For most people, the chance to fly in first class or even business class is a rare luxury, especially on a longhaul flight, but every now and again there comes the chance of a nice surprise – the upgrade.
Since margins in the aviation industry are tighter than ever, airlines today tend not to upgrade as much as they used to but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
So what’s the best way to go about getting a nicer seat?
Here’s 5 ways that might help your chances.
1. Join frequent flyer programs
Many airlines overbook in economy class on the basis that there are usually a number of no-shows on the day but sometimes however, everyone shows up and the airline will make a number of upgrades to business class (or economy plus). When this happens, the airline will usually select people who hold a high status in terms of flying regularly and if you’ve racked up enough miles on your card then it could be your lucky day.
2. Travel on flights that have a high economy demand
Flights around school holidays to sunny destinations are a good example of this. On these flights there will usually be an oversell on economy seats so there will inevitably be involuntary upgrades into business class (which conversely will most likely be undersold). If you are travelling solo or in a couple then the chances of being upgraded here can be quite good.
3. Dress for the part
Sometimes an airline will select passengers for upgrade at the check-in desk or at the boarding gate and if you’re suitably dressed then you’re in with a chance. If you look like you’re ready for a day at the beach however, then your chances are slim. Even wearing jeans will sometimes eliminate your prospect so it’s best to dress with a smart casual attire at the very least.
4. Offer to switch seats
If you can see that a family or a group that have been split up would benefit from switching seats with you then offer to switch. Not only will you be doing a good deed but the cabin crew may see fit to reward your generosity.
5. Be travelling for an occasion
If it’s your birthday or your anniversary, or even better, your honeymoon then letting the staff at check-in know might better the occasion.
Saving all that, you could just ask – you’d have nothing to lose and you never know, you might get the right person in the right mood on the right day.
Best of luck!