9 Ways To Get A Free Airline Upgrade

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If you aspire to live like an A-lister (or just want to enjoy a long-haul flight rather than dread it) here are a few tips that might get you an upgrade next time you travel.

  1. Be A Loyal Customer – Frequent flyers and those who are members of an airline loyalty scheme are likely to be offered an upgrade if one becomes available.
  2. Choose A Busy Flight – These flights are more likely to have oversold economy class tickets, which means those extra passengers have to be put somewhere – usually business class.
  3. Don’t Buy Discount Tickets – In the interests of fairness, some airlines only offer upgrades to passengers who have paid more for their ticket.

What’s so good about an upgrade?

  • Bigger, fully reclining seats
  • Better quality food and drink
  • No extra charge for food and drink
  • More flight attendants with more experience = better customer service
  • Privacy, and exclusive perks such as a separate airport lounge
  1. Be An (Almost) Important Person – Most flights have an upgrade list for important flyers – VIPs, Journalists and the like, but if you are not one, you could still get on it if you know someone who works at that airline. Ask them if they can put your name forward, if management agrees it, you could be offered an upgrade if one comes up!
  2. Ask in Advance – Most free upgrades are approved at least 24 hours before the flight, leaving requests made at check in or while boarding mostly futile.
  3. Give A Last Minute Request A Go – Despite the above information, some (well, very few) last-minute hopefuls do get lucky so there is no harm in asking! Just make sure you…
  • Ask politely
  • Have a valid reason
  • Are smartly dressed

First Class Vs Business Class

First class has the biggest seats, and these are usually in a well-equipped pod and offer complete privacy. Pods are complete with workstations, TV, entertainment, and privacy dividers. First Class flight attendants are also the best, a bit like having your own butler, plus the quality of the food served will be even higher than the meals served in Business Class. First Class comes with a premium price tag – expect to pay AT LEAST twice the price of business class.

First class travel to New York right now could cost between £3,584 and £5,400 with BA. You could bag a business class seat for around £1,800.

While some airlines keep business class and first class separate, other airlines have merged these two classes into one cabin that has different seats and service quality. Whether they are separate or merged, they are never in the same area as economy class.

  1. Trade In Air Miles – It will take quite a few, but a big bunch of air miles might just help you bag an elusive free upgrade.
  2. Travel Solo – Those travelling alone are definitely at an advantage when it comes to free upgrades, especially if just one or two premium seats become available.
  3. Have A Valid Reason – Things that will go in your favour: being very tall, being heavily pregnant, celebrating a birthday or anniversary, going on a honeymoon. Also, if you have a faulty seat or entertainment system but there are no more spaces in Economy Class you could ask for that elusive upgrade.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! If your flight is cancelled it could help cover the costs of getting to your destination (and home again!) Give our sales team a call on UK(+44) 01892 833338, or get an online quote.