As you may recall from a previous post, I am going business class all the way on this trip. Face value for this ticket would be more than $10,000 round trip but I used my airline points so I paid a total of $106 which includes taxes – everything.
When to Book – Early or Later?
If I am sure I want to go someplace I normally book as far in advance as possible – WHEN USING POINTS / AWARD SPACE. If paying cash I may monitor for a bit but book no less than 1 month in advance. I don’t have the stomach to play waiting games but I will say that it appears if you are using points and you miss the opportunity to book far in advance its often times best to wait until two weeks before departure because often times award space is released at the last minute!
I actually booked the flights at the end of February, so that was about 7 months in advance. I will say that a week after I booked the flight there was no award space left on Turkish Airlines and at this writing less than a week before departure I’ve not seen any other seats open up. I chose flights within the Star Alliance program because that’s where I found the best value for my points on this trip and also because of the limited carriers that go into Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania.
Turkish was a good choice in that there is only one layover but I am not impressed with the business class product in that it is not a totally lie flat seat but it reclines like a lazy boy. Not bad compared to economy class but not lie-flat either. Also, the flight leaves very late which means that the lounge may close before boarding…drag…I am also curious as to dinner service on such a late flight. These are things you have to take into consideration when booking but I decided that it was the best scenario for this trip. Having said that I hear that the food is very good and the business class lounge in Istanbul – where we have our layover -is one of the best business class lounge experiences available.
I monitored the open award space for this trip because I wanted to see if I should have waited to book later or early as I did. Like I said, looks like I timed it just right for Turkish but Egypt Airlines was available up to 3months prior to departure and Ethiopian Airlines one week out still has space. Also, early August I started to see Lufthansa space open but I’ve heard folks report issues when trying to actually book award space so I would say that earlier actually was better in this instance.
Turkish Airlines – Business Class Report
SWISS Air – Business Class Report
UNITED – Business Class Report