'I've found an airline hack that can save you 60 per cent on flights (and get you an upgrade).'

Every time I take a flight, regardless of the fact that my chances are slim-to-none, I make a silent wish that I’ll be upgraded. In this, I know I am not alone.

It's the fervent hope of plastic fork traveller with silverware taste: that you'll luck into a full flight where they’re forced to invite you beyond the curtain to the land of plenty: a fully-reclining seat, an edible meal and a higher likelihood that a living breathing Hemsworth might be seated next to you. 

Of course, these days, random upgrades are nearly unheard of. No matter how sweetly you smile at the check-in assistant, how nicely you dress for the airport or how much good karma you've built up through letting people cut in front of you in traffic on the drive in.

But, thanks to the handy detective work of members of the online 'flight hacking' community, another option has emerged.

Travellers are discovering that fares to Europe and America departing from Asian cities — notably Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta — are often thousands of dollars cheaper than their Australian equivalent. 

Recently, a member of the Flight Hacks Australia Facebook group posted the following screenshot:

Image: Supplied.

A business class flight from Sydney to LA with Qantas came in at $17,154. On the same day, with the same airline, a business class flight to LA leaving from Jakarta was just $6,041.


And yes, before you say it — I know that Jakarta is a fair way away from Sydney. But you can get away with an economy flight from Sydney to Jakarta for about $900 return — or, as many group members suggest, upgrade that leg using points, meaning that this hack could save you $10,000 on your trip. 

Another member, Paul, recently flew business class from Melbourne to Amsterdam for $4,000 return, using his knowledge of the workaround. 

"From Melbourne to Bangkok we flew 'bogan business' on Jetstar," he says, "It's really equivalent to premium economy, but comfortable. Because I booked nine months out, we got a special at $1,200 return pp."

From Bangkok to Amsterdam, Paul booked business return tickets on Qatar Airlines, which he believes offers "the world's best business class" for only $2,900 return. 

Watch: Horoscopes at the airport. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

"All in all, it was a bargain I think," he continues, adding "I've heard Jakarta is one the the cheapest cities to fly from, but I'm yet to try it myself."

Part of the reason for the price disparity, says Paul, is because of the pricing strategies many airlines use.

"Airlines base their prices in each country by taking into account that country’s average annual wage, inflation rate and affordability to the residents of that country," he explains, "hence the reason places like Jakarta and Bangkok have such cheap fares, but those fares are dearer in Singapore and Australia."

"It comes down to supply and demand," agrees Immanuel Debeer, founder and editor of, (which features a fantastic resource for those looking to dip their toe in the world of travel hacking). "There are a few cities in Asia where airlines offer substantially cheaper business class airfares compared to Australia."

But what about economy flights? Are the same equivalent savings available flying cattle class out of Asia? 

Sadly, says Immanuel, no. 

"It wouldn’t be a saving to first position in Asia."

That said, Immanuel just got off a business class flight from Perth to Amsterdam which only cost him $3,200, plus 45k points. 

Image: Supplied.

"My flight cost $3,200 departing from Bangkok to Amsterdam, with a stop in Helsinki," he says. "It's possible to find flights much cheaper, but I’m a big fan of the new Finnair A350, which has the best seats in my opinion!"


To get to Bangkok, Immanuel redeemed 45k points to fly business with Thai Airways direct from Perth.

And while the cost of living crisis might mean that now isn’t the most ideal time in history to splurge on your first business class ticket to Europe, flight hackers are regularly finding deals for under $3,000, using a little creative legwork. 

So whether you book that trip to Puglia you've been obsessing over since 2020, or keep this hack up your sleeve for next time funds allow it, that upgrade wish might not be as far-fetched as you once believed it to be.

Feature Image: Canva.

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