For many of us, getting an upgrade to first class is a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, and despite turning up for every flight in our Sunday best, we always seem to turn right when we eventually board.
However, there are more ways to get an upgrade than simply trying to pass yourself off as an important business-type at the airport, so here are some of our best tips; from simply checking in early to making use of those air miles you’ve racked up over the years.
If you’re anything like me then this will be a near impossibility – no matter how early I get up to leave for the airport, I still arrive later than expected – but getting to the check-in desk first could just get you that upgrade.
This is because, should the flight be overbooked – and they often are – then check-in staff will move people early on to avoid operational issues later on. So, if you’ve checked in early, you might just get lucky!
Use your credit card reward points
If you have a rewards credit card that offers cash back, or one of the many airline credit cards that offer air miles every time you spend on them, then you can rack up some serious rewards that you can use to offset the cost of an upgrade.
And if you can get one that offers bonus points, such as the Virgin Atlantic Black Credit Card that offers 6,000 bonus flying club miles on purchases made in the first 90 days and then 2 miles for every £1 spent, then you could find that you’ll be flying further, and in more comfortable surroundings, in no time at all.
With so many different types of credit card currently on the market, make sure you shop around to find the best rewards credit cards to suit your needs and then pick the best one from your shortlist – which is often the one with the best introductory offer.
And i can definitely recommend upgrading for any real long haul (12 hours, plus) flights.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
A depressing fact of life, but a fact of life all the same – if you know people in the right places, then you can often reap the rewards of their hard work. And this is also the case when looking to upgrade.
So, if you know someone who works as a ground handler at the airport or who works for the airline you’re flying with, have a word with them and they might be able to place a note in the booking that could tip an upgrade in your favour.
Make the most of that special occasion
If you’re flying away on honeymoon, or for a special birthday, say a 40th or 50th – I don’t think your 32nd birthday would count as particularly special – then make sure you make this clear as part of your booking.
If the staff at check-in see this and there is an upgrade available then they may make your special trip even more special.
Never ask for an upgrade
This may sound a bit of a strange one and, when stood there in jacket and blazer, the temptation to sashay up to the check-in desk and ask for an upgrade with a knowing wink and a smile can be overwhelming, but whatever you do, DO NOT ASK.
There’s a certain snobbery around the whole thing and so just be polite, look smart and, if you’re travelling alone or as a couple, then you stand as good a chance as anyone of getting that upgrade.
In this instance, if you don’t ask, you might just get.
Image by Umang Dutt