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.
The Hippodrome was at the center of Greek and Roman civic life. Here citizens of all classes would gather to watch chariot races. Istanbul's dates back to the start of the third century AD, when it was still called Byzantium. When Constantine moved the capital here, one of his first acts was to expand the Hippodrome. For the next millennium it was a crucial part of the city...
Emirates Air Line is a cable car operated over the River Thames, which connects the Royal Docks to Greenwich Peninsula. The views are spectacular, and definitely picturesque no matter what the weather is like. You can either take the line from Emirates Royal Docks or from Emirates Greenwich Peninsula, so Royal Victoria station and North Greenwich station are closest. Timi...
The huge tent, which is a permanent fixture at the northern end of Lenin Park, is home to Hanoi's Central Circus. Shows are held Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm and on Sunday mornings at 9am. The Sunday morning show is held with children in mind, and is a popular Sunday activity with residents of Hanoi. Address: Lenin Park, Hai Ba Trung District ...
The Agora is the most renowned of Athens sites. It dates back to 6 th century B.C. It was the political, administrative, economic and social center of ancient Greece. It is famed as the market place where Socrates asked passers-by philosophical questions and conducted many dialogues penned down by his student Plato. It is also well-known as being the area where Socrates was made to drink hemlock f...