How to Get a Free Upgrade When You Fly

Looking to get an airline upgrade? Here’s how! Long haul flights can be an arduous experience if you’re stuck down in economy, and those comfy, spacious seats in first class can look pretty tantalising. So how do you score a free upgrade? It might not be as impossible as you think - here our top tips on how you can improve your chances, next time you fly...

It helps to have a good reason
If you’ve got a special reason to request being upgraded – such as a honeymoon, anniversary or birthday, this will often boost your chances. Alternatively, if you’ve been exceptionally unlucky with your original seat – a broken seat, entertainment system or any other misfortune might give you a legitimate reason to request an upgrade.

Be polite – and ask
Don’t be afraid to ask, but do it with charm. Being rude, demanding or aggressive will not be likely to persuade anyone to give you an upgrade. While a request is not always guaranteed to work, being friendly and polite will work better in your favour.

First, dress the part
Styling yourself for a flight is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re going away, but a little extra effort can make a big impact on the flight attendant. Cargo shorts, velour tracksuits or torn jeans will not incline them to boost you to first class – instead, go for a relaxed but elegant look. For women, natural make up, sleek hair and a long, smart dress give comfort and refinement, while for guys, smart shoes and a blazer are perfect or making the right impression.

Arrive early
Arriving in good time before the flight means you might just get the chance to grab the occasional upgrade place before it goes. Of course the downside of it means that if it doesn’t work, you’ve got a long wait ahead of you – but it’s definitely work a shot.

Be savvy
It pays to choose your flights carefully if you’re looking to get an upgrade. Many flight routes will have periods when economy classes are full, while first is left empty – for example, during busy flights during school holiday seasons with a large number of families travelling, you’re more likely to get an upgrade than a weekday morning flight packed with business travellers.

Show loyalty
If you’re a frequent flyer, show it. Sign up for loyalty programmes with your favourite airlines – they will often have special offers and promotions available to favourite customers. Talk to the airline staff about how much you love flying with them, where you’ve been and how many miles you’ve accrued. Work on making a lasting positive impression, so that if they are looking to upgrade anyone you should be the first to come to mind.

Have friends in high places
Last but not least, having a friend in the right place can do wonders too. From PR staff for travel agents to airline staff with an inside scoop, a good word or two for you behind the scenes might be just what you need to get that prize seat up in First.


Once you have planned your trip, make sure you don’t make these travel mistakes!

 

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