How to get a flight upgrade

How to get a flight upgrade


I keep seeing headlines on social media that read.- What to wear to get a flight upgrade?. And every time I read things like this, I cringe.

After working in the airline industry for over 20 years. I know I can say that this is total rubbish.

The truth is that airlines have a pretty straight forward system for giving out upgrades. It has nothing to do with what a passenger is wearing.
I’m sure that each airline has its own system when it comes to upgrades. However, most will follow the same general rules.

Naturally, paying customers come first. If you want to take a discounted premium cabin seat. Then you can always ask the ground agent at the check in desk if there are any upgrades available. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, and if the cabin has available seats, you might be offered an upgrade for a few hundred pounds. But even if you’re dressed to impress, you will not get a FREE upgrade at the check in desk.

There’s only one general rule

If you want to be on the list for a free upgrade. There’s only one general rule. Acquire frequent flyer loyalty status with the airline or one of the alliances that it belongs to. Such as Star Alliance, One World Alliance or Sky Team.

More about these alliances in a later blog.

Airlines will typically only offer free upgrades to passengers who are on the official upgrade list. So when it comes time to board your flight, the dispatch agent starts at the top and runs down the list until there are no more seats available.

In addition to the loyalty status the dispatch agent also looks for the type of fare paid. Full fare economy passengers who have the booking class Y in their booking are normally given priority.

Now, there is one exception where dressing to impress does matter. Airline employees flying for free as a work might have a company enforced dress code to follow.

So finally, the statement – dress smart to get a free upgrade is just nonsense. Written by Aviation Expert – Andy Baker