Dreaming of flying lavishly on a first or business class flight without having to pay the hefty price tag? Being nice and doing a little flirting with the cabin crew are some ways to score an upgrade on your flight. However, if these don’t work for you, Skyscanner has a few more handy travel hacks and industry insider tips that will help you bump up to first or business class. Read all about them below.
Table of Contents
- Ask and say “please” and “thank you”
- Take advantage of loyalty points
- Dress to impress
- Avoid peak seasons
- Share your flight issues
- Get an upgrade for good reason
- Inform them about special occasions
- Enjoy flying solo
- Timing is everything
- Consider flight upgrade auctions
- Stay informed
- Don’t let delays get the best of you
Ask and say “please” and “thank you”
Sometimes, a smile and a positive attitude can go a long way. Simply ask the airline’s agent to be considered or listed if flight upgrades are being granted for your trip. While it seems a pretty simple trick, a friendly approach can do wonders for almost everything in life, including air travel. Just don’t forget to say the magic words, “please” and “thank you”, and top it with a friendly and genuine smile.
Take advantage of loyalty points
Joining an airline’s frequent flyer is a sure-fire way to score flight upgrades for your future trips. Remember, airline companies reward loyalty points and the first cluster of free flight upgrades will most definitely go to their loyal frequent flyers.
Dress to impress
Trust us, you have a better chance of scoring a flight upgrade if you look sleek and are smartly dressed. So, ditch the flip-flops and torn shorts to get a free flight upgrade on your next adventure!
Avoid peak seasons
Business travelers, for the most part, are members of an elite frequent flyer program, meaning it will be hard to score free flight upgrades whenever there are tons of them around. That’s why you should book a flight when there are fewer business travelers, like holidays, weekends or mid-days. Getting cheap flights is also highly probable on seasons like this so watch out.
Dealing with a seat that doesn’t recline or having a hard time eating with a dodgy tray? Stuck with a television or entertainment system that’s not working? Make sure to alert the staff and share your flight issues with them nicely. Who knows? Maybe you’d end up moving from the cheap economy seat into the first class cabin.
Get an upgrade for good reason
Are you pregnant or exceptionally tall? Got some back problems? There’s no harm in asking, and offering a good reason like the ones mentioned will absolutely improve your chances of getting a flight upgrade for free.
Inform them about special occasions
Flying to commemorate a special event? Whether it’s your honeymoon, anniversary, or birthday, do inform the attendants that you’re celebrating an occasion. And, if ever you don’t get a flight upgrade, you might at least get a drink on the house.
Enjoy flying solo
Traveling alone? Guess what? Solo flyers have a better chance of nagging a free flight upgrade than those who travel in groups. Let’s face it, barkadas or families with over three guests, or even couples, are harder to seat as compared to solo flyers. When you’re flying alone, the flight crew can practically fit you anywhere in the first or business class cabin. And besides, business class passengers don’t want to sit next to a bunch of students taking advantage of free booze or a toddler who screams endlessly.
Timing is everything
Be late or early on your flight as they both have perks. If you’re early for your trip, you may be one of the first lucky passengers to get an upgraded seat. On the other hand, you can also be bumped up to first or business class if you’re late and your flight class has been overbooked. Of course, being late has some potential downsides as well such as missing your flight or being bumped to the next flight since the original one is already full.
Consider flight upgrade auctions
Technically, this option isn’t free, but nevertheless it increases your odds of getting a flight upgrade without spending a fortune. Nowadays, a lot of major airlines like Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, and Qantas allow its guests to bid seats in premium classes. You’ll have to nominate how much you’re willing to pay and if you’re the highest bidder when the auction ends, you’ll get that premium seat.
We get it – it’s really easy to ignore emails from airline companies and assume that they are just spam. But, in some instances, airline companies send out loyalty point bonuses or vouchers that can make you eligible for a flight upgrade. If you have an upcoming flight, check your emails thoroughly. There might be a free flight upgrade hidden in those footnotes.
Don’t let delays get the best of you
Everyone hates delays! But oftentimes, a delayed flight can be your ticket to a seat upgrade or even more. As a matter of fact, there are some who even got free tasty meals and accommodations at luxurious 5-star hotels because of delayed flights. Even though delays are annoying and a hassle, there might be a special treat, amidst the troubles, as long as keep you keep your cool and look at the bright side.
Flying business or first class is always a pleasure, especially if you were able to work your way through it. Be smart and be always on the lookout before boarding that plane. Amazing perks may just be on the corner!
This article first appeared on Skyscanner’s How to Get a Flight Upgrade Without Paying Extra
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Venus is the Head of Editorial Content at Moneymax, with 15+ years of experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.