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Former flight attendant spills the beans on how you can get an upgrade

Photo by Rui Chaves from Pexels.

Photo by Rui Chaves from Pexels.

Published Mar 2, 2020


Getting an upgrade has never been easier. And no, you do not have to resort to methods like influencer Jamie Zhu who faked an injury to be upgraded to Business Class. 

More about that here

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Fortunately, there is a legal way to upgrade that does not require you to fake an injury. 

Author of 'Journey Of A Reluctant Air Steward' and a former British Airways chief steward Simon J Marton revealed tips on how to get upgraded. 

Marton, who said upgrades were done on a case by case basis, revealed that upgrading was a tool to help remedy a problem. 

He said it had many positive benefits. 

He said: “You give away a comfy seat… and the benefit for the airline is that he or she will be ten times more likely to recommend that airline to others and remain fiercely loyal to the brand.”

He told MailOnline Travel that having the right dress code was the first step. 

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“Yes, dress smartly – it does no harm. If you look like you could be dressed appropriately for an upgrade, then you stand a better chance in that regard than someone in casual attire,” he told the publication. 

He said that if a flight was overbooked, travellers could be issued a seat in Business Class to curb the overflow if they checked in later. 

However, he said it always did not work. 

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Loyalty programmes worked wonders, Marton explained. 

He said: “In my experience when economy is full for whatever reason, it’s a bit like a tank overflowing into the next one. The airline staff will offer upgrades to those sitting in economy in preferential order: Golds, Silvers or equivalent tiers from the partner airlines. In other words, the loyalty program cardholders get first dibs on the offer of upgrades to the next cabin up. It’s all quite rapid as airliner turnarounds are quick so decisions are equally quick.”

Do not worry if you are not signed up to a loyalty programme as there are other options too. 

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For instance, if your friend has booked in Business Class, Marton said that the traveller in an economy seat could request to be seated close to his/her colleague.  

He said travellers could ask the check-in staff or a senior member on board if they could sit near their colleague as you have "business to discuss".

He said he upgraded a few people with this request. 

Marton said that some airlines asked passengers who were in no hurry to get to their destination if they could bump themselves off a flight. 

He said those who do could use that as a bargaining tool to get an upgrade. 

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