How to Upgrade to First Class on a Budget

April 2, 2013 by

Flying first class

Improve your chances of being offered an upgrade by dressing stylishly or in business attire.

Have you heard people talk about getting upgraded to first class and wonder how they did it? First of all, getting seated in first class is not a sure thing unless you plan to pay full fare. However, there are a few things that can increase your chances of getting upgraded to first class.

How to Increase Chances of Upgrade to First Class

At the time you book your flight, talk to the agent about upgrades and prices. You can pay a little more for what is called a Y-UP fare that boosts your upgrade chances in a big way.

Also, ask about special promotions, because sometimes for as little as $20 more you can get the upgrade you’re looking for.

Upgrade to First Class

To increase your chances of getting upgraded to first class, you have to place yourself among those who are frequently asked if they want to upgrade.

This includes:

  • People who arrive early: Check in at your gate early. If you’ve run into problems on a previous flight, talk to the check-in agents, but don’t make a fuss. Remember it’s not their fault, and if you make their life miserable, you won’t be upgraded. Instead, arrive early and let them know you’re interested in upgrading.
  • Dress for an upgrade: How you dress makes a difference, too. To improve your chances of being offered an upgrade, dress stylishly or in business attire.
  • Frequent flier members: Frequent flier members of the airline being flown are among the first to be offered one of the empty seats in first class when economy class is oversold.
  • The right credit card: Some premium credit cards pay you back with a redeemable mile benefit that is good for several different airlines.
  • Traveling without kids: If you are traveling alone or with an adult companion, your chances of getting upgraded to first class are better than if you are traveling with children. It’s not impossible to get upgraded with kids, but it is much less likely. 

Along with the above tips for how to upgrade to first class on a budget, remember to be polite. A little courtesy goes far in the industry.

Photo credits: thumbbook, Sarah_Ackerman

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1 comment

  1. Julie C. says:

    I have yet to have this happen to me, but I keep smiling at the gate attendant and hoping!

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