General Travel News

Top 10 Ways to Score Free Flight Upgrades

Gone are the days where a smart suit, puppy-dog eyes and a nice smile during check-in could send you champagne sipping in business. Yes, free flight upgrades are rare and sometimes just a matter of pure luck. However, here's a list of things you can do to increase your odds.

1. Airline Loyalty Program - Join 'em
Keep your eye on the prize: elite status. Airlines will give priority for upgrades to top-tier members. Pick an airline and stick to it. If you are a regular customer you are more likely to get those three coveted letters: SFU (Suitable For Upgrade) next to your name on the passenger list. Also, there are often rewards for accumulating miles quickly (usually over one calendar year) and different "perks" are awarded each time you hit a certain mileage tier.

2. Choose Your Carrier Carefully
Points systems are not born equal. For example, with Air Canada, you can only use points for complete bookings in economy or business and cannot use points to upgrade from an economy ticket. If booking on Qantas, you can buy an upgradeable economy ticket and request for an upgrade to premium economy or business. British Airways, on the other hand, makes it nearly impossible for those who fly economy, short-haul flights to ever earn enough points to make it to the next level.

3. Travel Alone
This might not be possible, however, keep in mind that if you are travelling as part of a small group, an airline may not be able to upgrade everyone, and thus, will upgrade no one at all.

4. Check in late
The economy seats will likely have been filled, meaning you may get booked directly to business class. This is a very risky strategy however, as you chance not being able to get a good seat in economy, or getting split up from your travel partner.

5. Be Plane Picky
Pick a flight that will be using an airplane with a large first class cabin. You can find out this information from sites like Seat Guru.

6. Volunteer to Give Up Your Seat
Have time to spare? Every so often an airline will oversell the flight and will need volunteers to give up their seat. If you don't mind the delay, you can score a flight voucher and/or a free upgrade certificate. They have done this before on Cathay Pacific.

7. Pay Full Fare
If you purchased a full fare ticket and travel on an oversold flight, then you also have more potential for a courtesy upgrade.

8. Wear Business Attire
This won't be the reason why you get an upgrade, but not being dressed suitably could be the why don't. Flying like you just rolled out of bed is likely just a bad call all together.

9. Charm Your Way
Once upon a time, being nice could result in someone at the check-in counter upgrading your seat, nowadays, stories like that seem more like an urban myth. It may be rare, but it's worked for me, and a few of my friends before. When experiencing an airline issue, if you ask to speak to management and you articulate yourself in a professional, calm yet confident manner, you can find that you can get a free upgrade (if not this flight, perhaps another for another time) or other perks like free lounge access.

10. Marry a Flight Attendant
Practicality aside, if all else fails, this is a surefire way of increasing your upgrade odds. Knowing someone working for the airline definitely helps. Even if you can't get an upgrade for free, as family, you can purchase discounted business class tickets. 

More General Travel News
ATM Dubai to launch Holiday Shopper on 27 April 2019
Agoda partners with Saudi Ministry of Hajj to try to attract 30 million pilgrims
UAE carriers join hands to celebrate the legacy of Sheikh Zayed on 47th National Day
Latest Travel News
flydubai will fly to Tashkent from 11 Ma...
ATM Dubai to launch Holiday Shopper on 2...
Agoda partners with Saudi Ministry of ...
Featured Sights To See
Pantheon

Pantheon

Paris, France

When Louis XV fell ill in 1744, he vowed to replace the ruined church of the Abbey of St. Genevieve if he would recover.  He did, and construction began two years later. By the time the church was completed in 1790 (due to financial troubles), France was in the midst of the Revolution.  The National Assembly ordered the church turned into a mausoleum for French heroes. After the revoluti...

What to do with children in tow

What to do with children in tow

Bangkok, Thailand

Siam Ocean World This is Southeast Asia's largest aquarium with 400 kinds of more than 30,000 aquatic creatures for visitors to view. Children and adults alike will love to watch the sharks and penguins being fed (13:00 or 14:00 hrs). They can take a walk through the breathtaking underwater tunnel and see dolphins, rays, colorful fish and many other under water creatures through the glass which...

Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda

Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Royal Palace features two splendid Pagodas, The Silver Pagoda and The Temple of Emerald Buddha. These are two of the very few buildings that are worth visiting in Phnom Penh. These places, build in early 19th century by French technology, are deemed of high respect by locales hence your clothing should be appropriate for entrance. No bare body parts allowed and photography is prohibited inside...

What to do with Children in Tow

What to do with Children in Tow

Athens, Greece

National Gardens This is a wonderful place for children to play in. The gardens are vast and dotted with a number of duck ponds. Attached to these is a zoo as well.   Attica Zoological Park This park will be of great interest to children as it is home to about 2000 birds of over 300 species. Farm animals are also kept there. In addition there is a wonderful butterfly garden. &n...