Knowing how to get seat upgrades could mean some nice benefits. You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to know that even with the vast improvements made in airplane cabins and seating, flying can be an uncomfortable experience, especially on long haul trips. Those who do not fit the ‘average’ passenger profile in terms of height, weight and leg length could especially benefit from knowing how to get seat upgrades. Here are 7 Ways to Get a Seat Upgrade:
1. Look the Part
Whilst it’s important to be in comfortable clothes for flying, you stand a better chance of being bumped from coach if you look like you belong in business or first class. Your choice of attire can go a long way in getting a seat upgrade.
Although it can be a drag hanging around the airport hours before your flight, this is a one of the ways to get a seat upgrade. You stand a much better chance if you have checked in early. Generally, economy class is sold out but there are empty seats in business and first class. When economy is overbooked, passengers get moved. Checking in early puts you at the front of the queue for a seat upgrade.
3. Be Nice
If you are going to chance your arm and simply ask, being rude and demanding is not how to get seat upgrades. Courtesy and politeness will go a long way and certainly won’t eliminate from being considered. Don’t demand (I want/need an upgrade), request (am I eligible for an upgrade?).
4. Pay for It
The obvious answer for how to get a seat upgrade is to pay for it. There are ways to do it and still get a discount price. Check when booking if there any deals on – there are sometimes promotions to sell more business and first class seats. Check if there are Y-Up fares available. For this you need to go to the airlines website and look for seats with their special codes which might be Y-Up, Q-Up etc. It is best to book directly with the airline, as these are seats in first/business class available to be sold at coach prices.
5. Redeem Your Air Miles
If you are a member of a frequent flyer program, you can redeem your accumulated air miles to get a seat upgrade.
6. Be at the Front of the Airplane
It is not uncommon practice that on busy routes, airlines overfill flights in the anticipation that some passengers will not check in for their flight. In the event of coach being oversold and insufficient seats not being available, those seated at the front of coach are more likely to get a seat upgrade than those at the back of the cabin (another reason to check in early). Overbooked flights may also result in the airline asking for volunteers to take a later flight – sometimes the compensation is a seat upgrade, other times it’s a partial refund.
There are some reasons why you might get a seat upgrade due to ‘issues’. If economy is full and there is something wrong with your seat which makes it unduly uncomfortable or unsafe – seat belt problem, seat not staying in upright position etc – there is almost an obligation that you are given an unoccupied seat in business or first, if available. If you are experiencing issues with a fellow passenger, and your complaint is genuine, you may also be moved out of coach, at the flight attendant’s discretion.
Knowing how to get seat upgrades may not matter much for domestic and short flights but for international trips, moving up a class can make flying a real experience. You’ll find seats that convert to beds, fine dining and premium wines and of course superb service.
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