It’s the question on every travellers’ lips, how to get a free flight upgrade?
Everyone dreams of flying in First Class or Business Class at least once in their life, but for most purchasing one of these tickets is beyond reality. Travelling from Australia to England in First Class can cost in excess of $10,000. I mean who has that kind of change lying around?!
Luckily there are a few travel hacks you can use to increase your chances of realising your dream and getting a free upgrade to Business or First.
“Getting yourself a flight upgrade is actually much easier than you may think!”We have used many of these hacks ourselves and I can tell you personally they do actually work quite often if you apply yourself.
So here are 10 ways that have been tried and tested that will (fingers crossed) get you the elusive free flight upgrade!
#1 Loyalty is Paramount
Being part of a frequent flyer program of an airline is often all it will take when a free seat pops up in business class.
Think about if you owned a book shop and a rare book become available, you wouldn’t sell it to the person who comes in once every now and again, you would offer it to your loyal customer that always buys your products.
#2 Apply for an Upgrade Using Points
Now that you’re all in a frequent flyer program and you’ve banked up a lot of points, don’t spend them all on purchasing a business or first class seat.
Instead, book an economy seat, pay for it with cash and then apply for an upgrade using your points.
Yes, you do run the risk of the flight being full and having to sit in economy, but if you do manage the upgrade it more than halves the cost of the flight and you will use significantly less points than if you booked the seat using only your points.
#3 Look the Part
It is widely known that if you come to the gate in a singlet, cargo shorts and thongs you won’t be getting let into business or first class.
You don’t have to dress for a business meeting, but look smart and sharp and your chances will greatly improve.
#4 Get in Early or Very Late
Arriving early at the check in gate can sometimes get you bumped up, even if it’s just the emergency isle. If you arrive to a huge line of passengers waiting to check in your chances of a flight upgrade are slim.
On the flip side, waiting until the last minute without having previously selecting your seat can sometimes mean the check in staff struggle to find a place for you… Hello upgrade!
#5 You Can Only Ask
So you look the part, you’re there on time and you’re feeling lucky, just flash a smile, be polite and ask directly if there are any upgrades going on the flight, it never hurts to ask.
What is the worst that can happen? They can only say no right? And if they do say no, you are in the same position as you before if you did not ask. Simply using your charm and asking for an upgrade at the gate is one of the most common ways flyers get an upgrade.
#6 Be Honest
If it’s your honeymoon, anniversary, birthday, you had a rough time getting to the airport or even if you broke your leg a few months ago, mention it! You could very well win some brownie points with the check in crew and they may bump you up the list as a little treat.
There are stories littered all over the internet of people using a milestone in their life to try and turn on the charm and get an upgrade. Chances are there is someone you know at work, or a friend of a friend has got a flight upgrade this way. It is well worth trying.
#7 Be a Loner
Travelling alone really boosts your chances of an upgrade as it always easier to slot one person in that empty seat rather than finding two vacant seats together.
I have personally gotten all my flight upgrades when travelling alone. There are only a limited number of seats in Business or First, so by travelling alone you really do increase your chances of getting that upgrade.
#8 Days of the Week
If you choose to fly on a Monday morning, odds are that all the upgrades will be given to the frequent business travellers who know the staff well, however if you fly say mid-week in the afternoon, the chances start to swing in your favour, so if you can, time your flight well.
Also we recommend that you try and travel at quiet times. For example if you book a flight on public holidays or at a time when there are big events on, you increase the chances of being upgraded as there is left competition for seats.
#9 The Cheeky Gift
If all else fails, you can always resort to bribery. When checking in you may find that you have a box of chocolates or a bottle of champagne that is just “too heavy to carry” so you gift it to the check in staff,.
We have actually heard of this working but it will all depend on the attitude of the staff on the day. Good luck fellow travellers, see you all in First Class!
#10 It’s About Who You Know
We have all heard the old adage it’s not what you know, but who you know. Well that can be the case too with flight upgrades if you know somebody who works for the airline or if a friend or family member is a pilot, for example.
Sure, this rules out a large majority of you who are reading this. But hey, if you know someone who works for the airline or airport, it is well worth using their privileges to try and get an upgrade.