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7 Ways to improve your chances of an Upgrade

The free upgrade is the Holy Grail to air travel.  All the premium wine and legroom you can handle, without coughing up a small fortune for the privilege.

To improve your chances of an upgrade, we suggest that you travel alone, are a frequent flyer with the airline in question and being pleasant will assist you when asking for an upgrade.

A former flight attendant claims that anyone with a special meal request – be it vegetarian, kosher or otherwise, can wave goodbye to their hope of a move to business class. He claims that an airline won’t even look at you because of your dietary requirement as they might not be able to cater if they upgrade you.

Photo credit: SuperJet International on Visualhunt

7 tips for an upgrade

#1.  Choose your route carefully

Most upgrades will be offered for “operational reasons”, such as when the economy class cabin is full or oversold. Therefore travelling on a busy route, where this is more likely to occur, will help. Flights to beach resorts during the school holidays, when the majority of fellow passengers will be families, are a good bet.

#2.  Be loyal and pay more for your ticket

Regular customers will normally be given priority when an upgrade is available. An upgrade will normally apply to frequent flyers who are members of an airline’s loyalty programme.

#3.  Travel alone

If there are one or two seats available up front, they will probably be offered to single travellers first.

#4.  Just ask – but have a good reason

If you’ve got a genuine reason, such as being exceptionally tall, pregnant or even celebrating a honeymoon, birthday or anniversary – will be seen to go in your favour.  “It never hurts to ask” and could certainly improve your chances.

#5.  Be Polite

It goes without saying that the lucky few who have received an upgrade after requesting one were polite and probably smartly dressed. They certainly wouldn’t have demanded one.

#6.  Be unlucky

If you are experiencing a faulty entertainment system, or a chair that won’t recline, you will have a good reason to complain, particularly if you are on a long haul flight.

#7.  VIP or know someone at an airline

All upgrades are agreed in advance and signed off.  The list usually includes travel industry VIPs or even a good friend who works for an airline may help.  It can’t hurt to ask.

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