Flying business class internationally is (almost) affordable now

Pampered you must be.
Pampered you must be.
Image: Reuters/Edgar Su
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The plunge in fuel prices is finally showing up at the front of the airplane.

Business class airfares have dropped sharply this year. Now on some routes, you can live the good life, amenity kits and all, for less than the price of your average Manhattan studio apartment rental.

The median roundtrip airfare from New York to London fetched $2,006 in the first eight months of 2016, down 37% from the same period last year, according to data from travel search website Kayak. Median roundtrip airfare from Miami to Tokyo went for $3,513, down 18% from the first eight months of 2015.

Airlines are under pressure to keep fares competitive so the high-margin business- and first-class cabins are full.

New competitors have entered the international market as well. On Aug. 26, JetSmarter, a private jet sharing company, launched its first weekly scheduled service between New York and London exclusively for members of the $10,000-a-year service, which includes unlimited flights on other scheduled routes that are solely within either the US, Europe or the Middle East . The once-a-week flight from White Plains, New York, to London’s Luton Airport costs an additional $1,990 each way for service on a Gulfstream GIV-SP or Bombardier Global Express.

Meanwhile, airlines have been making it harder to earn miles. Several carriers recently began rewarding passengers not on how far they fly but how much they spend on their seat. Since your chances of earning enough miles have become as slim as your seat in coach, it may be a good time for a splurge, if you have an extra month’s rent to burn. Who doesn’t?