Realistic ways to get a class upgrade on a flight

Categories Travel Advice

A couple smiles, good manners and box of chocolates won’t really make up for the price difference between economy and business or business and first. This is quite contrasting to what you might have found on other sites or is being said in endless youtube videos. You must keep in mind most of those sources are just looking for traffic and will since tell you what you want to hear. Keep in mind that upgrading is nonetheless quite possible if you keep the measures realistic. Here I share a couple ways towards an airline seat class upgrade.


Taking a later flight (if your plane is full)

For those who travel alone and have flexible dates there are some good news. If the flight you’re in is full, you are the perfect candidate for a bump. This means the airline might ask you to board a later flight in exchange of (sometimes) monetary compensation. The amount of the compensation tends to differ based on the length of the flight and should include food and hotel compensation as well. For an intercontinental flight it is said Delta can offer up to 2000 USD in compensation, consider yourself lucky if you get 700 though. But where’s the upgrade though? Well usually those who get bumped have a pretty high chance to be upgraded one class in the rescheduled flight. When getting bumped it is the best to not be afraid of asking for perks, after all you’re making the airline a favor!


Being a frequent flyer

Unless you fly within the US from East to West Coast frequently, domestic flights only get you a few miles. On the other side, you might need to complete just two intercontinental round trips within a year to reach the basic elite status of a specific airline, which usually translates to flying 25000 miles. One round trip trip overseas gives an average of 12k miles, this means you would only need to fly overseas twice in a year and maybe book a short domestic flight to qualify for free upgrades. Once you reach the elite status you will also be awarded more miles each time you fly, which makes it easier to maintain the status each year.


Paying for the Upgrade

This is possible and it is way cheaper than buying a business or first class ticket. Upgrades are usually at its cheapest during check in time, by this time the airline has already a clear picture of how full the flight might be. It is still possible to upgrade before check in and after boarding, this will cost you way more though.


Be Pretty and Famous

If you have influence over people’s opinions, meaning you own a blog, are instagram famous or top the charts each time you release an album, it is quite likely you will get upgraded. Airlines want people to talk the good stuff about them and they won’t risk it with the coach class food.


Pure Luck

Yes, it does happen, but the odds are against you. You might be upgraded for the sole fact that the airline didn’t book the upper classes fully or there are weight imbalances in the plane. Keep in mind that, in those situations, being appropriately dressed for the class upgrade is essential. No airline wants their wealthier passengers to think any hobo can fly first class.

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