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Cheap Thanksgiving Business Class Flights To Europe Are Back! JFK To London $1,613, Total Roundtrip

by on June 20, 2013 · 10 comments

in Air France, Delta, Mileage Runs, United

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Every year many carriers discount premium tickets to Europe by up to 50% or more. Some fares even work for Christmas/New Years travel and recently many of these fares were filed. Many just require a Saturday night stay, but some do require a week. Play around with ITA software so be flexible to find the lowest fares. Remember, you can’t book your flight on the ITA Matrix, once you know your dates and flight numbers  you can look up the trip by going directly to the airline website or your preferred online travel agency such as Orbitz to book.

The fares I found were generally cheapest from New York City, and a lot were on Delta, though I did find some other decent (not awesome, but good) options from other cities. Here’s a quick hit list of the sample fares I found.

New York City JFK and EWR

  • London Heathrow on Delta for $1,613.00 total roundtrip (6,902 miles).
  • London Heathrow on United  $1,613 total roundtrip (6,930 miles).
  • Rome on United via Washington Dulles for just $1,761 total roundtrip (7,810 miles.)
  • Munich aboard Lufthansa for just $1,689 total roundtrip (8,354 miles).
  • Paris on Brussels Airlines through Brussels for $1,790 total roundtrip (8,334 miles).
  • Madrid on Delta and Air Europa through Barcelona for $1,658 total roundtrip (8,662 miles).
  • Istanbul on Lufthansa through Frankfurt for $2,055 total roundtrip (10,032 miles).
  • Rome on Lufthansa through Munich, returning on Brussels Airlines through Brussels for $1,784 total roundtrip (8,563 miles).
  • Istanbul on Delta and KLM through Amsterdam (the JFK-AMS flights are operated by Delta) for $2,051 total roundtrip (10,038 miles).

Chicago

  • London on United for $2,033 total roundtrip (7,906 miles)
  • Paris on United returning through Brussels for $2,186 total roundtrip (8,811 miles).
  • Madrid on Delta through Atlanta and returning through JFK with both the first and the last flights in First Class for $2,069 total roundtrip (9,270 miles).
  • Rome on United through Dulles with for the both the first and the last flights in First Class for $2,181 total roundtrip (10,188 miles).

Other Cities

  • San Francisco to London on Delta through JFK and returning through Minneapolis/ Saint Paul for $2,391 total roundtrip (11,641 miles).
  • Los Angeles to London on Air New Zealand for $2,453 total roundtrip (10,912 miles).
  • Los Angeles to London on Delta and Air France through Detroit and returning through Paris for $2,400 total roundtrip (11,915 miles).
  • Washington Dulles to London on United for $2,033 total roundtrip (7,354 miles).
  • Miami to Madrid on Delta through Atlanta on the outbound and JFK on the return for $1,859 total roundtrip (9,609 miles).
  • Atlanta to Rome on Alitalia for $2,867 total roundtrip (10,072 miles).
  • Denver to London on Air France operated by Delta through New York and returning through Minneapolis/Saint Paul for $2,391 total roundtrip (10,042 miles).
  • Houston to Paris on Air Canada through Toronto (IAH-YYZ flights are operated by Air Canada Express Jazz) for $2,174 total roundtrip (10,062 miles).

Here are the itineraries themselves.

JFK to London on Delta for $1,613.00 (codeshare with Air France), departing on November 26 and returning on December 2. The Delta 767 aircraft are fitted with the BusinessElite seats with 60 inches of legroom and 160-degree recline.

JFK to London on Air France for

JFK to London on Air France for $1,613.

Newark EWR to London Heathrow for $1,613 on United from Tuesday, November 26 – Monday, December 2.

Screen shot 2013-06-19 at 3.38.36 PM

Comparable flights just a week later were going for $3,821 on British Airways, American, United and Virgin Atlantic – pretty much standard from this route, but over twice as much as the low Thanksgiving fares!

Screen shot 2013-06-19 at 6.48.55 PM

It’s not just to London, though. You can get from JFK to Madrid on Air France (operated by Delta) and Air Europa through Barcelona for $1,658.

JFK to Madrid on Air France and Air Europa

JFK to Madrid on Air France and Air Europa through Barcelona for $1,658.

And from JFK to Munich aboard Lufthansa for just $1,689.

Screen shot 2013-06-19 at 4.04.25 PM

Or choose JFK to Rome on Lufthansa through Munich, returning on Brussels Airlines through Brussels for $1,784.

JFK to Paris on Brussels Airlines for

JFK to Paris on Brussels Airlines for $1,790.

Although things there are unsettled at the moment, the fall is a lovely time to visit Istanbul (I went in December myself) and hopefully things will be calmer then, so if you’re interested, you could fly JFK to Istanbul on Lufthansa through Frankfurt for $2,055.

JFK to Instanbul on United for $2,055.

JFK to Istanbul on United for $2,055.

Or if you’re a SkyTeam flyer, you can travel JFK to Istanbul on Delta through Amsterdam (the AMS-IST flights are operated by KLM) for $2,051.

JFK to Istanbul on KLM for

JFK to Istanbul on KLM for $2,051.

While I wouldn’t call $2,000 business class airfare an amazing deal, it’s still a better figure than what you’ll be paying to fly a week later on the same routes, which is more in the range of $3,325 on the non-stop from Turkish Airlines.

Screen shot 2013-06-19 at 6.59.45 PM

Washington Dulles didn’t pull up too many interesting options, but you can get to London on United for $2,033.

Washington Dulles to London on United for $2,033.

Washington Dulles to London on United for $2,033.

Venturing on to other cities – I looked in Miami, where I’m based, to see what was available and found a few interesting options including a roundtrip flight from Miami to Madrid on Delta from Wednesday, November 27-December 3 via Atlanta on the outbound and JFK on the return for $1,859.

Screen shot 2013-06-19 at 3.44.49 PMWhereas British Airways, American and Iberia will all charge you close to $5,000 for those same dates.

Screen shot 2013-06-19 at 3.45.47 PM

There were also a few deals to be found farther west, including this itinerary from Chicago to London on United for $2,033.

Chicago to London on United for $2,033.

Chicago to London on United for $2,033.

As well as flying Chicago to Paris on United returning through Brussels for $2,186.

Chicago to Paris on United returning through Brussels for $2,186.

Chicago to Paris on United returning through Brussels for $2,186.

One of the better options was taking Delta from Chicago to Madrid via Atlanta on the outbound and returning through JFK with both the domestic flights in first class for $2,069.

Chicago to Madrid for $2,069 - with half the trip in First Class!

Chicago to Madrid for $2,069.

Chicago to Rome on United through Dulles also clocked in at $2,181.

Chicago to Rome on United for $2,181.

Chicago to Rome on United for $2,181.

Unfortunately, fares from the West Coast aren’t quite as attractive, but they’re still at a significant discount from how high fares normally run.

You can get from San Francisco to London over the holiday for about $2,391 flying Delta via JFK on the outbound and Minneapolis on the return.

Screen shot 2013-06-19 at 3.53.00 PM

While not inexpensive, that’s a full $1,000 less than flights are going for just a few days later and throughout December, when you’d have to fly Frontier to Denver then Icelandair via Reykjavik or pay around $5,600 for the same routing on Delta.

Screen shot 2013-06-19 at 3.56.36 PM

Less impressive is the lowest fare I could find from Los Angeles to London, which came in at $2,453 on Air New Zealand.

Los Angeles to London on Air New Zealand for $2,453.

Los Angeles to London on Air New Zealand for $2,453.

Still, it’s a far cry from nonstops from Los Angeles to London on British Airways November 11-18, which would cost $5,1o6.10 – over twice the price of the Thanksgiving weekend Air New Zealand flight.
LA to London on Iberia vis Orbitz 11:11:2013,106.10.

Los Angeles to London on Iberia on November 11-18 is a grand total of $5,106.10.

Finally, just for some variety, I searched for some Denver fares and found this one to London through New York and returning through Minneapolis/Saint Paul on Delta for $2,391.

Denver to London on Air France through New York and returning through Minneapolis/ Saint Paul for $2,391.

Denver to London on Air France through New York and returning through Minneapolis/ Saint Paul for $2,391.

As well as this itinerary from Houston to Paris on Air Canada via Toronto (IAH-YZZ flights are operated by Air Canada Express Jazz) for $2,174.

Houston to Paris on Air Canada through Toronto

Houston to Paris on Air Canada through Toronto for $2,174.

Caveat Emptor
There are a couple of things to keep in mind before you go crazy booking business class fares.

First, these fares are still expensive and not for everyone – especially those hitting over $2,000. But even the expensive ones can be discounts of up to 50% on certain routes, and I figured they were worth reporting on – especially if you can take advantage of them for upcoming travel.

Right now, if you’re a Oneworld flyer, you probably won’t have much luck finding discounted flights – American, Iberia and British Airways weren’t giving me any love, though they did participate last year so I expect them to load discounted fares sooner or later (I did see some NYC to Paris for $2,300, but I bet it will go lower).

I only searched about a dozen different routes and fares to get a feeling for what was on sale, but if you score an amazing deal or find out new information on any of these or other destinations you can get at huge savings, please share it with the rest of us in the comments below.

As always, check out this post for maximizing airfare purchases so you get as many points as possible for the actual purchase- especially important when buying premium fares!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Sam

    Philadelphia to Barcelona by way of JFK is running at $1854 roundtrip via KLM, Delta, or AirFrance for travel starting on the 11/25 thru 11/28 (excluding 11/27) and returning on 12/3 or 12/4.

  • Steve

    Are these eligible for a class of service bonus? Assuming no status on an airline, what would the bonus be?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes – though you have to check the specific ticket fare class of your ticket and reference your airline’s earning rules. But for example, the Delta tix in D and Z class and United in P and Z will all earn 50% bonuses.

  • thepointsguy

    Good find!

  • Alex Fisher

    Seeing some availability on AA (JFK-LHR/MAN) in the £1200 region. Hopefully they’ll match the *A pricing soon.

  • tridentnyc

    I just did a fare lock on United EWR-LHR 11/27 – 12/1. Thanks Brian!

  • Tony Hayes

    Are any of these US to Europe (on Delta) fares reversible? And if not, why not?

  • narikin

    Virgin Atlantic were in the mix 2 days ago with lots of $1605 Thanksgiving fares round trip in “Upper Class” (flat seat Business) NYC to London. They seem to have trimmed it back to just a couple of dates now, but I still see some $1600 business fares with them around then. Earns a lot of miles and tier points for regular flyers.

    Great airline, great price, GREAT lounges!

  • GDS

    Well I’d like to start with, what a great site this is. My question, I’m flying to Rome from Houston IAH on 11-12-13. Does anyone know of an upgraded ticket to business or first class. I have about 300,000 Amex points available. Please pardon my inexperience but I’m new to this! Thanks to all.

  • Rebecca Wright

    I just booked tickets for our family of 4 to go to London from PHL over the Christmas holiday. As you can imagine the fair was quite high. I planned on using Avios (200,000) or Amex (300,000) to upgrade our seats however I made a rookie mistake of buying a non-upgradable ticket. Is there anything I can do??

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