A client in Los Angeles called me this morning saying he had an emergency meeting in Miami on Monday morning and needed a ticket to Miami tomorrow afternoon or evening, returning Monday night.
I noted immediately that AA or DL would be best for non-stop service and priced out an itinerary – economy was $1110.
The client asked about upgrading and before even checking for upgrade space, I ran the search in business class and found that business class was less than $500 more.
Forget upgrading when you can buy into first for $250 each way on a transcon!
Then the client said he preferred to leave tomorrow afternoon and preferred to fly United (he has enjoyed recent trips on United p.s. business class between New York and LA and in Global First from Chicago to Frankfurt).
Okay – no problem, United had flights available via Houston. It was not cheap, but economy for $883 is fair for a last-minute ticket.
But just a minute. Pricing a first class ticket revealed the same flights – even with a lie-flat bed from Los Angeles to Houston – were only $970, a difference of $87 or about $22 per flight to be in first class.
The point is simple – when checking airfare, especially for last minute trips, always compare the price of first class as well. Sometimes, and more often than you might think, you can get a great baragin.