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Getting Upgraded on Flights

Tips You can Use for Getting Upgraded on Flights

Unless you want to pay for the privilege of getting upgraded on flights, you will only be taking your chances.  Here we will explore ways to increase your chances.  There are upgrades that do become available, but there are always many more candidates for those upgraded seats. For those travelers who think upgrades are at the discretion of the flight attendant, their rules of conduct specifically state that permission must be granted from a supervisor on the ground or if an emergency from the captain or the flight attendant is subject to immediate dismissal.

A Few Ideas to Increase You Chances

1. Be smartly attired. That is, business suit or minimally business casual for men, and dress/suit for women. You should look like you paid the extra money for first class to fit in with those that actually did.

2. Travel alone. Traveling with kids is virtually an automatic dis-qualifier.

3. Always be willing to move if asked. The attendant might not tell you where you are moving to, so if you refuse, they will simply ask someone else.

4. Be extra courteous. If you go out of your way to do something nice for someone, the airline personnel will be more apt to thank you in a way they can. Conversely, being pushy or aggressive will probably eliminate your chances. I know there are cases where I’m wrong, but it seems the days of getting anything through intimidation are pretty much over. Also, don’t automatically expect an upgrade because your flight was delayed or canceled, as everyone is in the same situation as you. To have a better chance to get upgraded on flights at most be assertive, but patience is even better.

5. Try to get a designation of Other Significant Information (OSI) on your ticket. If you book through a travel agent, or directly with the airlines it is possible if you have a valid reason to have your reservation marked with a comment. If you in any way have the power to bring increased revenue to the airline, such as having business travelers as employees, or being a travel agent or travel writer, it might be worth mentioning as it wouldn’t hurt your chances to get upgraded.

6. Volunteer to get bumped from an overbooked flight. I have done this, and you usually get a free flight to be used within a year. However, if they don’t need you to get bumped, they may say “thank you” with a free upgrade.

Obviously there are no guarantees that any of your kindness or dressing to the nines is going to get you out of your cramped middle seat. Doing what is recommended above could only improve your chances. But there is a way to insure your chances of getting upgraded on flights both domestic and international, and that is by using frequent flier miles. Even for the person that doesn’t fly that often, if you choose one airline and stick to it you may build enough for upgrades. Just don’t use them on a one-hour jaunt, but for a longer flight where you may get the greater benefit. We have used them to upgrade to first class on trips to Hawaii, and it improves the time in the air immensely.



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