Flights: How to get a free upgrade – insider tips on getting bumped to Business Class

Flights in Economy are all very well but it’s Business Class and beyond that really gets the blood pumping. Flying in these superior classes makes for an infinitely better experience. From better food to more attentive flight attendants, there are very few, if any, downsides… apart from the price tag.

Luckily, there are ways to boost your chances of getting into Business Class if you manage to get upgraded.

Nick Caunter, Managing Director of valet parking service Airport Parking & Hotels (APH), recommends dressing the part.

“For those who dream of flying business class, it’s worth keeping in mind that those who are well-dressed and polite can sometimes be rewarded with a rare flight upgrade,” Caunter told

“So although flip flops and leggings may be the comfiest way to travel, it may be worth keeping these items packed away in your hand luggage and opting for smart casual attire instead.”

The upgrade advice doesn’t stop there as there are a number of things you can do – although travellers should remember than none guarantee a bump up.

Another top tip is to recognise the importance of loyalty when it comes to airlines.

“Customer loyalty to an airline or hotel tends to pays off as those who are a member of a travel company’s loyalty club are usually the first to be upgraded if an economy cabin is full,” said Caunter.

“Even if upgrades aren’t available, it’s worth becoming a member of an airline or hotel’s loyalty club if you do travel regularly to enjoy free benefits such as discounts on car rental and priority boarding.”

American travel website The Points Guy advises being savvy with where you choose your seat.

They recommend booking a plane seat in Premium Economy rather than Economy.

Plane passengers sitting in Premium Economy are more likely to be upgraded for free than any other class, The Points Guy claimed.

This is because most airlines will only bump up fliers by one class.

Consequently, to make it into Business you’ll need to be sitting in Premium.

It’s also important to have the right attitude.

“Don’t act like a spoilt child, a demanding infant or as rude and obnoxious!” ex British Airways cabin manager Simon Marton told

“There is still a lot of snobbery involved in this subject, even from some airline employees themselves!”

The flight attendant pointed out that it’s vital not to get cocky if you’ve previously managed to nab an upgrade.

“I have also had more problems with people who have booked themselves as economy customers before on prior flights, and have successfully been upgraded, who then act as if it becomes a right on subsequent flights!” Marton said.

“It completely depends on what happens on the day. Even airline employees are subject to seniority and years in service when being left until last, hoping to board a flight on a standby basis.”

An upgrade is also much more likely if passengers are travelling solo.

“This is especially important if you are travelling on your own,” Gatwick Airport’s Head of Airline Relations Stephen King explained.

“It’s easier logistically to move a couple of people around the plane rather than a larger group.”

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