I have the weird habit of really enjoying Business class flights while not wanting to spend all of my money on flight tickets.

As of now, I have always been using Google Flights or ITA Matrix to search for Business class connections from my hometown to an airport close to my destination, and then book a cheap economy carrier to my destination, or book a cheap economy carrier to a close country in Europe and then take a business class flight to my destination.

For example:

Case 1:

ZRH (Zürich, Switzerland) -> PTY (Panama City, Panama) in Business.

PTY -> BOG (Bogota, Colombia) in Economy.

Case 2:

ZRH (Zürich, Switzerland) -> PRG (Prague, Czech Republic) in Economy.

PRG -> HND (Tokyo, Japan) in Business.

Is there any search engine that lets you search for this kind of combinations without entering manually all the stopover possibilities?


I don't think it's a duplicate, because the linked question is asking for flight options in premium economy when possible, economy when not. I am specifically asking for the possibility to define business for the longer leg, and eco for the shorter, whilst not having to search every stopover destination by hand.

  • I remember Kayak giving you the option of selecting the class of travel individually for each flight leg. Though the search results that came from it still showed once class for all.
    – crayarikar
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:21
  • Thanks, that is a nice feature. I tried it out just now. Unfortunately you still have to search for every possible stopover airport. I'm looking for a search engine, where you could search like this: i want the longer leg in business and the shorter in economy Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:25
  • 2
    I actually don't think tickets are sold that way, unless there is a lack of availability in the higher class. For instance, I flew FRA-DEL-BOM with the first leg in business and the next one in economy. Another option could be to book all your flights in economy and using the airline's upgrade option to change a specific leg to business class.
    – crayarikar
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:28
  • 2
    However, I feel that depending on the route, that might end up being more expensive than flying in business for the whole route. Also, assuming that your country is Switzerland, SWISS does have some very competitive business class prices for both longhaul and shorthaul flights out of GVA and ZRH.
    – crayarikar
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:36
  • 2
    It is nearly always more expensive to switch class than to fly business all the way. Our booking system runs every time into deadlocks because I am not allowed to fly business for the shorter segments, and also not allowed to take a more expensive (mixed-class) flight, which leads to contradictions, so it goes in endless circles.
    – Aganju
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 12:29

1 Answer 1


There is no easy way to do it. Still, ITA Matrix has very powerful fare search tools that will reduce, though not eliminate, your legwork.

Specifically, as noted under the Faring tab of the help for what are now called extension codes, you have routing language options for specifying a cabin:

SYNTAX                  EXAMPLE     MEANING
+CABIN code1 code2 ...  +CABIN 1    Require booking in the specified cabin classes.
-CABIN code1 code2 ...  -CABIN 3    Prohibit booking in the specified cabin classes.

So, for example, I can set up a search from GVA to SYD via DXB and specify economy on the first leg and premium on the second leg as such:

ITA Matrix form for mixed class itinerary search

And I do get plenty of results:

Results from ITA Matrix mixed class itinerary search

Now, as commenters predicted, this itinerary is actually more expensive than simply booking business class all the way through. The all-Emirates, all I-fare GVA-DXB-SYD is only 3808 CHF, is much shorter (especially by avoiding an extremely out-of-the-way connection at ICN), and would be on an airline many people would prefer to the others.

The principal downside, as you know, is that you would need to re-run this search for every single possible transfer airport, of which there are at least a dozen options, though the choice of connection correlates with the airlines you prefer; no need to check VIE if you don't care for Austrian, for example. And then, once you've finally settled on a reasonable itinerary, you can't book it directly. An airline agent might not be willing or able to find the partner flights, in which case you'd need a travel agent.

If you really like the hunt, though, don't let me stop you. You can search not only by cabin, but by fare class, and indeed even by individual fare basis codes. These codes are all explained on the "Faring" tab of the help.

SYNTAX                  EXAMPLE     MEANING
F BC=code               F bc=y      Use fares with the specified prime booking code. Note: the actual booking class used may be different due to being overridden by the carrier's booking code exception table.
F BC=code|BC=code|...   F bc=y|bc=b Specify that fares use one of several prime booking codes (e.g. book in either Y or B class). See the note on the above item.
  • I actually did not now about the extension codes and will immediately try them. I do like the hunt, so this will help me a lot. Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 5:34

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