Most small businesses don’t have the budget to splurge on a business-class plane ticket, and while it’s getting harder to win the travel lottery and get a flight upgrade, with these tips, you might be able to enjoy a more luxurious flight – without the hefty price tag!
1. Dress to impress
While it may be tempting to throw on some trackie daks and an old t-shirt to ensure maximum comfort on a flight, it’s not going to do you any favours when you’re angling for an upgrade if you look like you just got out of bed. Dress smartly and look the part; by wearing clothes that belong in business class, there’s more potential you may get an upgrade.
2. Smile and be polite
Airports are chaotic places, full of stressed people who are often looking for someone to take their frustrations out on. Unfortunately, airline staff are usually at the front line of people’s anger, so by remaining calm, polite and friendly, you’ll earn extra brownie points, which could lead to you being at the top of their list for an upgrade.
3. Just ask for an upgrade
What have you got to lose? One of the most basic tips for snagging an upgrade is to simply ask. The worst thing that can happen is you get told no. Some airlines state they refuse anyone who demands an upgrade, so make sure you follow the two points above – be polite and dress well – and you might be lucky enough to get some extra leg room at the emergency exit row, or even into business class. It can’t hurt to try!
4. Say if it’s a special occasion
It’s one thing to ask for an upgrade, but it’s better still to give a reason. Nothing says upgrade like the phrase ‘it’s our honeymoon’! By giving a reason for wanting an upgrade, like a special occasion you’re celebrating, airline staff are more likely to be more accommodating. At the very least, you might score a free meal or glass of bubbles. Of course, they’ve heard it all before, and can likely tell the difference between a genuine loved-up couple embarking on their post-wedding romantic getaway, and liars. Be truthful, and if you are genuinely celebrating, say something.
5. Join an airline loyalty club
Even if you’re not a frequent traveller, airlines often have special deals, which can include upgrades, and they’re more likely to reward someone who’s a loyal customer.
6. Check your seat for anything wrong
Tray table stuck? In-flight TV not working? Seatbelt doesn’t buckle? That could work in your favour when it comes to getting an upgrade. If anything isn’t working properly, notify a flight attendant – passengers who are assigned to faulty seats are usually placed somewhere else, and if it’s a full plane, that new seat might just be in business or first class.
7. Don’t drink too much before your flight
It goes without saying, but although it’s tempting to throw back a few celebratory drinks at the airport bar in preparation for your holiday, if you’re intoxicated when boarding your flight, not only are you basically guaranteed to not get an upgrade, you might even not be allowed on the plane! Always be sensible with alcohol; airline attendants do not want to have to deal with drunk passengers regardless of where you’re sitting.
8. Give up your seat for a later flight
If you don’t have a pressing deadline and you’re on an overbooked flight, volunteer to catch the next flight instead. Airline staff will be grateful that you’re switching flights without a fuss, and you might just be lucky enough to be rewarded with an upgrade on the next flight.
9. Rely on luck
At the end of the day, flight upgrades are fairly rare, and every airline is unique and has a different set of rules on how they issue flight upgrades. You need a mix of patience, a good attitude and unfortunately, a whole heap of luck, but hopefully these tips help put lady luck in your corner.