Everyone that’s taken a long haul flight has at some point wished to be given a free upgrade, or maybe you’ve just taken a fair few short-haul flights and wished that just one time the air hostess would beckon you to the front into business class. Either way, if you’ve been passed over for an upgrade you know how frustrating it can be – so what is the best way to get an upgrade? Is it really best to ask outright for one or just wait for it to be offered? Asking can’t really hurt, however, it can make you seem overbearing and expectant, there are other ways to make it more likely that the airline will say yes if you request a free upgrade, or even offer you one without you asking. These are outlined below:
Use your title
Whether you’re a doctor, a judge or a diplomat, or maybe just a minor celebrity, using your title might just get you an upgrade. This has become less common in the last few years; however letting the airline know that you hold a title (okay, if you’re a diplomat you’re probably going to be travelling first class anyway) may put you in the running for an upgrade. If it’s on your passport then that’s great but letting the airline know ahead of time that you hold a title will put you in the front-running.
Check in really early or really last minute
It’s risky. Check in early and don’t get offered it and you have to kill time in the airport; check in last minute and miss the flight and you’ll be kicking yourself for being greedy. However; if you check in first and there are upgrades available on the flight they may offer you the upgrades as you’re the first to arrive. If the flight is overbooked and you’re late but there’s room in business class or above then they might let you on there for the same price. However, this only works if you haven’t reserved your seat in economy class on the flight already.
Choose your flights carefully
If you’re serious about trying to get a free upgrade then research your flight carefully. if you’re on a busy commuter flight at rush hour times the chances of you being given a space in business class are fairly low as in all likelihood they will be full. During school holidays economy class on flights to standard holiday locations are usually full but business class is fairly empty; if you’re travelling on these flights and you’re looking for an upgrade; there’s more of a chance you might get one.
First class behaviour
So you arrive at the airport dressed as if you’ve just rolled out of bed (admittedly it might be 4 in the morning, but still…) If you’re looking for that upgrade then you need to look and act the part. If you look like you’re used to sitting in first class with the rest of them then you’re more likely to be considered for it; if you look like you’re not really bothered then airline staff will assume you’re not and might not even ask.
The old fashioned way
If you know someone who works for the airline then this is probably the most surefire way to get yourself an upgrade. A lot of airline staff have the opportunity to put family or friends on to flyer lists which means that they can buy tickets for business and first class at a knockdown price. Even if you’re not on their list, if you can persuade them to put a good word in for you then you might find yourself on the upgrade list just by who you know.
By Damilola Faustino