The holy grail of air travel is getting that elusive free upgrade to business. Here are the top insider tips on how to get bumped up a class. You're welcome.
So you’ve booked your cheap flights, packed your bags and are ready to endure the long journey ahead in your comfortable pants and hoodie. Yet, there’s a better way to fly, friends, and it’s called business class. Remember that every flight is an opportunity to maybe – just maybe – get a free upgrade to a premium seat. So before you head to the airport, take a minute to read these insider tips on how to maximise your chance of flying in style.
Make sure you’ve got frequent flyer or rewards membership for any airlines you’re flying with. If there are any free upgrades going, an agent is far more likely to give it to a loyal customer than to someone with no relationship to the airline. Plus, if you know how to get cheap flights and fly often enough, you may even accrue enough points to earn an upgrade anyway.
Get elastic on your timings
As they say, timing is everything! This can work with you or against you in the flight upgrade department. People in the know say you should either get to the airport super early or super late.
Why? If you’re early, you might be first in line for any empty seats in primo class. Or if you’re late, Economy might be full, and the airline will be obliged to move you up to the next class—flights are routinely over-booked because often, passengers just don’t show up.
Either way, you’ll need to make sure you haven’t selected a seat. Coming late is a risky game though, especially if there’s a chance you’ll miss check-in entirely, get the middle seat in the middle section or, even worse, get bumped from the flight altogether and have to wait for the next one.
Lose the elastic on your clothes
Yep, we love our stretchy pants, but a keen-eyed airline worker won’t be putting you in business if you don’t look the part. This might mean wearing a full-on business suit or simply turning up in white linen, a la rich people’s holiday attire, but it’ll be worth it if someone notes your awesome style and rewards your aesthetic prowess.
If it doesn’t work, you can always carry Plan B in your hand luggage and change after getting through security.
Airline made a mistake? Upgrades ahoy!
If you’ve been mishandled because of an airline’s incompetence, don’t hesitate to demand an upgrade. Be firm, and explain that you’re really, really unhappy with the service provided. Airlines work on tight margins and face lots of competition—unhappy customers can make for very bad PR. The best way to soothe an angry customer? First class treatment. Best to save this one for true disasters, though.
Bring a sob story
What’s a little emotional manipulation between friends? When it comes to getting welcomed into business or first class, your sad tale of woe might just bring out the sympathetic side of the airline agent—that, or they’ll want to make sure you’re kept as separate from as many customers as possible.
So if you’re having a rough time and don’t mind sharing, let them know. Unless you’re a really good actor, only use this particular tactic for when it’s actually true—because they’ve heard it all.
Turn on the charm
Be friendly and complimentary to the staff, flash those pearly-whites, engage in some chit-chat. If you have an opportunity to be nice and to help people out (like moving seats so a couple can sit together), take it—you never know what karma might have in store for you. Just be pleasant and respectful: airline staff are often on the receiving end of stressed out customers. Moved into first because you’re a nice human? Now that’s how to get upgraded!
Offer to pay
The question of whether or not to just ask for an upgrade is a divisive one, but a middle route might simply be to enquire what the cost of an upgrade might be. If the flight isn’t very full you might be able to bag an upgrade for a massive discount. Who knows, the agent might pull some strings and offer it to you anyway.
Keen to put your upgrade skills to the test? Have a look here now! You’ll feel like a winner when you book flights to these amazing destinations at rock bottom prices!