If I had unlimited money, I would fly Business class (or First Class) every opportunity I have. Who wouldn’t? I’ve flown Business on Thai Airways, Iberia, Qatar, Air France and Emirates and it’s been a delight every single time. It’s a premium experience and you pay for it – or do you? Can we get cheap business class flights? Wouldn’t that be a paradox?
Well, it is possible with the browser extension BuyLo. When you are at checkout on a supported airline/flight booking site (see list of supported sites here), BuyLo will automatically find a lower price on the exact same flight. And, yes, it works for Business class flights too!
Here’s my experience searching for cheaper business class flights using BuyLo.
How to get Cheap Flights Business Class
Table of Contents
- 1 How to get Cheap Flights Business Class
- 2 How does BuyLo work?
- 3 Two Caveats
- 4 The Verdict
1. British Airways Example
The beauty of the BuyLo extension is it works with existing airlines and booking sites such as British Airways. No need to go to another website or open an app to run a search. Just a quick good old-fashioned search on British Airways would work. In this case, my test search was for a one-way business class ticket from London to Boston:
Click on the search button and you will be taken to the search results. I will give the first option a try. Note that BuyLo does not appear yet. It will only show up at checkout, after you have made your ticket selection.
After selecting the ticket, we get to the flight summary page. Now BuyLo pops up and it takes about a minute to run. Flight prices are dynamic and expire after 15 minutes so BuyLo is scanning for a lower price in real time, hence the wait.
Once the wait is up, BuyLo will let you know the results of what they found. Voila! In this case, the flight that British Airways quoted us £6,700 can be had for just £3,910! That’s 42% in savings!
But wait, isn’t that a Qatar Airways flight? Well, rest assured this is the exact same flight as it’s departing and arriving at the exact same time. No 2 planes can depart and arrive at the exact same time. What we’re seeing is Qatar Airways selling the ticket as part of a Codeshare Agreement. We’ll get more into that in a moment.
2. United Airlines Example
Let’s try United Airlines and we’ll search for a New York to London round trip business class flight. And sure enough, when we reach the checkout page, BuyLo pops up and they have found us $238 in savings on a $2,496 flight. It’s a bit more modest 10% in savings but, when measured in lattes, is almost 2 months worth of lattes. That’s a lot of lattes.
Clicking on “Book Now” takes us to book with a 3rd party website “TrustFares” to book the ticket.
The ticket looks real but I’ve never heard of them before. And this is the perfect segue to how BuyLo finds such deals.
How does BuyLo work?
1. Third party booking sites
Almost all tickets on BuyLo will be booked through 3rd party booking sites.
Some of them will be well known, such as Trip.com, the owners of Skyscanner, which I regularly use for my flight bookings.
Some of them will be very new. Such as the previously mentioned TrustFares, which is so new that there are only 6 reviews on TrustPilot
All of the reviews are positive, none of which call it a scam, so it’s very likely legit.
These 3rd party booking sites resell tickets purchased from the wholesale market. As many of them are new, they will set margins so low that they would be much cheaper than tickets purchased directly from airlines. Some would even take a loss on the ticket sale with the hope of selling you on hotels and car rentals too.
Are they safe to book? There are 2 easy ways to protect yourself when booking from 3rd party sites:
- Always book with your credit card. You don’t just get miles and points for the booking but you also get purchase protection. If it turns out to be a scam, you can request a chargeback from your bank.
- Confirm your booking with the airline. You should receive a confirmation email with your ticket number, which you can use to confirm your booking with the airline.
Also note that, if there are issues with the ticket, such as needing a change, you might have to resolve the issues with the 3rd party website. If you aren’t sure you will be taking the trip, you might want to opt for a flexible ticket booked directly with the airline instead.
Another way BuyLo is able to find huge discounts is due to codeshare agreements. In the earlier example with British Airways, British Airways has a codeshare agreement with American Airlines and Qatar Airways. All 3 airlines are selling the same seats on the flight operated by American Airlines and they are all pricing the exact same seat differently.
Here’s an example of a flight found on Kayak codeshared between American Airlines, Iberia and British Airways:
Since British Airways will never tell you that Qatar Airways is selling the exact same seat for way cheaper than they are, BuyLo will be able to check that for you.
3. Pricing Algorithms
The last way BuyLo finds lower prices is by exploiting tricking pricing algorithms into showing you the lowest possible price. The algorithms used by airlines and flight booking sites are meant to maximize their profits, not get you the best deal.
They do this a few ways:
- They discriminate based on the device you are using. If you are booking on an iPhone, you will be shown a higher price. In the image below, the phone on the left is an Android phone while the phone on the right is an iPhone. The iPhone is shown a price that’s $4 more, even though the searches were done at the exact same time. This means iPhone users are paying at least 2% tax for using an iPhone.
- They discriminate based on browsing history. Repeat searches of a flight would bump up the price of the flight. This is intentionally done to create an illusion of urgency.
- They discriminate based on location. Turn on a VPN and hop around to different countries and locations. You will not be seeing the same price on the exact same flights.
Honestly, it’s all a black box and it might be easier to solve a Millenium Problem than to figure out a consistent method for consistently getting the lowest flight price. And this gets us to the caveats.
1. Your mileage may vary
Because every flight pricing algorithm is an unknowable black box, figuring out the tricks to defeat them is more art than science.
If you frequent travel blogs, you might have heard the advice that booking direct from airlines is cheaper. That’s clearly not always the case, as you can see from my examples. But it is sometimes true. So even the experts who travel frequently aren’t always right.
From the times I’ve tried it, BuyLo finds you a lower price about 50% of the time. It’s entirely dependent on what you are booking, where you are booking, and the whims of The Algo Gods at the time.
When BuyLo can’t find you a cheaper flight, it will let you know when it can’t find you anything cheap. It would also sometimes suggest cheaper alternatives departing/arriving at slightly different times than the ticket you’ve selected.
2. Best price right now might not be best price period
BuyLo helps you answer the question, “Is this the best price for my ticket right now?” but it will not help you answer the question, “Is this the best price for my ticket?”. The difference is subtle: for the second question, you need to consider if the tickets would be cheaper if you just waited a little longer.
And that is a good question, indeed. My recommendation is to use BuyLo in combination with the price alert function of flight booking sites like Kayak or Google Flights. After you have run a search on these sites, you might get immediate advice on whether prices are expected to rise/fall, or you might see this:
In this example from Kayak, if you simply click on “Track prices”, you can enter your email to subscribe to price alerts for the route you had picked.
After you get an email notifying you that it is the time to buy the cheapest flights for your route, you can then use BuyLo to ensure that you have the lowest price at checkout.
I’m quite blown away by some of the savings found using BuyLo. It’s hard to say no to potentially thousands of pounds in savings. You have to keep in mind that it’s not a magic bullet and does not guarantee results every time, however. But for just 1 minute to run a scan, it’s pretty worth it. At the very least, you have peace of mind that you’re not missing out on savings.
Pros of using BuyLo:
- Automatically get a lower price – who doesn’t love that?
- Supports all currencies and Economy and Business booking classes
- Supports one way and round trip flights.
Cons of using BuyLo:
- Multi city flights aren’t supported for now.
- You have to book through 3rd party booking sites. If you like booking direct with airlines, you’re out of luck. If you have entered a bunch of information at checkout, you’ll have to re-enter them.
Things to note:
- Lower prices aren’t guaranteed. Flight price algos are a black box so your mileage might vary.
- For flight search websites such as Skyscanner, BuyLo only pops out if you are booking the flight on Skyscanner’s platform or you are clicking out to a supported booking site (see list here).
If you’re interested in having BuyLo get you lower prices, here’s how to set it up:
- Open Chrome or Firefox. (Or any browser that can install Chrome/Firefox extensions)
- If you are on Chrome, go to the BuyLo chrome webstore page. Click on “Add to Chrome” and confirm.
- If you are on Firefox, go to the BuyLo Firefox add-on page. Click on “Add to Firefox” and confirm.
More Top Tips for Great Deals on Business Class Flights
- Be as flexible on dates as you can and avoid flying at popular times/days for business travellers eg Friday nights, Monday morning – you will be able to get a sense of when these are for each airline by comparing the prices across the week. And don’t forget that if you are using one of the Middle Eastern airlines Friday is part of their weekend.
- Use your frequent flyer points to upgrade. It can be difficult to get enough points for a full points business class flight. Plus, business class points seats on popular routes tend to disappear quite soon after they are released. Look at paying for an economy flight or premium economy and see how many points it would take to upgrade.
- Sign up for the newsletters of your favourite airlines and watch out for sales.
- Bid for an upgrade in online auctions. Quite a few airlines offer auction systems for upgrades. Once you have booked your flight they will let you know via email if there are opportunities for upgrade auctions. If you want to participate you will need to submit a price you would be willing to pay for an upgrade and see if you are successful.
- Look for last-minute upgrades. If an airline has empty seats in the business class cabin the day before or on the day of the flight it may be possible to upgrade your ticket for a good price. Check out the manage my booking section of your online booking. Also, I always ask the attendant when I check-in for a longer flight how much it would cost to upgrade to business class on the flight.
- Use a travel agent that is a specialist in business class flights. Google business class flight specialists for your area and see how comes up in terms of travel agents. Finding a good agent who has extensive knowledge of how business class fares work and who is running deals and when can be extremely valuable.
This post was sponsored by BuyLo. However, I only accepted the sponsorship because I think this new browser tool is fantastic and it is free! This cheap flights business class post also includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.