Morning came early today, earlier than expected. Typically, I’d be sleeping in after two late(ish) nights out enjoying New Orleans and the Miles to Memories/Award Travel 101/Travel on Point(s) meetup. But I woke up with a bit of gut discomfort and ended up checking Twitter before the sun rose a little after 5:00 AM.

That’s when I noticed a tweet about a $600 Emirates first class fare. Naturally, news of this sort caught my eye. I love the thrill of chasing down crazy tickets like this, even if I don’t pull the trigger on booking them. And with little else to do in the early morning, I started poking around at what others had found and posted in

Emirates First For $600? Really?

The ticket was an odd one. Emirates operates a fifth-freedom flight between Penang, Malaysia and Singapore. The ticket in question had you departing Penang and transiting Dubai, with a return passing through Singapore. Or some similar combinations.

My guess at what happened is the round-trip pricing for the short hop in Southeast Asia was adding a connection in Emirates’ Dubai hub for basically no extra cost. Now instead of a couple hours in Emirates first class, you were flying 15+ in the product. For ~$600. Insane.

I played with an option, getting it to price similarly to what had been discussed. But as I thought about finding better dates and actually pulling the trigger, I had a reality check.

a plane on the runway

Why I Passed The Fare Up

It really came down to being reasonable with myself, plain and simple. I would like to fly Emirates first some day, just to experience it once, but it’s not at the top of my list. I decided to pass because:

  • The fare is still $600+ (and I don’t want to spend $600). If I could use flexible points/miles, it’d be different.
  • I need to not only position, but position with at least one connection to a non-major Asia airport
  • It’d take me ~4 days of travel, minimum, with appropriate positioning time
  • I’d really not get to see anything, as I am not willing to add extra time in Penang (or Singapore)
  • I already have two other solo trips planned this year, and I have a few other trips with family/kids in the works. Our schedule is full.

Another deal will happen. If something like this was available departing SFO, it would have turned my head. But needing to get to Penang and back, just to fly to Dubai and back, sounds like too much craziness. I like to have a solo adventure now and then, but this would be a bit much, and for basically just for the flying.

I flew my first business class error fare last year, and while it was an absolute blast (even in Alitalia’s less-than-stellar business class), positioning myself to make two short trips to Europe out of the deal was exhausting. Spending 40 hours in Barcelona and 48 hours in Helsinki were still worth the trouble.

These Things Die Quickly

I knew that by closing my laptop and trying to sleep again, I was giving it up entirely. These sorts of fares do not last long, and sometimes even after you book, the airline turns around and cancels the tickets.

This was certainly a “thrill of the chase” moment for me. I love searching for cheap or error fares. But given that most require a trek across the world to embark on them, it becomes quite a difficult prospect at times. Crazy deals are cool. But I can’t get in on everything. And I’m totally fine with that.

H/T: Dominicus at Flyertalk Premium Fare Deals