How to get a cheeky flight upgrade

10 May 2022  |  Travel Blogs

We’d all be lying if we said we didn’t fantasise about getting a cheeky flight upgrade as we board. But it takes a special someone to have the b*lls to actually ask. We strongly believe in the motto, don’t ask, don’t get. According to Money Saving Expert, nearly one in five have got one in the last two years. So it really is worth a try.

Here are some tips that we think might help get you a free flight upgrade, tried and tested. Let us know how you get on.

Travel alone

Sounds obvious, but you’re doubling your chances by travelling alone. You are much less likely to get two free upgrades rather than one. 

Dress the part 

We all know the saying ​​dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Well, dress for the cabin you want, not the cabin you have. It may be a slightly outdated phrase but it’s worth a try. 

And no we don’t mean travel with designer bags or flashing your Rolex watch. We just mean don’t travel in your slobs and make yourself presentable. 

Be kind 

Don’t be arrogant about it. Acting like you deserve or expect an upgrade just isn’t going to work. You need to ask politely. 

Be friendly and courteous.    

Boarding pass

Did you know you can have a note added to your boarding pass? As a travel management company, we have the capability of adding a VIP status to your boarding pass, with an additional note. So whether you’re TikTok famous, or a high flying entrepreneur, let us know so we can add this to your notes. Helping your chances of that elusive upgrade.

Ask the right people 

A common mistake is asking the wrong person. Go to the airlines desk to ask if there are any complimentary upgrades, not the check-in desk.

If you are unsuccessful at the airline desk, then ask how much it is to upgrade. Make a note of this price, along with their name and politely say you’ll think about it. 

At last checks, you can be issued a new boarding pass. This is your last chance to inquire about an upgrade. Tell them who you spoke with at the airline desk, and politely ask again for a complimentary upgrade.  

Not what you know but who you know

Rattle your brain and search through social media for contacts in the industry. Have you got a distant cousin who works at the airport? Does your friend’s sister work for an airline?

Some airlines give their staff upgrade vouchers which you could buy off a friend of a friend… 

Arrive late to the gate

Ok maybe not late, but hang back until the end. It’s doubtful that you’re going to be given a free upgrade in front of lots of people. 

Plus they will now know exactly how many people have boarded and can see if there’s been any cancellations or no shows. 

Happy to pay?

If you really want an upgrade and you’re willing to pay, at least wait until the day you’re flying. It’s not always cheapest to pre-book your upgrade. 

The other day it was going to cost a client of ours £3000 to upgrade, so we advised her not to book, and to ask at the airline desk instead. 

Which she did, and got a 3k upgrade for just under £500. 

As we can view the live availability, we are able to offer our opinion on whether it makes sense to upgrade before arriving at the airport, or whether you should ask on the day.

If you’re a frequent flyer, why not message us here to learn more about our loyalty club: echo.bravo

Lastly, a big thank you to @nicolezollbrecht for sharing her photos from her first-class experience on the Emirates A380.

Thank you for reading, we hope these tips help you get a flight upgrade.

India | Marketing Executive | echo.bravo