AMAZING DEAL: $1,400 Business Class To Europe Next Summer

On Tuesday I wrote about the incredible business class fares being offered between the west coast and Europe. SkyTeam was publishing fares of $1,500+ out of Portland and San Francisco, and you could fly on Air France, Alitalia, Delta, or KLM.

The fare died that same day, though some business class fares are back again… and they’re even better!

SkyTeam is publishing ~$1,400(!!!!) business class fares between Los Angeles and Madrid through the end of the schedule.

I have never in my life seen such a cheap non-mistake fare between the west coast and Europe. Never.


You can fly Air France:


You can fly Alitalia:


You can fly KLM:


Or you can fly Delta. The base fare is just ~$230 each way, plus taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges.


If you want to fly Virgin Atlantic, there’s a San Jose to London business class fare, which routes through Los Angeles on Virgin Atlantic. The base fare on that is only $175 each way, plus taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges, which includes the hefty UK APD.


Folks, if you’re planning travel from the west coast to Europe, taking advantage of this is an absolute no brainer. Award space from the west coast to Europe is extremely difficult to find in business class. Not only do you have your choice of dates here, but I’d argue paying under $1,500 is actually a better value than redeeming ~125,000 miles plus paying taxes, especially when you factor in that you earn miles on these tickets.

This is an amazing, amazing, amazing deal!

The best place to search for availability is on ITA Matrix, and then you can go to the airlines’ individual websites to book.

While I don’t think this is a mistake fare, this will not last, so book soon!

(Tip of the hat to Nick, the ultimate SkyTeam lover!


  1. If one needed a ONE WAY business class ticket from (for example) LAX-AMS; this would be a “mighty slick” way to purchase one. Fly the LAX-AMS, and throw away the rest. You can’t touch a one-way in Y or J for even close to that!

  2. It’s interesting that the price from east coast to Europe is twice as much or more, though the flying time is shorter 🙂

  3. Available from BWI as well for $1629 rt to MAD. I could have saved $300 if I’d waited instead of jumping on the sale fares they had last month.

  4. would it almost be accurate that AZ has the best business class of the bunch? Direct aisle access versus angle flat on AF and 2×2 on KLM new biz class?

  5. @ Brad — Alitalia does have a surprisingly good product, yep! Also do love KLM, but in terms of hard product Alitalia wins.

  6. You make it sound like flying Delta is the worst option. Given that Delta hasn’t published partner accrual rates for 2015 and assuming you are crediting these flights to Delta, I think the only smart option is to fly Delta. Or, am I missing something?

  7. @ Gene — Personally I would credit the flights to Alaska. On a ~$1,300 pre-tax ticket you’re looking at a maximum of ~14,000 redeemable miles, even as a Diamond. You’d do better with Alaska, even without status.

  8. Any other combinations? What is your opinion of the best business class out of what is available? Any way to upgrade from Biz to first with miles, etc? I notice the Virgin Atlantic deal you have to start out in San Jose. Obviously you would need to get to San Jose to start it out, but I guess you could drop off the LAX to San Jose on the way back?

  9. @ Lynn — In terms of the overall experience I just love Virgin Atlantic. Otherwise I’d probably do KLM or Alitalia as my first choices. Personally I’d lean towards KLM since I can credit that flight to Alaska, while Alitalia isn’t an Alaska partner.

  10. Ben,

    I am primarily concerned with MQMs and avoiding coach at all costs…you should know that! 😉

    — Gene.

  11. @ pointie — I like Virgin Atlantic, KLM, and Alitalia most. Only airline of those with first class is Air France, and there’s no practical way to upgrade to first class from these fares.

    Yep, for San Jose fare could always drop the last segment, so it’s just one-way positioning.

  12. hmm not a fan of Skyteam as a OW loyalist the last few years… but this is really surprising that for longhaul flights that are 10-12 hrs the base fare is as low as ~$300, that too in a premium product. afterall many RJs arent even this cheap (I paid more for a one hour JFK-YYZ oneway flight recently on AA, albeit it was last min)

    not sure what to make of this trend of declining J prices and sky high award redemption prices for the same cabin + fuel surcharges that you have to pay in either scenario — its almost like the folks who designed this game are trying their very best to flip the script on us miles & points folk lol. for ex. I value most airline mile redemptions as 1c for ever mile. so a 50k J award from US to EU is a redemption value of $500 to me. but in those cases, many a times you STILL have to pay the YQ (as noted on ITA breakdown) AND you earn no miles for status etc…. it is clear that paying ~$300 or even $500 for that same ticket is a much better deal/value proposition, which earns status. AND you dont have to bother churning CCs or doing laborious MS to keep up with the ever moving award goalposts.

    not to mention other award caveats like blackout dates, limited saver availability, bad schedules or horrible multi-connection routings. all of which require huge flexibility in your schedules and advance planning many a times… seems like if this pricing trend continues with better and better primo products, miles & points game may just be a waste and on its way out because it just wont be worth it.

  13. Who wants to see Lucky review his dreaded angled flat Air France business class seats!?

    Also, you can totally upgrade to La Premiere from Business for cold hard cash. AF will offer it to you a few days before your flight.

  14. Ben, I am traveling to Europe next summer and i was able to book the all elusive flight from LAX to LHR on AA metal in first class both ways using my AA miles. Do you think i should cancel that reservation and book one of these flights instead?

  15. Are there ever ways to get these super-low fares on multi-city itineraries? I’m actually planning to fly west coast-EU next year and would hop on these, but I want to fly into LHR and out of BCN. Totally fine paying for intra-EU legs with Avios. Am I screwed, or is this possible?

  16. Great post!

    Do you think One World will match?

    do IB flights earn EQM on AA?

    I’m holding RT sky alliance award to the Europe already ( with open jaw and stopover). Without AA EQM I’m not sure I’d spend cash to hold onto skypesos.

  17. @ Beachfan — I doubt oneworld will match, but you never know. Would be amazing, combined with the $400 AARP discount. 😉

    You do earn American EQMs for travel on Iberia, yes.

  18. @ Kirby — Sometimes they do price out for multi-city itineraries, you’ll just want to use ITA to play around with the prices. In general for tickets this cheap you’re best off just booking roundtrips and then booking the regional flights separately, as you’ll still come out way ahead.

  19. @ Luis — That’s a toughie. As you mention that flight is usually tough to snag on miles. 125,000 American miles for first class vs. $1,400 for business class. Both are great options, I’d say it depends whether you’re more miles rich or cash rich. In general I wouldn’t hesitate to hold onto that award, though.

  20. @Nick

    “Also, you can totally upgrade to La Premiere from Business for cold hard cash. AF will offer it to you a few days before your flight.”

    But what do AF charge for this upgrade?

  21. @ TravelinWilly — If I recall correctly it’s typically a couple thousand dollars in each direction. By no means “cheap.”

  22. If i do cancel my AA flights, will I have to pay some sort of cancellation fee? I have no status with AA.

  23. Lucky—I just booked the SJC-LHR on Virgin Atlantic and I am so excited. Thanks so much for sharing this. Do you have a trip report on the business class of the Virgin Atlantic product? Is it the best bus product among the airlines? Thanks!

  24. Lucky – Is the KLM product their new J on these flights? Are these B744? Because the other types ie: A333, B772 are still angled flat, no?

  25. Amazing deal…if on the fence, I just booked through expedia, and it said I have until 1159pm Monday, 11/3 to cancel without penalty. It’s slightly confusing, since when I booked, it said I had 24 hours.

  26. @TravelinWilly @Konrad Ben’s right, the “amazing offer” usually presented is between $1500-2500 if I recall. But if you’ve always wanted to try Air France first class after Ben’s spectacular trip report, $1400 + $2000 is not the worst way to get there — to fly one-way first, one-way business for $3500 to Europe in the Summer is not bad in the scheme of things!

    I love how this fare war has jaded us such that when the ITA Matrix loads $2,100+ fares (which have been pretty consistent the last couple months) in SkyTeam business class, we consider it “high.”

  27. Thx for this. I was able to book LAX-MAD on Alitalia so I can’t wait to try Magnifica class! I’m slightly pissed that I didn’t read this earlier and book a VS SJC-LHR r/t flight.
    I was looking for you at the LHR-BOS Virgin Atlantic flight for 787-9 a few days ago for the inaugural revenue flight since you love VS so much. It was a blast! Bar was great and the Brits can party!

  28. The fares must be gone, the lowest I am finding on AF is $2100 these are on the dates that you did a dummy booking.

  29. Got two tickets on KLM from LAX to Madrid in May for less than $3000 – thanks Ben! We jumped on it right after I read your email this morning 🙂

  30. @ Stephan — I believe all (or almost all) of the 747s have the new business class. You’ll want to check the seatmap just to be sure, though.

  31. I found an Air Europa Business Fare of $2,200 MIA-MAD through Delta. Any experience with Air Europa? Online reviews are all over the place?

  32. I found an Air Europa Business Fare of $2,200 MIA-MAD through Delta. Any experience with Air Europa? Online reviews are all over the place?

  33. @ Allan — I haven’t flown them myself, but based on what I’ve heard they’re not very good. I’d stay away.

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