How to get an upgrade
Blagging a free upgrade is every traveller’s dream, but it’s not easy to get one. Moneywise TV reveals the tricks to pull to increase your chances.
Blagging a free upgrade is every traveller's dream, but it's not easy to get one.
There are a few tricks you can pull to increase your chances. There's no guarantee of course, but it's worth giving them a go.
First of all, use your connections ruthlessly. If you know someone that works for an airline, make a friendly enquiry to see whether they can help you out.
Looking the part is also crucial. A scruffy hoodie and a battered rucksack are unlikely to fit the bill – airline staff will typically only upgrade smart passengers who won't look out of place in business or first class.
Don't forget to switch on the charm. Being nice to the ground staff and the cabin crew might sound obvious, but it can go a long way towards making you bagging a bigger seat.
Whatever you do, though, don't ask outright for an upgrade as airline staff are asked this all the time and get fed up with it.
If you've got a dodgy knee or are scared of flying, ask for a bulkhead seat at the front of economy – they have more legroom and there's less turbulence at the front. If you're lucky the seats might already be taken and you'll bumped up.
Most upgrades go to people travelling on their own, but if you're travelling with someone else who is holding a higher-class ticket than you asking to sit together may reap rewards.
If you're travelling for a special occasion – for example, your honeymoon – you're more likely to be upgraded. Casually drop your new status into conversation, and the check-in staff may help out if they can.
The best ways to get the letters SFU - that, is Suitable For Upgrade - next to your name on the passenger list is to become a member of the airline's frequent flyer scheme. The higher the rating you have as a member, the higher the chance of you being rewarded with an upgrade
What time you check in could also affect your chances, but it's pot luck really. Checking in early could help as staff are likely to move people early to avoid operational issues on the day. However, checking in late could be a better move if you're booked on a particularly busy flight - if there are no economy seats left, staff may be forced to upgrade you.
The crucial thing to remember when it comes to free upgrades is there are no hard and fast rules – don't ever expect it and if you are upgraded, simply view it as an unexpected bonus.