eastern European starting points. FYI: great deals (in premium cabin) to the US are harder to come by than deals to Asia. You’re biggest, closest airport–Rome (FCO)–is well-connected, and while you may not find great deals out of it, it would be pretty easy to pre-position yourself somewhere else in Europe. I always weigh the cost of that pre-positioning flight vs. just flying out of my home airport (in my case, Frankfurt (FRA) or Stuttgart (STR)). If you’re looking for just straight-up cheap economy tickets. Check out “Scott’s Cheap Flights.” They have a free newsletter than just sends deals. Sometimes it’s just about getting to the destination regardless of the cabin. Good luck and thanks for reading!

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