The goal of earning miles and points is to redeem those miles and points for free travel. What you redeem for depends largely on where you want to go and award availability but the other big part of the equation is the experience you are after. As you likely know, not all airlines are created equal and further to that, some airlines have vastly different experiences between their classes of service (Economy, Premium Economy, Business, and First).
As an example, I had an absolute blast on Cathay Pacific’s (CX) First Class flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG) but was very underwhelmed at my experience in Cathay’s Business Class cabin from Hong Kong to Auckland (AKL).
You’ll have to do your own research on what airlines provide the best experience in each class of service but FlightConnections can help you find which routes feature the class of service you are after. This mostly applies to First Class because almost every airline out there will have Economy, Premium Economy and Business service whereas most do not feature a First Class cabin.
For those that are new to this, airlines that have a First Class cabin only fly them on certain routes that have the demand for a First Class cabin. While Cathay Pacific (CX) has a First Class cabin on some routes, you won’t find it on the Seattle (SEA) to Hong Kong (HKG) route even though that is a route that Cathay flies. Understand this nuance helps you understand that you often have to route to the correct city in order to fly in a First Class cabin.
A word of warning. It’s not uncommon to see a route like Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG) have multiple flights a day. It is not a guarantee that every one of flights has a First Class cabin so be sure to do your due diligence.
During the Stone Ages
Prior to FlightConnections, you were reliant on blogs and airline websites to figure out what routes featured First Class cabins.
This could be very frustrating because there were lots of occasions where the information was outdated or just plain inaccurate. I remember sourcing a First Class routing spreadsheet a long time ago that was pulled from official sources. That was great until airlines decided to change their planes or get rid of their First Class cabins, something we are seeing more and more as airline economics change.
And Then There Was Light
I was recently thinking of where to go once things recover from this COVID-19 pandemic, and like always, my first stop was FlightConnections. When I got to the page, I was very pleasantly surprised to see a new feature that caught my eye, the ability to search based on Class of Service (COS).
PointsNerd has previously covered FlightConnections and how to use the service in previous articles like this one, but the group behind the site seems to be adding innovating new features to their site all the time, making it one of the go-to tools for Travel Hackers.
Using this new feature of FlightConnections couldn’t be easier.
Let’s say you wanted to see all the available First Class routes available in the world. Simply turn on the Class filter and set it to First Class.
Now if you wanted to see, what First Class routes are available from your city, simply click on your city. Let’s pretend we live in Montreal (YUL). When we click on Montreal on the map, it shows up that there is one direct First Class route available to Zurich (ZRH), Switzerland.
Click on Zurich (ZRH) to complete the route and you’ll be presented with information on the First Class flight with Swiss (LX).
If you click on one of the days of the week, you’ll notice a calendar that is displayed to show you the days of the week that the flights are available. This is especially important because airlines release changes to their schedules all the time and while you could check industry websites like RoutesOnline for this information, it’s much easier to use FlightConnections as your primary source of information and then verify it through a quick Google search.
If you combine this feature with the other filters that are available on FlightConnections, you’ll have a very powerful source to start planning your routings.
As an example, these are all the cities that feature a First Class Cabin within the Star Alliance.
I LOVE FlightConnections and this new feature makes it even more useful for planning your perfect award redemption. I’ll be heavily relying on this site to help me with burning my Alaska Miles for their partner redemptions before they join OneWorld.
If you haven’t used FlightConnections before, I would highly encourage you to try it out. I love it so much that I have a paid subscription that removes ads. You don’t have to go that far but I use it so much that it’s worth it to me.