A lot of folks “Liked” my photograph from seat 1K on Lufthansa flight 431 from Chicago to Frankfurt this past Friday. I was sitting in that seat to get to my Christmas Markets river cruise, which begins in Frankfurt on Tuesday. I wrote about my First Class experience here.
How did I afford such a seat on a lowly journalist’s salary? Following are a few First Class flying tips that I’ve picked up in the past several months.
1. It helped that I traveled on what appeared to be a low-volume day — when everyone else was out clobbering one another during Black Friday.
2. Savvy travelers who publish tips on the web helped me score the big seat upfront. Through those travelers, I learned to book through Avianca, a Star Alliance partner that allows one-way award bookings and more importantly, allows cash and points purchases — and has no fuel surcharges on awards.
The total cost of my First Class ticket by using cash and awards? $885. The cost of the ticket had I purchased it outright from Lufthansa.com? $11,500.
3. My experience illustrates how airfares seem to be all over the place, and you must be savvy — or have a good travel agent — to get airborne without breaking the bank.
4. Accumulate points by applying for credit cards. One Avid Cruiser reader tells us that he and his wife collected 700,000 points by applying for credit cards with mileage offers and that they always fly First Class. I’ve applied for several credit cards myself during the past few years for the sole reason of collecting points.
5. Buy miles, but only when the price is right. See Getting To Your Next Cruise: Business Class Air To Europe: $2,000, Including Intra-Europe Flights. I’m not the only one buying miles to go on trips and in a style that I could not otherwise afford. See How I Flew Around the World in Business Class for $1,340.
As getting to and from cruises becomes more and more expensive, I am always looking for ways to cut those costs.
What about you avid cruisers? What are your secrets to flying in comfort without going broke? What are your First Class flying tips?