How to get your flight upgraded to first class

Getting bumped to first class is a great way to start a trip.  It doesn’t matter if the trip is for business or just a lot of fun.  Not only do I love having from leg room and a comfy seat, but the glass of wine sure has a way of making the flight more relaxing.

What’s better than flying first class though?

Getting upgraded from coach for FREE. (insert smile here)

I’ve put together some tips on ways you can get bumped to first grade for free during your next flight.  Now, I’m not saying these work all the time, but if you find yourself in any of these situations, give it a try.

It’s worked for me, and a few of my friends who are catching flights on the regular.

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Flying first class is always better.

#1  Travel alone.  I’ve caught a lot of slack over the years from people who think I am crazy for traveling by myself, but it’s much easier to get into places for free when there’s just one of you.  First clan is one of those places.  Ive been bumped to first class on at least 5 solo flights, and once when I was traveling with my love.

#2 Dress nice. It’s easy to throw on “travel gear” like a pair of flip flops ripped jeans and a t shirt, but is you want to be seen as a first class member, you may want to consider dressing the part.  Slide on a blazer, and a pair of nice shoes.  You don’t have to dress like you’re about the attend the Grammy’s. but at least dress business casual.

#3 Speak. Being kind has it’s perks.  Especially, when you’ve greeted the person who holds the power of your first class upgrade in their hands with a “hello” and friendly smile. I didn’t need to tell you that thought, right? Your’e always happy, smiling, and speaking…right?  Well, just in case you aren’t, make sure you put on a happy face when you fly to increase your chances of being upgraded to first class by the travel angels…I mean flight attendant.

#4 Show up early. The early bird gets the seat.  I know. I know.  The saying says the early bird gets the worm.  However, we aren’t trying to get you more worms.  The goal here is to get you a first class seat.  So, make sure you show up before the other worms who may try to be friendly with the gate agent in hopes to get your seat.  Sometimes, there is only one seat available for the upgrade.  Don’t lose it to the person who showed up before you.  Introduce yourself before the crowd shows up, and the agent gets busy.  Let them now if there are any upgrades available, you’d like to be considered. (Be sure to use #3 here.)

#5 Give notice.  If you are traveling for a special occasion, let your flight team know.  I was once upgraded because it was my birthday.  Another time, I was on my way to my first live news interview on the morning show.  So, if it’s your birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, or any other special reason fro travel you can think of, let it be known.  This could be your golden ticket to first class for free.

#6 Ask your travel agent. Many travel agents have relationships with airlines, that allow them to book their clients in preferred seat either closer to the front, the exit rows, or even first class.  These seats are not always, published to the public. Not only can your travel agent see upgrade availability, they can also add additional notes that can increase your chances of being considered for the first class bump. The next time, you are booking travel, mention this to your agent.

#7 Become a frequent flyer member.  You don’t have to travel often to benefit from being a frequent flyer member.  This membership alone puts you in a position to receive upgrade opportunities, even without asking. However, you should still ask whether you’re a member or not. Sometimes, when the agents are looking to move someone, they look first at their frequent flyer members list.

So, these are a few of my favorite ways to get bumped into a free first class upgrade during your flights.

Try them.

Share them with your friends.

Let me know which one works for you.

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Shalita Heard