As you guys know, my goal this year has been to review as many new airlines in premium cabins as possible, and I’ve found it to be immensely enjoyable. I’ve tried even more new products than I was hoping to, so a few weeks back I shared an additional list of 13 more airlines I want to review in the coming months.
I’ve shared the details of my upcoming trips, and as you may have noticed, my emphasis this year has been on business class products rather than first class products. That’s for a couple of reasons:
- With recent award chart devaluations, first class awards are in many cases now disproportionately expensive, while the cost of business class awards is still reasonable, so the “sweet spot” for redemptions is starting to shift
- For most business travelers, business class reviews are more useful than first class reviews, since most people can’t justify booking first class
Fortunately I’ve been lucky enough to review most of the world’s best first class products, including Emirates first class, Etihad first class, Cathay Pacific first class, Japan Airlines first class, etc. However, there are three first class products that miles can’t efficiently be redeemed for that I still really want to fly.
With that in mind, I’ve searched for the best value first class fares I could find on these airlines, all of which are still a lot of cash, though represent a significant discount off the $20,000+ price tag you’ll often find for first class tickets.
I wish there were a way to find fares just a bit cheaper on them, in which case I’d review them in a heartbeat. But I figured it would still be fun to look at the three airlines, along with the fares I found. Here they are, in no particular order:
Garuda Indonesia first class fare from Sydney to London
Garuda Indonesia first class is probably the single first class product I most want to try.
Picture courtesy of @thekelly.d
While you can technically redeem miles for their first class product through their own frequent flyer program, the pricing is very steep. So unfortunately looking for a discounted first class fare seems like the best option.
The best value fare I can find is from Australia to London via Jakarta and Singapore, with the last two segments being in first class. Here’s an example of such a fare:
In theory the other option is to find a decent business class fare and then bid on an upgrade, which seems likely to be successful. However, Garuda’s most discounted business class fare buckets aren’t eligible for paid upgrades, so I’d need to book a “D” class fare to be eligible, and I’m not finding those much cheaper than discounted first class tickets.
Air France first class fare from London to Hong Kong
I’ve had the opportunity to try Air France’s old first class product and really enjoyed it, though I’d love to try Air France’s new first class product.
The best value longhaul first class fare I can find on them is between London and Hong Kong, which prices out at just under ~$4,500 roundtrip:
Given how many routes they have with first class, I’m shocked I can’t find an all around better value…
Oman Air first class fare from London to Muscat
I flew Oman Air business class earlier in the year and really enjoyed my experience. Oman Air is such a neat airline. Rather bizarrely, they also have a first class cabin on select A330 aircraft, which they’re slowly phasing out.
What’s strange is that their first class product looks almost identical to their old business class, except it has a couch/seating area in the middle of the cabin, and a privacy shield.
The best Oman Air first class fare I can find is between London and Muscat, as follows:
Ultimately that’s decent for a paid first class fare, but at the same time given how cheap their business class fares are, I couldn’t imagine paying that when it’s only marginally better.
But I’m still fascinated by Oman Air’s first class product…
The above are the three first class products that can’t easily be booked with miles that fascinate me the most, all for different reasons. I’m actually hoping to fly Air France and Garuda Indonesia first class at some point, since I think these are among the two best first class products in the world, and I haven’t flown the most recent versions of them.
Oman Air first class interests me, though at the same time I can’t imagine it’s worth paying that amount to fly a product that’s likely only marginally better than their business class, especially since it’s slowly being phased out.
If anyone knows of better cheaper/ways to try any of the above products, I’m of course all ears!
Thanks for indulging me with these posts. I know sometimes the blog can feel a bit stream of consciousness, but often sharing my general thoughts out loud leads to some great ideas thanks to the comments you guys leave. Also, hopefully once in a while me sharing my thought process is useful…