10 Tips For Getting First Class Upgrades
Which ever way you look at it, traveling to Europe from the US is a long ol’ journey, and in a perfect world we could all do it first class. So take a look at our top 10 tips for getting first class upgrades.
I’m sure that extra leg room, seats that fold down into beds, complementary food and drink on tap and a whole host of other little extras make arriving in Europe more of a pleasure than a chore.
However, flying first class cost money. Plenty of money. And unless you’re last name is Trump, or someone else is footing the bill, it’s just a fact of life that economy makes more sense.
But does this mean that first class is always going to be out of your reach. A place of mystery and dreams? Well, perhaps not thanks to the elusive upgrade. The upgrade raises us mere mortals to the ranks of first class beau monde.
But how do you get an upgrade? Here’s the advice of an airline employee of 15 years’ experience…
1. Frequent flyer clubs
You can join as many frequent flyer clubs as you wish, and as a member you’re going to be that little bit higher in the queue when it comes to deciding who should get upgraded.
2. Fly busy routes
One of the main reasons that people get upgraded is simply because the economy section is too full and their are spare seats in business or first class. Unfortunately benefiting from this is going to be more about luck than judgement, because everything is too busy you might even get bumped to a later flight if unlucky.
3. Dress to Impress
If you’re hoping to get upgraded to business or first class then it pays to look like you belong. Taking business clothes on your vacation may seem like an extra hassle, but if you really want to try and bag that extra leg room then it could be worth it.
4. Travel alone
Spare seats in first class can be few and far between, so if you’re in a group the chances of you being picked are slim to none. And if you’re with children then you’re chances are none to zero.
5. Always move when asked
The cabin crew may not wish to advertize the fact that you’re getting upgraded to the rest of the cabin, and so may discreetly ask you if you would like to move seats, without indicating you’re final comfortable destination. Don’t refuse just because you already think you have a good seat, you might miss out.
6. Be nice
Airline staff have to deal with hundreds of people everyday, and it can be very stressful. This means that if you show any amount of kindness or helpfulness it is most likely to be very well appreciated, and will make you stand out a bit more from the crowd.
7. Be early
The idea that check in wait until the last moment to see if the flight is overbooked and then start to pick the late comers for upgrades is a myth. Instead, get their early and make your inquiry about the possibility of an upgrade. This will then put you into consideration (assuming you’re following the other tips too).
8. Share past experiences
If you’ve flown with the airline before and been inconvenienced then let the staff know. But don’t make a scene about it, just calmly and politely explain what happened.
9. Use the right card
Some credit cards have a redeemable miles program that works with a number of airlines, so check your credit cards to see if this is the case.
10. Ask about upgrade fairs
When you book your tickets you may have the option to pay a small upgrade fair. These don’t automatically mean you’ll be upgraded, but will increases your chances of being upgraded if it becomes available. You will pay a little extra on your ticket price for this upgrade, but nothing like the cost of a full first class ticket.
So, upgrades do exist, and there is no real science to how you get one. It is always a mixture of circumstances on the day. However, if you goal is to bag an upgrade then you should at least try to follow some of the tips above to put yourself in the best position possible.
Oh, and while we’re at it, here’s a few things you shouldn’t do…
…Slip the flight attendant a $20; complain about your seat; make up an illness; claim you or a family or friend work for the airline… well, I’m sure you get the idea!