8 Ways To Get An Upgrade On A Flight

First class, up in the sky.


29 November 2018

Article heading image for 8 Ways To Get An Upgrade On A Flight

Getting an upgrade on a flight is the not-so-secret desire of every traveller.

But how can you score that elusive free upgrade to business or first class? While this is generally a closely guarded industry secret, these tips may help to make it happen for you. 

Travel Alone

You and your group of friends are probably not going to get upgraded together. Seats are limited, and upgrades usually go to solo travellers. 

Be High Up In A Frequent Flyer Program

The people most likely to get a free upgrade offered to them are those with VIP status in an airline’s loyalty program. This is usually people who travel regularly for business and tend to fly with the same airline all the time, so that one flight you did last year from Sydney to Melbourne probably won’t make a difference to your status.

Be Really Polite When You Check In

Sometimes asking politely at check in is all you need to do. “Is there any chance of an upgrade?” is all you need to say… but remember you’ll probably get turned down. They might also offer to upgrade you for a fee, so be prepared for that.

Get There Early

The early bird gets the worm! Arriving several hours before your flight may give the above question a higher rate of success, because no one else has had the chance to ask it before you.

Fly At Weird Times

Flying late at night, early in the morning or during the off-season may land you on a nearly empty plane. With more spare seats you could find that asking politely actually gets you somewhere!

Dress Like You’re Already A VIP

Your best activewear probably isn’t going to cut it in the upgrade stakes. If you’re dressed in a suit or similar business attire you may find it slightly easier to score that upgrade.

Use Points To Upgrade

Not technically free, but for many of us this is the only way it’s ever going to happen. If you’ve accumulated enough points in an airline loyalty program you may be able to use those to go up a class on your next flight, either straight after paying for your ticket or a few days before you fly. You can usually check this online, and timing varies between airlines.

Pay For An Upgrade

There’s also the possibility of paying a small to medium sized fee to upgrade your seat. Sometimes airlines will email passengers in the days leading up to a flight offering the chance to upgrade, so if you think the price is worth it then make sure to watch your inbox. 

And remember, if none of these work there’s no need for a tantrum. Better luck next time!

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