Passengers should ‘ask’ for free upgrade when seating next to family

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Fly solo

The travel experts explained that due to the premium price of first class seats, passengers have much better chances of getting an upgrade if they’re flying alone.

“It’s unlikely airlines will want to lose out on money to upgrade a large group, so are more likely to offer a free first class ticket to individuals,” they said.

The experts added that alongside this, seating in first class is often limited, meaning there is less chance of a group of seats becoming available.

Ask politely

The travel experts revealed that “one of the best tactics is simply to ask airlines if there is a chance for an upgrade”.

“As long as you are polite, there is no reason why this can’t land you a free first class ticket,” they said.

This is especially worth trying “if you’ve been inconvenienced in any way by the airline”.

This could be the case if the flight was delayed, the airline lost the baggage or the travellers missed a connection due to a previous delay.

However, travellers can also ask for an upgrade if they experience a minor inconvenience such as not being able to seat next to a friend or family member or if their choice of a sandwich is not available on board that day.

It is also worth trying for an upgrade if passengers are asked to swap seats in order to accommodate a family together, which happens very often on commercial flights, especially during the busy summer months.

The travel experts revealed the best way to ask for this: “Politely mention that an upgrade would be appreciated, if possible, and stress your loyalty to the airline.”

Pick your flight time wisely

The travel gurus revealed “there is a higher likelihood you may be asked to move seats to accommodate a family with young children” during peak times “such as school holidays”.

“This gives passengers an opportunity to be given or ask for an upgrade.”

There are certain conditions where first-class seats are less likely to be fully booked up, for example, if the economy class is overbooked.

That’s why it is important travellers choose the time they are going to fly wisely as when flying during peak times, most families won’t shell out to sit in first class and routes will be busy, increasing the likelihood of an overbooked economy cabin.

The experts also suggested: “Alternatively, if your flight is for a special occasion, why not try your luck by mentioning it?

“Many airline staff will help to upgrade you if they can to make occasions such as honeymoons, anniversaries and birthdays more special.”

Dress smart

Finally, while dressing in the finest clothes is no guarantee for an upgrade, a smart outfit “will certainly enhance your chances of being chosen,” the experts revealed.

They explained why: “Top paying customers will often be dressed sharper, and airlines will want to ensure anyone they bump to first class looks the part.

“Don’t feel the need to dress in anything extravagant. However, just make sure you avoid items that are too casual.”

The travel experts revealed that the items of clothing which should be avoided at all costs include “flip flops and cargo shorts”.

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