How to get upgraded on any flight

When you receive an unexpected upgrade, it gives you a sense of what it’s like to find a golden ticket in your chocolate bar. Seen as something far more commonplace in the historic era of traveling, upgrades do still occur and here at The Luxe Travel we’ve found the best way’s to ensure it’s your name on that golden ticket.

Get Upgraded at Check In

Check in is the first point of call between an airline representative who has the power to upgrade your ticket. It helps to be a look a like of Prince William but if you’re not here are some other ways to get upgraded.

  1. Arrive Early – If you arrive 30 minutes before check in closes the chances are any available upgrades will have been given out to the early birds. Make sure you’re an early bird and arrive as check in opens. The flights numbers will practically be finalised so the operators will know of any available seats.
  2. Dress Well – Business and First class passengers want to among respectable and polite people. They do not want to be sat next to someone in tracksuit trousers and a baseball cap. The check in assistant doesn’t have time to get to know you so they will be reading your cover, first impressions are very important.
  3. Ask after building some rapport –  These days almost everyone will ask for an upgrade as they check in, it’s all too easy for the assistant to simple say no. To stand out you’ve got to use your charisma as a reason that you deserve an upgrade.
  4. Ensure you’re a member of the airlines rewards program – You’re far more likely to get an upgrade if you already have some sort of relationship with the airline. Signing up to rewards programs is quick and easy, it’s very easy to drop the fact that you’re a member to the check in clerk.
  5. Go to priority boarding – Many airlines have a priority section for business, first and air mile club passengers. As long as you can complete points 1-4 then this is an option. If it’s busy then this option will not be as effective.

how to get upgraded on any flight

Things that can help

  1. Being tall –  If you’re in excess of 6ft4″ you’re in for a good chance of an upgrade. If possible stand amongst a group of dwarfs to accentuate your height.
  2. It being your birthday, honeymoon, anniversary – The celebration is up to you, the chances are you’re going to need to make it up anyway unless your travel plans overlap. Honeymoon is a very successful one when traveling with a partner.
  3. Offer to give up your seat – This is potentially risky as you may be bumped off one flight and flown standard the next but quite often if you take another flight you will be given a priority upgrade.

If you don’t manage to get an upgrade at the check in desk don’t panic it’s not entirely the end of the road. Some check in clerks may not upgrade out of spite, or that they just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Getting upgraded as you board the plane


When you arrive at the plane doors and you show your ticket to the steward, providing the head of the cabin crew is present it’s still possible to get upgraded.

First impressions are again key here, always wait by the gate until all the passengers have made their way onto the plane. If you’re the first passenger through the doors, trying to charm yourself an upgrade isn’t going to work with 300 passengers behind you.

Being last on the flight makes it clear if any free seats are available and as long as you look the part you may well be guided to an upgraded seat. Another very effective approach if you’re traveling as a couple is to have some sort of item that indicates you may be on a honeymoon. A good example is a lei. Dress well, arrive last and then chat to the steward welcoming you and try and bag a upgrade, ensure you’ve got a backstory if they ask you about your wedding!

The final thing you can do is complain, this should only be done if you have something genuine to complain about. Airport staff take complaints and violence seriously so at no point should you become too aggressive just complain and say that it’s unacceptable.

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