Getting an upgrade is the holy grail of plane travel. Veteran travel writer Simon Horsford has some pro tips for bagging a premium seat
Want to fly first class without paying the premium price tag? Our travel writer shares some insider tips to help you score a luxury upgrade for free
So you want to turn left when you get on the plane rather than being stuck at the back? Yeah, us too. Lounging in first class is the perfect way to kick off a holiday, or to make a work trip more pleasurable, but the price of premium travel is often enough to make your eyes water. A one-way upper class seat on a Qantas flight from Sydney to London, for example, costs around $10,000, something only movie stars and oligarchs can afford.
However, there are ways of improving your chances of upgrading an economy class ticket. For a start, frequent fliers who use the same airline and pay the full price for their ticket will inevitably be favoured if an upgrade becomes available. Travelling on your own certainly helps, as there’s less people to upgrade to First Class, while choosing a less popular route is also a good tactic. Avoiding business routes at peak times (Monday mornings and Thursday/ Friday afternoons) will also increase your chances of a free upgrade. You could try selecting a flight to a seaside resort during the school holidays, too, as there’ll be fewer single passengers so more chances for you to bag that premium upgrade for nought.
Alternatively, having a good reason, such as a birthday or anniversary, can work at the check-in desk. Above all, look smart and be extra polite. Free upgrades don’t happen often, but when they do the complimentary champagne tastes all the better.