13 January 2017
It is notoriously difficult to get an upgrade in these times of ticket automation, but if you are going to get the edge, try these following suggestions. Who knows? Maybe you will be in the right place at the right time and be offered that golden upgrade to business or even first.
Not just your normal early. If you arrive several hours early you may be able to snag any unreserved first class seats for free. Have a backup activity like a good book or films on your tablet so that your time isn’t ultimately wasted, and pack food and drinks so you are not spending the ticket difference in Starbucks while you are waiting.
Aim for school holidays to beach destinations during peak time, preferably when there is a bank holiday in summer. At times like these all the economy seats fill up and business travellers will be scarce so you are more likely to get an upgrade if you volunteer for one. If the flight is overbooked with families, then the odds are in your favour. Check the seating plan on your plane before you book on websites like SeatGuru and SeatExpert, and try to get on a flight with the most business seats to improve your chances.
You are much more likely to get a first class seats if you look super smart. We’re talking about business formal or as close as you can get. A big smile, good hygiene and looking sharp can get you places…comfy places.
If an airline has caused you problems, it may be reason to grant you an upgrade. This may be an easy way for them to apologise for a service issue that could cause them bigger problems if you pursue it.
They are more likely to fit you into a premium seat if you are flying solo. It’s unlikely you will succeed if you are trying to get an upgrade for a family of four.
If you sign up for the frequent flyer program or have a loyalty card with the airline, you will be at the top of their list should an upgrade be warranted. Also, discounted tickets tend to discount you from the upgrade list, obviously they prefer passengers who have paid more for their ticket and their baggage allowance.
If you are very tall, on your honeymoon, pregnant, celebrating something special, you may get the sympathy vote. That combined with being polite, asking without demanding, good hygiene and dressing smartly, could get you an upgrade.
Again loyalty pays off. If you have collected the right number of points, why not use them for an upgrade on a long-haul flight?
If you are sitting with a separated family that is going to have seating issues or someone is already in your seat, make it known to the cabin crew that you would volunteer to move. If economy is full you will get upgraded, but at the very least you will be in line for special treatment.
Sometimes when flights are full, you may be able to volunteer to be bumped to the next flight, and if this inconvenience happens, now is the time to try your luck and see if an upgrade is available on the next flight. If they say yes but at a price, by all means try to playfully negotiate the price down based on your goodwill in changing flights. In some instances you may get it free.
If you follow the above advice, you will have a greater chance of getting upgraded. Turn on polite mode as soon as you enter the airport, everyone is watching and they know fake charm upgrade seeking when they see it. May the upgrade be forever in your favour.
Obtain comprehensive travel insurance before you go to be covered from the day you purchase. Travel safe!