Long Haul Seats on Short Haul Flights

Long Haul Seats on Short Haul Flights

If your budget won’t quite stretch enough for a long haul first or business class seat but you want the joy of flying up front in a lay flat seat, take heed as I have some suggestions on how you can make that happen. And you might just get to experience an A380 depending on the time of year and route.

Many airlines such as BA will only use their full flat business class seat and first class sleepers on long haul routes. That is unless there is an operations issue where they need to swap out aircraft which is why your reserved seats are never completely guaranteed as aircrafts do change. Of course you can’t use this as a booking strategy to guarantee a cushier seat but you may get lucky from time to time.

Some airlines however do have offer a long haul option on shorter routes when the flight continues on to another destination. Here is an example. Hong Kong to Bangkok on Emirates continues to Dubai. So you can buy a business class ticket for about $400 each way, sometimes even cheaper than a Thai or Cathay flight on this route. It is a brilliant way to try the famous Emirates business class bar at the back of the plane. You can even indulge in first class for around $600 each way. In either case you’ll have full use of the lounge on the ground and be pampered, even if it is only 2 1/2hours.

Cathay Pacific has a similar option flying JFK-Vancouver and vice-versa. There is no other option to have a full flatbed on this route. Royal Brunei has a similar offer from HKG-BKK in business class.

Many Asian carriers regularly offer long haul seating on short haul flights, if you choose wisely. Cathay Pacific will retire the old 747 but frequently used it on HKG-Manila and HKG-TPE routes. Thai Airways also does this a lot. They have a 747 on the BKK-HKG flight at 8am daily where you get first and business class options. They have also run their A380 on this route. Other airlines such as JAL will sometimes operate a 747 long haul or 777 aircraft and only sell business and economy class seats. They will not have the first class meal service but often give it to their top tier members as a perk.

As for USA carriers, this is normally seasonal where they have the capacity to fill a flight. Delta did this last year on thanksgiving flying MSP-ATL.  It’s just 1 hour 45 flight but it was on a 747-400.

United and American offer the best chance to get long haul seating within USA as they have many routes where they continue the plane onward. This long haul seating is different to regional lie flat seating that most US carriers now offer from NYC-LAX and with a few exceptions to San Francisco. Air Canada offers transcontinental business class with lie flat seats Toronto to Vancouver as the plane continues on to Asia and also Toronto to LAX.

The best way to know is to use seatguru. This website lets you type in a flight number and see what aircraft is scheduled to be used and the cabin layout. Expedia is also good to view as most airlines give access to seating charts.

When Air France had their first delivery of the A380 they flew it Paris to London. Their pilots need a certain amount of hours on the aircraft which means lots of takeoffs and landings. So they did lots of short runs to train as many pilots as possible. This is pretty common when airlines get new aircraft. Pay attention as many carriers will be getting new A350s in the years ahead.

Daniel - Living GreenDaniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living  well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.

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