It goes without saying that flying in premium economy or business class can greatly improve the comfort of long haul flights. It can, of course, also increase the cost significantly and sometimes a premium cabin ticket just isn't in the budget.
Mixed Cabin Tickets
An alternative to a straight premium economy or business class ticket is a mixed cabin itinerary and this can be a great way of upgrading yourself for the legs of your trip that are the longest or the ones that are the most important for you to get a good rest on.
There are several ways to construct mixed cabin itineraries and below is a quick summary of the different ways these tickets can work.
Switching Cabins At A Transit Point
Many airlines will allow you to change cabins during your journey at transit points. So, for example, you could fly from Sydney to Dubai (the longer half of the trip) in business class and then Dubai to London (the shorter half of the trip) in economy. Or you could fly from Australia to Asia in economy and then from there to Europe in premium economy. The benefit of splitting the journey up this way is that it means you can arrive in Europe better rested and fresher than you would had you flown the whole way from Australia in economy.
Splitting the journey this way is perfect for holidays where you have limited time on the ground. While it's often nice to have a stopover in Asia for a night or two on the way to Europe to split up the journey, if you only have two weeks off work, you may want to maximise the time on the ground in Europe. Having said that, you're likely to lose a day of your holiday if you fly straight through due to fatigue when you arrive from 24 hours flying.
Upgrading one section of your itinerary to premium economy can be very affordable and when you factor in the value of gaining a day on the ground, it can represent incredible value.
Switching Cabins At The Point Of Turn Around
Changing the cabin of service you're flying in at the point of turn around is another way to construct mixed cabin itineraries. What this means is flying from Australia to Europe in economy and then flying back in business class or premium economy or vice versa.
This approach to mixed cabin airfares is far more widely available and almost all airlines allow this. The hardest part when constructing this sort of mixed cabin itinerary is deciding which half of your ticket to upgrade! The best way to make this decision is basing it on the duration of your holiday. Less than two weeks - upgrade the outbound journey as you want to arrive fresh and hit the ground running and just deal with the jet lag on your return. More than two weeks - get the jet lag out of the way when you arrive and make the post-holiday blues as manageable as possible on the way home.
There may well be other factors that help you make this decision. If you have a meeting or an activity planned soon after you arrive in Europe, you'll want to upgrade the outbound journey. If you've totally maxed out your annual leave and are going straight to work when you get back home, upgrading the inbound journey is probably a great shout.
Tom illustrate how affordable some of these mixed cabin itineraries can be below are a couple of examples:
Example 1: One Sector Upgraded To Premium Economy
The below itinerary is all in economy except the flight from Bangkok to Germany, which is upgraded to premium economy and the total price starts from just $2297 including taxes (as at 6 Feb 2017)
- Sydney to Bangkok - economy
- Bangkok to Frankfurt - premium economy
- Frankfurt to Sydney - economy
For this exact itinerary all in economy, the total price is $1567. So upgrading a 12 hour flight can cost just $$730 per person. When you consider that on a short trip you may well be effectively gaining an extra day's holiday, that can be a really great deal!
Example 2: Upgrading Half The Itinerary To Business Class
The below itinerary has economy all the way to Europe and then business class from there to the USA and from the USA back to Australia:
- Sydney to Paris - economy
- Paris to San Francisco - business class
- San Francisco to Sydney - business class
The total price for this itinerary starts from $4197 including taxes (as at 6 Feb 2017), which is about $2000 more than doing the whole thing in economy. Considering that that's upgrading two very long flights all the way from economy to a fully flat business class bed, that's a pretty great upgrade option!
There are many ways to construct these itineraries and we're always happy to go through all the options and upgrade possibilities for your next trip.