There are not that many people who would turn down the coveted free bump up to a business or first class flight, which is precisely why it’s so hard to get.
However, there are some tips and tricks that can increase the likelihood of you being offered an upgrade to either a business class flight, or even the much sought-after first class travel.
Read our 10 tips below, get packing, and get ready to turn left.
- Be Loyal to One Airline:
While concentrating on the frequent flier loyalty program of one airline is a good idea for the sake of attempting to secure an upgrade to a better seat, realize that your chances are still low — depending on the flight; the polices of the airline; and the time of day or year as several of many factors.
- Dress well:
While being dressed to impress doesn’t guarantee a seat upgrade, it will improve your odds against the guy who showed up in Bermuda shorts, flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt unbuttoned to his navel.
- Be polite:
Being punctual, if not early, to the gate will mean the agents won’t be swamped with people checking in and might have more time to listen to your request. Make sure to say “please” and “thank you,” and be reasonable about your request (if you’re traveling with your family of eight including 2-year-old twins getting that upgrade will be a shot in the dark).
- Look for sales:
When you’re searching for flights, keep your eye out for business-class sales, which can sometimes land you seats for the same or less than people on the same flight flying in coach. This might require more fare-searching homework than you’re used to, but it could have excellent pay-offs.
- Use a Travel Rewards Card:
For better or for worse, always eschewed credit cards which offer frequent flier loyalty program miles, as you would rather have a credit card which offers me cash back for your purchases.
- Don’t ask to be upgraded:
One thing you shouldn’t do is ask directly for an upgrade when you’re checking in. Airline staff know you want a free upgrade – who wouldn’t? – so asking as you’re checking in your bags won’t get you far. However, when you’re at the gate, you can ask about “operational upgrades” – upgrades for when economy is full or oversold.
- Fly solo:
This tip is a bit hard unless you always planned to travel alone, but you’re far more likely to get a bump up if you’re flying solo. Families of four, or even couples are harder to seat, but if it’s just you, then they can fit you anywhere.
- Travel during peak times:
If the flight has fewer passengers, chances are no one will be moved up. Airlines are more likely to upgrade people to make room on flights they oversell.
- If you have a title, use it:
It is noticed that judges, ministers and sometimes doctors are more likely to get upgrades. By all means, if you have a title, put it on your reservation.
- Let flight attendants know if it’s a special occasion:
If it’s your birthday, anniversary, or honeymoon, let the flight attendants know. And if you don’t get an upgrade, you just might get a free drink.
To repeat what has already been said to conclude this article, upgrades have generally become more difficult for most airline passengers; but you do have a better chance of getting an upgrade if you have achieved the highest tier of elite status.