10 Ways to Boost Your Chance of a Free Upgrade When You Fly

As promised late last year,Flight Africa Blog will publish more guest posts from the aviation fraternity.This is an article someone shared with me and we we would like to share with you.For an economy class traveller,a flight upgrade is a dream come true, chance in a life time.In this post,Martin Lane from Money.co.uk will show you 10 very easy ways boost your chances of getting that elusive flight upgrade and travel in style!Like a Star!An article we should have shared with our readers much earlier!Enjoy the read:

"Getting bumped up from economy to first class can make a big difference on a long-haul flight. Yet with the costs involved, the dream of travelling in style often remains just that - a dream. We show you how to get an upgrade without forking out.'

 As with anything, getting something for nothing is notoriously difficult, airlines won’t simply upgrade you to 1st class for no reason. However there are some things that you can do to improve your chances, here are our top tips.

1: Pick your airline carefully

Often there are a range of planes transporting passengers on each route. If you choose a flight where the aircraft has a large ratio of first class seats then it will improve your chances of getting an upgrade. You can usually find out the ratio on the airlines website.

2: Be flexible

You're more likely to get an upgrade on an oversold flight - this is where the airline have sold tickets for too many seats in the hope that some passengers won't show.  If everyone does turn up to travel, they have a problem. If you're able to take a slightly later flight, or willing to change who and where you're sitting, they're more likely to bump you up.

3: Make them value your custom

If you are a regular flyer then it's worthwhile joining the frequent flier or loyalty card scheme run by the airline or airlines you most often travel with.
It is usually free to join and members tend to be given priority over non-members when it comes to getting an upgrade. Equally, members within the scheme are often ranked depending on how much they travel with the airline, or the level of membership they hold - the more 'loyal' you are, the more likely you'll get an upgrade if one's available.

4. Book separately

If you are travelling with other people and don’t mind being seated separately then you can improve your upgrade chances by booking separately, after all it’s easier to find 1 first class seat than 2!

5: Get an 'added value' ticket

A small outlay can increase your chances of bagging the elusive upgrade. Some airlines offer 'premium standard' or 'standard plus' tickets that cost a little more but are usually first in line for a full upgrade if one becomes available. A 'standard plus' seat tends to be more spacious and often includes other little perks such as drinks and newspapers to enjoy if you don’t upgraded. However, while it's worth comparing the cost, as an upgrade is by no means a given you'll need to decide whether the possibility - and other perks - are worth the cost.

6: Play the part

It is much easier to ruin your chances than it is to improve them. If you arrive at the airport in trainers and a tracksuit or are loud at the check in desk then you will be the last person they will want to offer a complimentary upgrade. Boost your chances by looking, and acting, the part. Try wearing a suit (or at least smart-casual clothes) rather than jeans and a t-shirt so that you look like you could belong in the first- or business-class cabin.

7: Time your arrival

Checking in with the masses means you will probably be lost in the crowd. There are two different schools of thought with regards to when you should arrive to optimise your chances of an upgrade. If you arrive early and ask politely at check in and they are treating upgrades on a first come basis then you might be lucky and be first on their list. Alternatively some industry experts say that waiting until the last minute sometimes means any vacant first class tickets are offered to the final people boarding.

8: Give them a reason

Sometimes it is the little things that can make a difference, mentioning that you’re travelling to celebrate your silver wedding anniversary or birthday may just make the difference.
Additionally you can take this a little further and ask your travel agent to mark your ticket with a note such as OSI (Other sig info) or SFU(Suitable for Upgrade).

9: Ask nicely

Try to build up a bit of rapport with the check-in staff (or staff at the boarding gate) before you ask whether there is any chance that you could get bumped up a class.

10: Be discrete

When you ask for an upgrade make sure you ask discretely. If you announced to the whole check in lounge that you want an upgrade chances are you will have blown it.

Read the Article:10 Ways to Boost Your Chance of a free Upgrade When You Fly

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