If you’re sick of passing through business class on the way to your economy seat, listen up. You might not have the funds to splash out on a first or business-class seat, but there are ways you can get upgraded for free.
- Ask the travel agent when booking
When booking a trip, travellers have direct access to their travel agents – and their desire to meet their sales targets. This is a great time to see what you can wrangle and negotiate.
Sometimes, travel agents are able to throw in travel insurance, extra luggage or transfers, and it’s always worth asking about a free upgrade – especially for a special trip.
- Dress neatly, be polite and get there early
First impressions are everything; particularly when it comes to scoring an upgrade. If others around the upgraded passengers realise they got their seats for a lower price, it will be a recipe for complaints and bad reviews. As a result, the airline staff will only offer upgrades to those who can fit in and be discreet.
- Gauge how busy your flight is
Travellers often think that an empty flight means you can jump to the first class seats more easily, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, if the economy seats are fully booked, and there’s still demand for them, passengers are more likely to be accepted up to the next grade so that more seats can be sold. Let’s be honest; the airline has got more chance selling a cheaper seat on the plane than a first or business class seat.
- Don’t be afraid to ask
The check-in desk presents the ideal opportunity to show your hand; here, you can buddy up with the staff and let them know that you would be interested in an upgrade. Often, busy flights are oversold because airlines always want to allow for a few dropping out or arriving late – essentially, they still want to have a full flight. If everybody turns up, it can create the kind of logistical scenario which might just benefit a few lucky travellers. If passengers make the staff aware that they are interested, they might just be grateful to have the difficult choice made for them.
- Volunteer your seat if it’s needed
On a rare occasion when a busy flight has totally oversold, the airlines might have to reschedule some passengers onto another flight. Inconvenient, yes, but if a passenger is in no rush and happy to volunteer their seat, they will then be given star treatment and could even get an upgrade on the next flight out for being such a Good Samaritan.