Where to Fly Emirates A380 First Class for Under $700

Last month I wrote about buying Emirates first class at 89% off.

Airlines price discriminate selling premium cabin tickets based on market in which the tickets are sold. An airline may sell a ticket for a whole lot less originating in Asia or Africa than in Europe or the U.S.

There may be more customers in the U.S. willing to buy a premium cabin ticket to Africa, than the other way around. So selling seats cheaper originating in Africa can fill otherwise empty seats without reducing the price many of the Americans will pay.

It’s worth running the flight for the high revenue traffic heading to a destination and back, and once the airline is flying the plane anyway it’s willing to fill up remaining seats at a discount. So the way it does that is discounting for passengers buying their ticket to start a journey in the lower revenue end of the trip.

So I shared a $2500 one-way fare from Maputo, Mozambique via Johannesburg and Dubai to San Francisco. The 15 hour Dubai – San Francisco flight is on Emirates’ Airbus A380 with suites and onboard shower.

Roundtrips originating in Mozambique were pricing at ‘only’ $4256 while the same roundtrip itinerary originating in San Francisco runs over $37,000.

A couple of weeks ago Lucky at One Mile at a Time found that the price of this fare had fallen even further and was under $4000 roundtrip.

I wrote at the time that “there will be some people who choose to book a one-way award ticket to Africa, and then buy their ticket back from Africa. Or Asia. Colombo, Sri Lanka has been especially known over the years as a great city to start from for cheap airfare.”

And indeed there’s now even a cheaper Emirates first class fare out of Colombo, Sri Lanka. (HT: Secret Flying)

Of course there are even cheaper routes still on which you can fly Emirates A380 first class, though not for quite as long.

For instance Auckland – Sydney:

And Bangkok – Hong Kong:

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 »

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  1. Booked myself a one way from BKK to HKG on this upcoming trip. Paid around $560 at the time i believe per person. Not a bad way to spend 3 hours.

  2. I was checking last night, the MPM-SFO on EK for ~$2500 is no longer available, but AF F via CDG priced out at ~$2500. EK is around ~$3800 now.

  3. I have never traveled on EK but I can tell you that AF F is a top quality all round product. Worth trying out! There is something about the classic European airlines that elevates their F class into something really special, not just a great airline experience.

  4. @Harry of course you cannot redeem miles for Air France first class unless you have elite status in the Flying Blue program, and Air France first doesn’t offer true suites with doors, the old first is completely open and the new first has curtains. Great lounge in Paris of course.

  5. They also offer (relatively) cheap upgrades when you check-in online. For SGN-DXB-PRG in June I was offered an upgrade to business for $300 — this on a coach ticket that cost less than $700 RT (returning from BCN). From BCN the upgrade offered was $800. It was my first time flying EK, but I doubt that the offer was made for that reason.

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