How to Never Fly Coach Again If you're a business traveler that takes to the skies on a regular basis, you deserve to know the tricks of the upgrade trade.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Have you ever been crammed into a coach airline seat and enviably eyed the business and first-class travelers, kicking back in comfort and sipping vintage wine? Ever wondered if they were able to score such a prime seat without paying full price? If you're a business traveler that takes to the skies on a regular basis, you deserve to know the tricks of the upgrade trade.
Technology has ushered in a new generation of sites, apps and hacks that are re-writing the playbook of upgraded travel. There are now multiple effective ways to get the most out of a flight experience without emptying your pocketbook. Here are a few business-class hacks that will change how you travel and make your next flight a relaxing and fantastic experience:
Upgrade bookings in a flash
One of the most tedious portions of traveling can be actually booking the flight itself. More often than not, a plethora of websites will need to be scoured in search of the perfect flight at the best price possible. Yet a heap of time can be saved in this department with the implementation of the correct tools; tools that also help you score the ideal upgrade at a fraction of the cost.
Flyertalk.com is one of the largest communities online dedicated to travel. This site provides a bevy of information that escalates an amateur traveler into a bona fide professional. Find travel information, airline news and an enormously active forum which covers knowledge on practically anything flight related. And yes, included in the mix is a ton of ideas to score a free or steeply discounted upgrade on virtually any flight.
IFTTT (which stands for "if this then that") is a web-based service that has seen an extreme growth in popularity over the past several years. This platform allows users to establish chains of conditional statements which are then triggered based on changes to a website or service. In other words, if an IFTTT user has a "recipe" set to identify flights to New York for less than $400 and something is posted to a monitored website, IFTTT will send an email or text notification.
By combining these two technologies, users can eliminate the need to search, scour, and monitor websites, and instead let technology do all of the heavy lifting. Simply set IFTTT to monitor FlyerTalk's Premium Fare Deals message board, Mileage Run Deals message board or any other number of other websites to receive prompt notifications when criteria you are in search of is mentioned. Best of all, both of these time-saving technologies are completely free to use.
Discount premium-class fare agencies
When it comes time to booking a flight, most people go with the biggest booking agencies available online. While these people pay for the convenience of booking with a well-known brand, that in no way guarantees scoring the best price possible.
To counter that, there are many lesser-known booking agencies available online that specialize specifically in premium-class seats at discounted prices. Often enough, business and first class seats can be found for up to 70 percent off of the original price, although frequent flyer miles will not be amassed with this method. But for 70 percent off, that is a minor detail.
Sites like Cook Travel advertise up to 60 percent off fares in addition to great bonuses such as refundable and transferrable tickets, the ability to pay with airline points and 2 for 1 tickets. Meanwhile, if you are willing to make an extra layover, premium-class flight tickets can be procured with as much as 50 percent off at sites like ETravelBid.com. This platform identifies flights with alternative routes and layovers and offers tickets at a fraction of the cost.
With these tools in hand, worldly travelers can turn expensive and stressful travel planning into easy-breezy, affordable fun.