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How to get a free upgrade on your next flight?

Getting an airline upgrade is harder than you think

Airlines are not in the habit of handing out free upgrades. Even if your flight is reasonably empty you might find that there are no free handouts by cabin or check-in staff. This has never made sense to me - why wouldn't the airlines buy some goodwill with customers when they have the opportunity to give free upgrades. One of the reasons might be that it would appear unfair to paying Business class customers if they knew that there were others getting a free ride. Alternatively, the airlines might believe that offering free upgrades from Economy to Business might encourage more people to pay Economy rather than Business in the hope of a free upgrade upon check in.

Celebrating a free upgrade


One of the ways that a free upgrade might be achieved is if you are travelling whilst having a celebration. Perhaps you're going on holiday for your birthday or perhaps it's your honeymoon. Be sure to tell the check-in staff and see if an upgrade is available. If your request was unsuccessful it's worth asking again at the boarding gate. You might get lucky.

When in doubt just ask


One thing that a lot people do not realise is the benefit of just asking. Many people, particularly those in the West are too self-conscious to ask for things. There's nothing wrong with simply asking for an upgrade. Have the self confidence to ask. What's the worst that can happen?

My wife and I just returned from a trip to America where we took three separate flights. We asked for upgrades on each of those flights. We were successful in getting a free upgrade on one of those. However, all three sets of check-in staff were more than willing to see if the upgrade was possible. Remember, just ask.

Denied an upgrade? There are alternatives


If you are denied a free upgrade remember that there is another alternative that you can ask for. You can ask for a row instead. Whilst I appreciate that having a whole row on a flight is not as good as Business class. However, it is better than having to squash yourself and all of your things into one seat.

On both of our other flights we were able to get whole rows for just myself and my wife, even on reasonably full flights. It's easy as just asking! So go for it - ask.

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