Let’s accept it: life is not fair and not everyone can travel premium, at least not every time they fly. But does that stop us from wishing for comfortable recliners, extra-leg room space, and other facilities that only premium members of a flight are entitled to? No. Does that mean we should spend a whopping sum of money on a first-class ticket and be broke for the rest of the month? Definitely not!

Follow this simple statement as a gospel, and you will increase your chances of flying first-class by 60%:


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade; and when airlines give you economy, ask for an upgrade. How, you said? Here goes:

Planning you route meticulously

Free upgrades are generally given by airlines when the economy class on a plane is full to capacity whereas the first or the business class hasn’t been occupied. So what you need to do is book yourself on a flight that has high chances of being full. These would generally be flights that are flying to popular holiday locations for that time of the year. Chances of getting an upgrade on a flight leading to a place popular as a business destination are very low whereas getting an upgrade en route to family-friendly destinations are very high, especially for solo travellers.

Be a part of frequent flyer programmes

The fact that airlines would always prefer their regular flyers for an upgrade is well known. The airlines believe that travellers who are a part of their frequent flyer programmes will fly with them in future also. Therefore, by giving these flyers an upgrade, the airlines are trying to seal the deal with their perspective flyers. Also the travellers who get their tickets at low prices are less likely to get an upgrade when put in comparison to those who paid higher amounts for the same ticket.  So, if you book flights closer to your date of journey, you might just get lucky.

Go Solo

This is especially true when you are in a flight where the economy class is fully occupied and there are many contenders for an upgrade. In such cases, airlines like to upgrade singles, or at best couples, to the limited seats that are available in premium class. Families find it hard to get an upgrade mainly because of the number of passengers travelling. Also, because there are high chances of movement when there are kids in a family, the airlines don’t want to put the comfort of premium class passengers at risk.

Ask for an Upgrade

A surprising fact is that many airlines will happily give an upgrade when asked for one, and that a very low number of passengers actually ask. However, the upgrades are rarely given at the check-in counter unless you come up with an upgrade-worthy reason. Research by travel companies says that flyers who give a genuine reason, like if there’s an occasion for celebration such as birthdays and anniversaries, airlines are happy to cooperate. Passengers feigning ill-health are the least likely to get an upgrade as the crew sees through the pretence almost always.

Put on your best behaviour

Reads unbelievable but frequent flyers swear by this trick. It has been noticed that if you are one of the better dressed passengers with the least fuss about them, the crew is quick to notice, and give you an upgrade. Also, if you request sincerely and politely, and there is an upgrade available, your request will have high chances of being entertained.

Make use of your contacts at the airport

If you know someone who works at the airport or the airline you are flying with, you are already a step ahead in the race to an upgrade. Based on availability, upgrades are constantly given to friends and kin of employees.

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