The downturn of business travel creates an unexpected gift for vacationers: Cheap first-class and business-class tickets in big-city markets abound with airlines no longer holding back premium seats for corporate customers.
Fare-watchers say there are great bargains on roomy seats this summer and into the fall—not to beach destinations but to cities that typically attract corporate fliers. Airlines expect some rebound in business travel later this year. Until that happens, the discounting is extreme.
“I’ve never seen anything quite this volatile on pricing,” says Rick Seaney, chief executive of 3Victors, a Dallas data firm that tracks airline pricing. His research found first-class and business-class fares 20% to 70% below the same seats on comparable dates in 2019, with savings of as much as $4,000.
One particular bargain opportunity: business class to Europe. The European Union agreed…