How to Book a Round Trip in Different Travel Classes

Lufthansa Premium Economy Class Sitze Notausgang Boeing 747-8i

For many, a flight in Business Class or even First Class is a dream that they would like to check off their to-do list. However, such flights are not exactly cheap, even if we at Travel-Dealz are looking for the best prices for you every day. One way to get such an experience at a somewhat cheaper price is to fly in different travel classes – e.g. only fly the outbound flight in business class, but the cheap economy class is enough to fly back home.

While OTAs and search engines such as Google Flights rarely offer this option, it can be booked relatively easily on most airlines’ websites. We’ll show you some examples.

Why Should I Combine Travel Classes?

Basically, there are three main reasons to book a flight in one direction in a different travel class than the opposite direction, and only one of them is painfully obvious:

  • Money: Plainly spoken – one flight in business and one flight in economy is usually cheaper than two flights in business class. If that is not the case: What are you even doing here? Book that thing!
  • Jet lag: Most westbound flights are either long daytime or long nighttime flights. While in the latter case, having more comfort to sleep is a blessing, it can be a curse during daytime.
    Usually, it’s advisable to stay awake as long as you can when going westwards during the day. After arriving, you will fall asleep in the evening, wake up the next morning and have comfortably eased your body into the new timezone. A lie-flat-bed will tempt you not to stay awake during the flight and might wreck your sleeping pattern. So why pay more for a disadvantage?
  • Miles: Flying just for the sake of flying (or keeping a status) may lead to some people rolling their eyes, but it is undeniably a thing. A thing that each editor in our team did at least once. And if you collect all the miles or points you need with a business outbound, why not choose a cheaper inbound? In some cases, it even makes sense to choose a lower travel class, as some frequent flyer programs value premium economy tickets more than business class segments.

As you can see, there are a bunch of good reasons to combine travel classes. And even more reasons to show you how it’s done. Let’s take a look at the major players on the European aviation market:


At Lufthansa and its partners (SWISS, Austrian, Brussels Airlines), the next-highest booking class is usually displayed when booking. In the case of European flights, that would be economy and business. On long-haul routes, you have to select at least basic economy class to mix it with a higher class leg. That is the only restriction that we found. In most cases, you should be able to combine travel classes according to your wishes.

Lufthansa Mix Booking Classes I
Whatever cabin you are looking for, Lufthansa will usually display the next two higher travel classes. Two fares alerady state Mixed cabin – in this case, because the plane from Dublin to Frankfurt doesn’t have a premium economy or first cabin.

Once you have selected the outbound and inbound flight, you can check the booking summary again to see that the travel classes have been selected correctly.

Lufthansa Mix Booking Classes II
Everyone has to decide for themselves whether this combination of premium economy and business is good value for money.

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British Airways

British Airways shows the next-highest travel class, as well. This means that e.g. economy class can be combined with business class on long-haul routes. But only with economy standard. The light fare cannot be mixed with a higher travel class. First class can be combined with business class and premium economy.

You can also combine economy and business with British Airways on long-haul routes

Air France – KLM

With Air France and KLM, everything can be combined as desired, from economy class to business class. However, Air France’s first class can only be mixed with business class.

The other travel classes are always offered on the side

TAP Portugal

TAP only has two travel classes, economy, and business, and displays these directly with every booking process. Both travel classes can be combined without any restrictions.

TAP Mix Booking Classes I
Economy on the left, business on the right. It’s that easy

If you have selected both flights, this is also clearly displayed in the booking summary. A brief note: The usual business class fare is called Executive at TAP.

TAP Mix Booking Classes II

Turkish Airlines

With Turkish Airlines, it looks exactly the same as with TAP. The airline only has two travel classes and therefore shows both classes directly with every booking:

Turkish Airlines also keeps it very simple

With Turkish, too, you can combine business class with the cheapest eco-fare (promotion), which allows you to actually save quite a bit of money here and there, and luggage is included in every travel class with Turkish Airlines anyway.

The inbound flight in business class: Arrive fresh at home without paying an absolute fortune

Frequently Asked Questions

Which travel class do I have to search for?

With some airlines, it doesn’t matter, but with most of them, you should search for the lowest travel class. The airlines want to sell you a more expensive travel class and therefore display it as an option in the booking process. It happens significantly less often, that airlines voluntarily will offer you a cheaper travel class.

Are the outbound and inbound flights completely different?

Yes. The booking class, miles, baggage allowance, lounge access, and everything else that differs between the travel classes will then be different on the outbound and inbound flights. You will not enjoy any business benefits on the economy flight.

Can I change the travel class for individual segments?

A good travel agency can do this. Otherwise, there is often the option of upgrading individual segments after you have booked the trip. However, this will not work via the normal online booking process that the airlines offer.

Is it even worth it?

Mostly not. If you book a route that is not currently on sale, that one business class segment will be so expensive that you can actually forget about it. If you’re booking a business class deal, the price difference to economy for only one direction is usually no longer particularly large (approx. €300). Whether you want to spend more than 10 hours in cramped seats for €300 instead of sleeping in a bed is something that everyone has to assess for themselves. Perhaps it is more worthwhile with first class, which for many is actually just a once-in-a-lifetime experience where one direction is enough.

Hint: Combine Travel Classes for Inexpensive Long-Haul Oneways

Long haul one-ways are known to be extremely expensive. E.g. if you are looking for a business one-way to Los Angeles, it can easily cost €4,750. A well-known trick is to book a return flight and simply let the inbound flight expire. This will reduce the price to e.g. €1,350. You can save even more by booking a business outbound and economy inbound, shaving a couple of bucks off the already reduced bill.

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