Flight secrets: Surprising ways you can get your airline ticket upgraded to first class

Flights can be very expensive, especially when traveling long distance and when wanting upgrades like extra legroom and pre-booked seats. Flying first class is one of the most luxurious travel experiences that comes with a hefty price tag attached to it. However there are some tips and tricks on how to get your hands on free upgrades.


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One airline insider shared interesting tips onto forum site Reddit explaining some ways you can try for a free upgrade.

They wrote: “24 hours before the flight people start checking in, the frequent travellers confirm they are coming and the seat is taken. If no confirmation is received the next people in line will receive the upgrade as they come and print their boarding pass.

“The upgrades are gone 99% of the time before the plane is boarded, and if it isn’t they will call names of the next people on the list.”

However one cheap travel company explained how offers are available if you know the correct ways to get them.

Skyscanner is a search engine that searches for hundreds of airlines, hotels, cars, flights and displays all the cheapest options in one place.

They search for the best flight deals and are known to be one company which shares some of the cheapest flights.

One option may be to travel at quiet times as less people may be on the flight, resulting in more of a chance for an upgrade.

Lynn Unick, a growth manager at Skyscanner says you’ve got a better chance of upgrading to business class by booking a flight on bank holidays and at other times of the year when business users are less likely to fly, as the seats tend not to be taken up.

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The popular app says you may have to invest in order to get a return.

This means that you may not get an upgrade immediately but you could spend a lot of money on one flight and be returned with a free or cheaper upgrade on your next flight.

A frequent Skyscanner user said: “My wife and I got upgraded when we moved here from the US on BA. Not sure why, but we think spending $1600 on baggage fees helped.”

Also sticking to flying with one airline may help the rewards rack up. Being loyal to a specific airline can be one of the most important pieces of advice when eating to receive any upgrades.


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Skyscanner advises fliers to join an airline’s loyalty programme. Even if it’s at the lowest level, you’ll be the one to get rewarded first.

Another piece of advice that skyscanner has shared is to always be early for your flight.

The earlier the better as you have a bigger chance of seeing if there are any upgrades available before anyone else.

However some travellers may not like this because if there are no upgrades available, they then have to spend extra hours at the airport.

Product Manager David Low said: My wife and I were flying to the Dominican Republic. We’d got to Glasgow airport far too early but at least there was no queue.

“The check-in lady told us that they had two spare seats in first class, and since we were the first to arrive, we could have them for free.”

However, also being late for your flight could also bag you an upgrade. There is a fine line between being late and missing your flight so being early may be the best option.

If you are running late and haven’t reserved a seat, and the flight is overbooked you might be able to get an upgrade.

However many fliers may wish to spend the extra hours in the airport rather than potentially miss their flight.

Checking your emails is very important when flying. They will update you on the status of the flight but could also offer any upgrades there may be available.

These offers may come at a cost but will be much lower than the standard fare if a passenger is willing to pay some towards their upgrade.

This will still be a fraction of the price that a normal business or first class seat ticket comes at.

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