Wendy, we’d like your help finding a reliable airline ticket consolidator for a July trip to Hong Kong for five of us. We need two business-class and three economy tickets on the same plane. Thank you for any guidance you can give us. —Bonnie
Bonnie, for business-class airline tickets to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, I recommend contacting Al Thomas of International Travel Systems, a boutique consolidator with a high level of personalized service. Al negotiates low fares with about 30 airlines that he selects for their aircraft comfort, service level, convenient schedules, and quick layover times. Although 90% of the tickets he sells are business class, he does also sell premium economy and coach fares.
His business-class fares save you between 30% and 50%, depending on how far ahead you’re buying them and the time of year you’re flying. Business-class fares are relatively low over leisure-travel holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter, and relatively high from September through November and March through May (which are the two peak times of year for business travel).
For flights to Asia, Al uses mainly Cathay Pacific (which I’m sure he’ll use for your flights to Hong Kong) and Korean Airlines (he likes Korean’s new A380 with its all-business-class upper deck). For flights to Europe he focuses on Air France, Air Berlin, Alitalia, Delta, Icelandair, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic. For the Middle East, he uses Emirates and Etihad, which are rapidly extending their network beyond the Middle East to India, Southeast Asia, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, the Maldives, and the Seychelles.
Another bonus: Al’s business-class fares are almost always refundable, minus a penalty of about $250 to $400 per ticket.