Everyone knows the different service classes that airlines offer: Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class. Not every airline has four cabin classes. Some equip their aircraft only with coach. But regardless of the size of the seats and the meals that are served in the air. There is one thing that all carriers have in common. And it’s something a lot of people aren’t even aware of: booking classes.
But those booking classes can give you valuable information about the fare you booked. What price category is your ticket in? How flexible are you in terms of canceling or rescheduling? It is hard to pin down what precisely the booking class tells you since every airline makes its own rules. But there are some facts that they have in common.
For example, an airline can use booking classes to define how many seats on a flight can be sold for the super cheap fare that we at Travel-Dealz present to you. A carrier has absolutely no interest in selling every seat at a low price. But they do want to get a good advertisement. So they divide the plane into different categories. Some are low-budget but also don’t allow rescheduling or cancellation. Other might be higher priced but on the other hand, will enable you to change to another flight without extra costs.
The airlines will calculate how many seats they have to sell in various booking classes to make the flight profitable. Usually, the airlines will release 9 seats for most booking classes. That way they can control their sales until the last minute.
If you’re using an OTA to book your flight, you’ll typically be offered the cheapest booking class. But there might be an occasion when you’d prefer to have a more flexible ticket. That’s when you could need a right travel agency, or you have to book on the airline’s website.
The first and most significant problem is that most OTAs don’t even tell you about the booking class for your flight. Often it is after you paid for the ticket that they will provide this information.
But if you need to know the booking class in advance, there are ways to do so. The first option is to search for your flight on Expedia. They will always show you the booking class for your trip. By the way, they will also share the complete list of fare rules with you, if that’s what you’re interested in.
Another way would be the ITA Airfare Search. Google’s tool will always show you the booking class for each flight.
But of course, you won’t know if the travel agency you are using will actually book the same ticket that ITA Airfare Search shows you. So that’s not an entirely accurate way to find out what you’re getting.
Booking class and frequent flyer programs
Most frequent flyer programs use booking classes to determine how many award and tier miles a member will earn. Sometimes you won’t receive any mile for very cheap fares and booking classes. Other might get you an earning rate of 200% or more. So especially if you’re out to collect those miles, you should better be aware of your booking class.
Also when redeeming miles, the booking class comes into play. First of all, tickets issued in an award seat booking class usually are excluded from earning more miles. Also, to actually book an award flight, the designated booking class has to be available. In other words, the airlines have to release seats that can be purchased with award miles.
When upgrading to a higher cabin class most airlines require you to book a higher priced ticket in the first place. Super cheap fares are often not eligible for upgrades.