Flying economy these days is the pits. And it’s not going to get better. What’s in store? Smaller seats, less recline, less padding. How about using miles to upgrade? More airlines are turning to awarding frequent flyer points based on ticket price rather than miles flown. (but if you want to go that route, check out my earlier post on a service that will handle that for you, Points Pros) So if your budget can’t handle paying for business class or first class, what to do? In a recent article in the New York Times, an airline purser suggested giving pursers chocolates. Might be worth a shot, but we need more tactics than that, so I turned to travel blogging colleagues who are in the know for their tips on how to get an airline upgrade:
1. Dress to impress
Dress professionally, be courteous to your purser and also be pro-active. If you want to be bumped off for credit, mention this when you check in to the gate. If you have an aisle seat or emergency, offer this up to the purser and ask if they can move you for the courtesy to an upgrade. (This also works if you are sharing an aisle with a family that wants to sit together).
2. Frequent flyer perks
American Express Platinum Card holders can obtain a complimentary companion ticket when they book qualifying business or first-class international travel on one of 23 airline partners through Platinum Travel Service. (These tickets have no blackout dates or change fees, and are fully refundable.)
3. Discount codes for first-class seats
FareCompare.com suggests that travelers take advantage of ‘‘Y-Up’’ or ‘‘Q- Up’’ fare code designations. While hard to find (you might try calling the airline and asking for them), these are discounted first-class tickets offered by domestic carriers in the United States and Canada. A coast-to-coast first-class seat purchased as a Q-Up ticket, for example, can cost as little as $400-$600 each way. The FareCompare website offers some tips on finding them.
4. Last minute upgrades
On rare occasions, airlines release empty first-class seats at the gate for a relatively small upgrade cost. The carriers would rather make some money on this prime real estate than have it remain empty. Check with the airline reservations agent.
Tips 2-4 by Irene S. Levine
More tips from her post on the topic: http://www.moretimetotravel.com/8-ways-to-snag-a-first-class-fare-upgrade/
5. Bid for an upgrade
Bidding for an upgrade to business class is the latest and greatest way for anyone to try to upgrade their flight. If you have a little extra money and are willing to risk spending your flight in economy, take the chance and bid for an upgrade to business class on your next flight. It sure beats paying full price for a business class fare!!Here are tips to help you bid for an upgrade to business class and a list of airlines that let you bid.
One has to look at this with creativity and humor. And closing on that note, here’s Irene’s last tip:
“Let the flight attendant know if it is your centennial birthday and you have never flown first class, if your seat is completely broken (perhaps, without a back or operative seat belt), or if your seatmate appears to be suffering from typhoid or pneumonia. Maybe she will have pity on you and bring you forward.”
Photo from www.businessinsider.com