Born in Britain but bred in Australia for a considerable period of preteen years, with a clan of caring elders, impish cousins and doting grandparents, form pleasant memories for me. The lockdowns of the COVID era filled me with a yearning nostalgia to relive the warm Christmas down south. So my cold and lonely Christmas in 2021 drove me to a New Year resolution to have an extended family reunion during Christmas in 2022. I discussed the idea with much vigour with my cousins, and all of us agreed.
Everybody liked the idea and agreed to coax their parents all along. After all, it is a memory siblings look forward to and cherish forever. With a purpose in mind and love in our hearts, we had a reason to live in 2022. It would be the first time since I had started working that I’d be travelling to Australia. I wanted to give my parents a comfortable business-class flight ticket from my earnings. So I started early in late summer, scouring for cheap business flight deals and observing pricing trends. I did a lot of research on studying offers by different airlines flying to Australia from the UK and how to cut down my costs incurred.
I had once thrown a tantrum in travelling economy class when my grandmother passed away. My parents had just let my tantrum pass, but now I could feel it’s easy to demand when you have loads of resources to plan and act. And it is easier if you are not the spender or planner. In any case, we did travel business class as per the norm and enjoyed it for a lifetime. The memories are worth more than all the pain and stress we went through that year. My deep research has equipped me with some insights on ways to minimise costs while taking a business class flight to Sydney.
Timing is an important factor in booking a cheap flight ticket. Since I had plenty of time to observe and plan before booking a ticket, I booked and confirmed two cheap Business class tickets around mid-August for a December journey on Qantas Airlines. The third one was beyond my savings at that time. The elderly deserve maximum comfort and reassurance. They are seasoned travellers and well aware of the value of stopovers. A direct flight would have taken around 22 hours and drained them. The stopover at the signature Qantas Lounge at Changi Airport in Singapore gave them that break and refreshing energy. Direct flights tend to be costlier as well.
Discussing the dilemma with my friends brought me in touch with travel experts at OnGoEazy. Since I had plenty of time (I had started looking for tickets in June itself), I had a last resort of booking an economy ticket and getting an upgrade later. In the meantime, newsletters from this OTA kept me in the loop of various discounts and sales offers from time to time. They told me a trade secret – premium cabin tickets tend to become cheaper near the departure dates.
I checked my credit cards and mile redemption programmes. They offer great value for nouveau earners like me. I had got confirmed tickets for my parents with alternative plans for myself.
Option 1, I could travel solo, on a different flight.
Option 2, I could take a flight on a different airline
My parents could not take a tortuous itinerary of several stopovers or get flexible with departure and arrival destinations. It would have taken a toll on their tired bodies. The flexibility of departure and arrival destinations or dates has a large impact on finances. Besides, if one can avoid popular travel hubs like LHR or Kingsford Smith Sydney Airport (Mascot) and look for alternative destinations as well as airlines, the travel cost can go down. Similarly, if I took a business class flight to Sydney in the midweek, it can diminish the costs as opposed to weekend travel. And it is easier to get preferred seats or seat upgradation for one person. I could offer my seat to someone in an emergency and get rewarded for good behaviour with an upgraded seat on the next flight. With all this theoretical reinforcement, I was convinced I will land a viable business-class seat. I was bubbling with energy to make it on my own.
It was not that I was depending on professional inputs only. I did a lot of spadework myself to help me negotiate better. Cheap should not be the focus in terms of money only; one should evaluate the compromises of comfort, food and seat against the costs also. It is not easy to travel cramped for a full day. You need to eat and sleep decently. There should be something to keep you entertained as well. Various airlines use different relaxation and entertainment options to retain incumbent travellers’ minds for the present as a future investment. Based on the departure destination of flights, the price of a business class ticket from London to Australia varies greatly. London tickets start from around £1465 and Manchester from £2311.
Similarly, a round ticket is cheaper on average than a single-way ticket. The average price for a return business class ticket is around £5238, and you would be lucky to negotiate for a £3500 deal. The fliers are spoiled as several airlines are flying between London and Sydney. Yet I chose a Qantas Business Class Flight to Sydney for my parents for many reasons. They are the flag carrier of Australia, our intended destination; their safety reputation is impeccable, and their Business Lounge in Singapore provided the much-needed rest and resuscitation on the journey.
I chose Qantas for myself as I took an economy ticket in October and participated in the auction bid for upgrading. Luckily I got the deal and was rewarded for all the hard work I had put in. It’s said – God helps those who help themselves. The sepias and monochromes we gathered on Christmas are worth more than all the pains taken. A perfect Christmas gift from Santa