Being that half of my last talk at the BKK meetup was on travel (Business-Class and First-Class), I’ve meant to write some killer tips for any aspiring travelers. The trick I am about to reveal has been around for a few years but is basically never blogged about on travel blogs, and people only allude to the trick because too many people doing this would incite airlines to crackdown.
Let’s say you have been grinding quite hard, and you have been stacking quite hard as well. You want to reward yourself and take a nice relaxing trip to one of the nicest beaches/places in the world: the Maldives.
You want to check out the bioluminescent bays:
You want to eat in some extravagant places:
You want to pull a hipster move and stay in a humble little hut to keep your ego grounded:
In short, you want to enjoy the high-class life. No big deal, the average price per night here is around $2000 USD per day, so you’re looking at around $14k over a week just for lodging.
And what fun is an amazing trip like this if you’re stuck in cattle class like some sort of stowaway rodent? It’d be like rolling up to your wedding on a public bus or by hitchhiking — sure you eventually get there, but it detracts from the experience. Luckily, out of the 2 Gulf carriers, two of them have quite grand amenities that will make you forget that you have a 24+ hour flight ahead of you. I am talking about Etihad and Emirates.
Etihad operates out of Abu Dhabi, and Emirates operates out of Dubai — both in the United Arab Emirates. They’re like two squabbling siblings, they keep trying to one-up each other, and that’s a good thing. They know if they doze off, even their inferior sibling Qatar Air operating out of Doha will catch up quickly. This is the type of fierce competition that allowed Emirates to innovate and introduce the world to the first in-flight Shower. Yes, you can take a shower at 30,000 feet. It doesn’t get too much more douchey than that.
How to book Business-Class and First-Class seats the right way:
So no problem, right? Let’s just book a ticket out of New York City to the Maldives, stopping in Abu Dhabi or Dubai to connect.
Whoops! Showers on an airplane don’t come that cheap. If you want the full-fledged feeling of feeling like the world’s biggest douche, you will need to pony up and get the full first-class ticket. Business-class passengers aren’t allowed in.
This is where the  Weird Tip comes in:
Suffice to say, when you book a ticket, a bunch of things contribute to the overall cost. There are taxes, fare classes, and a whole host of other things that inventory management departments at airlines are paid billions a year to manage. The  Weird tip is that:
When you book a ticket originating in Sri Lanka, it is coded differently — and this difference allows business and first-class tickets to be priced out to near economy prices (and in some cases cheaper!)
So let’s take a look at that same exact route, but let’s start from the Maldives and go to New York City, staying there 7 days, and then flying back. The product doesn’t change, the dates don’t change, or anything else — but you are departing from Male in the Maldives which is part of Sri Lanka.
You are now looking at a flight that is THREE TIMES CHEAPER.
Now if you wanted to be even MORE frugal, you could take a flight out of Colombo, Sri Lanka which generally has the cheapest rates for this trick. Here’s the same flight out of Colombo:
Now you’re talking about a flight that’s 4 times cheaper than the exact same reverse itinerary.
In practical terms, what does this mean? Your average Asian affiliate who’s from Bangkok or Malaysia or China can take a quick and dirt cheap AirAsia flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka and then take one of the world’s most expensive flights for 1/4th the cost that it would normally be. If you’re in the US or Europe, next time you fly to Asia, just buy a one-way ticket and then book the return flight through Colombo to save ridiculous amounts of money!
Some final details:
You need to book the tickets through an online OTA — this is your Expedia or Orbitz or any other type of site that you can book airline tickets through other than their official website. The airline’s own official site doesn’t always work, so it’s better to go through an OTA. For ease of use, I priced it out on Expedia to show that this fare can actually be bought.
And that about wraps it up! Let me know if you have any questions, and I hope this helps you book one of the best aerial experiences you’ve ever had! For what it’s worth… here’s a sneak peek at the type of next-level-high-class Etihad has in store starting from London to Abu Dhabi — it’s the next level beyond first class and dares I say far superior to a private jet.