Blag a free flight upgrade

Free flight upgrade

Ever went to book a flight and thought ‘I know, lets splash out a bit and go first class - it can't be too much more right?’, WRONG! It’s SO much more. Eyewaterling more. Back to pleb-class!

But here’s the thing, don’t be the mug who pays hundreds or even thousands of pounds for a fancy seat, when you can sit in first class totally free. What could be sweeter?

To get an upgrade, you first need to get the cheapest flight possible in standard class. We like Skyscanner as a flight comparison tool best because you can add in 'nearby airports' as alternatives to the main ones (which are usually cheaper) and can set up price alerts. So once you’ve booked your cheap flight…

… you need to blag an upgrade.

1. You’re going to have to ditch your friends and family

Harsh but necessary we’re afraid. There are going to be a limited amount of seats available in first class, so getting your three mates, your gran and the person you’ve just met but want to sleep with, upgraded too is a mission too far. You’re going to have to leave them behind… it is what they would want anyway.

If possible, book and check in separately - groups just don’t get upgraded.

bye to friends

2. Banter, banter, banter

Be super friendly, and charismatic whenever you can (not so bantery that its off putting though - play it cool kids).

Make chit-chat with all the staff, flirt, joke around with them - if they can upgrade someone, it's going to be someone who made a good impression with them. Make them like you.

chat to airline staff

3. Be a fitty

If you’re reading this - you’re probably a student which means you are young, which is half the battle to be honest. Seriously, people spend thousands of pounds on make-up and cosmetic surgery to look as young young.

It’s a sad reality, but if you dress nicely and look attractive (as well as being polite), you’re more likely to get an upgrade. That’s science (probably).

be a fitty

4. Get on the membership/loyalty card schemes

Your best chance to get a free upgrade is to join a frequent flyer scheme. Most airlines have membership schemes that are free to join. So sign up, and add your flight miles to your account whenever you can.

You’re not going to be able to compete with business people with loyalty schemes, who travel 200 times a year, but you’re more likely to get an automatic upgrade than someone who the airline doesn’t know.

5. Travel when business people aren’t travelling

Business people not only usually book business/upper class seats (leaving no free ones), but because they travel a lot tend to get the free upgrades because they have the air miles - and they also are likely to know the airline staff.

They generally travel at certain times - so avoid them. Think midday, midweek and on weekends, as well as holidays such as Christmas - definitely not early mornings or late afternoons.

avoid people

6. Tell the airline about your special occasions

It’s your birthday? You’ve just got engaged? You’re on your honeymoon? You’ve seen the Friends episode - it’s upgrade gold.

If you don't have an special occasions to subtlety drop into conversation , you could always try 'travel blogger'. Blag away...

special occassions

7. If you don’t ask, you don’t get

You need to approach this as if you were asking a girl/guy out. Be chill. Charismatic. Confident. Not creepy, desperate or weird.

But ask… because it works - sometimes. Seriously, what’s the worst that can happen?

Have a go at the check-in desk - or if you notice spare seats on the plane, try asking the flight attendant.

ask me anything

8. If you have a rubbish seat - complain

If your TV isn’t working properly, your chair won’t recline, the area smells of sick, the person sat next to you is awful etc - speak up (discreetly of course).

There’s a good chance you’ve just going to be moved to another economy seat (boo!), but… its possible that you could be moved to a first class seat.

had enough of these snakes

9. Get there early or late

If you’re one of the first to check in, it increases your chances of getting an upgrade, because a) the upgradable seats are still available b) they know you intend to travel, so get arrange seats in advance.

If you are one of the last to check in, there’s more of a chance all the economy seats have been filled already - so you might be upgraded.

early bird

11. Do not check in online

This means you have no reason to chat to the customer service person who is responsible for listening to the reasons for the upgrade.

check in at airport