Fare Alert: Summer and Holiday Business Class to Europe From $1835 Roundtrip

American Airlines is running all of its Europe and deep South America flights from New York JFK with Boeing 777s. That’s too much capacity even for a joint venture partner’s hub like Madrid (Iberia). They really ought to be basing some smaller aircraft, like Boeing 787s, out of New York and serving more destinations profitably.

During peak summer months and during fall and winter holidays there’s often fare compression, business class tickets go down in price (especially for restricted fares that leisure flyers can buy) while coach gets more expensive. We’re certainly seeing that on American’s New York JFK – Madrid route, where they’re discounting business class. For about the same money you can also fly their partner Iberia’s business class non-stop as well.

Here’s a mixed-airline itinerary for $1953 roundtrip:

Key details of fare basis VLX4C1P5:

  • Books into I (discounted business) inventory
  • Departures from the US permitted Sunday through Wednesday
  • Returns from Europe permitted Tuesday through Friday
  • Outbound travel available July 24 – August 19, November 25 – November 30, December 24 – January 1
  • Return travel permitted August 21 – September 8, November 25 – November 29, December 29 – December 24, December 29 – January 4
  • 60 day advance purchase required
  • Saturday stay required
  • $900 refund fee prior to departure of first flight
  • $500 change fee

One of Two American Airlines Boeing 777-200 Business Class Seats, This One is ‘Concept D’

If you’d rather credit the trip to a SkyTeam frequent flyer program like Delta’s, Skyscanner will pull up Air Europa business class itineraries from $1835 roundtrip.

There’s likely too much capacity between New York airports and Madrid, with 7 flights a day between American, Iberia, Delta, Air Europa, United, and Norwegian. That’s great for anyone still looking for a summer deal to Europe.

Departing New York JFK American Airlines (and oneworld partner) business class passengers have access to American’s Flagship Lounge, which is my favorite of the airline’s business class lounges thanks to their ‘Bridge Dining’ area with made-to-order food.

(HT: Premium Flights)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. The fare compression between business and economy class that happens for summer and winter holiday periods seems to be way more applicable for my US-EU-US travel in the summer than on my EU-US-EU travel in the summer.

  2. This happens every year and, if you time a sale, it’s not unusual to get sub $2000 biz class fares to Spain. The competition to Spain seems particularly brutal at the moment, as we’re repeatedly seeing lots of shoulder season basic economy fares below $300 from NYC.

    I know some people think business class is wonderful but, other than the novelty, I would suggest that $900+ each way per person to Europe is a terrible use of vacation money. $25 per person can elevate your dinner to “fine dining,” and $50 per person can make the difference between a 3 star and 5 star hotel. I’m guessing biz class is still 3x coach on these flights. Personally, I’d still slum it. You get there exactly the same time and the extra comfort is modest.

  3. @chopsticks – I value the price increase to business much more on the eastbound flight, due to the possibility of getting a half-decent night’s sleep (although the value is less on these sub-8-hour flights). On the westbound (day) flight, I agree that there really isn’t much advantage for the money.

  4. Since you know so much, why aren’t you CEO of an airline?

    Easier to write a blog writing about corporate strategy, rather than doing it. Just saying.

  5. @Doug — I actually find that I sleep LESS on an eastbound biz class flight to Europe up-front. Why? Because it’s still enough of a novelty to me that, if I’m on a decent airline, I eat and drink more up front than I do in the back. So I arrive in Europe feeling worse than I would have had I been in coach.

    And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  6. I Just don’t get commenters like “H”. We come here to read Gary’s posts. We like what his analysis and opinion or we wouldn’t return. But H if you think you can do better why don’t you write a blog talking about how great American Airlines CEO is. Might make for great parody.

  7. $2k is good but not great. If overcapacity is an issue then why isn’t there any AA Saaver premium seats available on most of these routes even as far out as next May?

    In response to @chopsticks comments. I agree business class is a bigger price to pay but I can sleep on those flights and it saves me jet lag once I’m there. Everyone is different. I’d much rather “slum it” by spend 7 euro on Cheap meals than not sleep all night and arrive exhausted but that’s me. I also enjoy the flight as part of my trip not just as a means of transportation.

  8. Interesting re Iberia ORD-MAD from my experience:

    No matter the season, IB does not allow use of AA miles towards Business Class.

    Any remaining open inventory ORD-MAD in Business is sold at a reduced price at ticket counter if booked in PE.

    Be aware of short connection time at MAD made worse by underground subway transfer to main terminal; long wait at unorganized customs station; and excessively long walk to departure gate for U.S. flights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *