Cheap Upgrades In The Air As In-Flight Class Gap Narrows

12 November 2014

Hawaii has emerged as the best value destination for travellers looking to upgrade their flights from Australia's east coast.

Flight Centre research shows that while the cheapest international business class fare typically costs three to four times the cheapest economy fare, an upgrade can cost less than double for travellers flying to Hawaii from Brisbane (economy: $984, business class: $1935).

Travellers taking off to Hawaii from Sydney and Melbourne can also land a bargain upgrade, with the cheapest business class fares from both cities costing 2.7 times the cheapest economy fares.

Flight Centre analysed fares to 20 international cities from both Brisbane and Sydney and to 15 international cities from Melbourne.

In addition to being the cheapest upgrade option from Brisbane, Hawaii offered:

  • The second most affordable upgrade from Melbourne (economy: $871, business class: $2331); and
  • The third most affordable upgrade from Sydney (economy: $855, business class: $2334)

No other destination ranked in the top three from all three cities.

Bangkok offered Melbourne's most affordable upgrade at 2.5 times the cheapest economy fare (economy: $793, business class: $1949), ahead of Hawaii and Manila (2.8).

Auckland (2.3) and Frankfurt (2.4) offered Sydney's most affordable upgrades, with Hawaii third. In dollar terms, the difference between the cheapest economy fare ($334) to Auckland and the cheapest business class fare ($776) was just $442.

From Brisbane, Bali ranked second behind Hawaii with the cheapest advertised business class fare costing 2.4 times the cheapest economy fare. Tokyo (2.8) was third.

"The price difference between a seat at the front of the plane and a seat in the economy cabin seems to be contracting, which is great news for the travelling public," Flight Centre Australia general manager Tom Walley said.

"Travellers might not be aware of just how little it actually costs to add an extra level of comfort and style by upgrading.

"These figures highlight the pricing improvements that are taking place and also underline the other positive developments that we are seeing as we enter a golden era for travel.

"Generally, airfares are becoming cheaper, the range of options is expanding and flying time is decreasing, as more direct services have become available."

The research was based on the cheapest return economy and business class fares that were available from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney on November 5 and November 6, 2014.

On average, the cheapest business class fare from Melbourne cost 3.3 times the cheapest economy fare. From both Brisbane and Sydney, the average multiple was 3.4.

Media enquiries to Haydn Long 0418 750454

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