So you've booked your flight and fancy trying to fudge some free flight upgrades?

Let's face it, you've bought the ticket, it's a given that you're flying. Why not try some plain old blagging- and exercise your tonsils trying to convince the airline why they should give you a free upgrade.

After all, nothing in life comes free. Unless of course you ask for it.

Things You Will Need

Sit back, read up and learn. And don't forget - you'll need a big dose of either charm or quick wit. Not to mention wotsits of steel. Sometimes you can - and do - get a blank 'are you mental' stare from whoever it is you're trying to blag. The kind that would melt the polar ice cap.

So do bear that in mind.

Step 1

Look confident. No knee knocking and stuttering. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Use a polite, friendly tone, appear inquisitive but not pushy. Remember - body language is a huge form of non-verbal communication so don't under-estimate your physical approach/stance.

Step 2

If you're asked to move from your seat to elsewhere on the plane - go with the flow. Sometimes, for reasons known only to those doing the moving, they really do need your seat. Flight attendants rarely shift passengers around unless they have a good reason and you may find you've been upgraded (as a means of re-seating you) without even opening your mouth.

Step 3

This may sound a bit stigmatizing but still - worth remembering. Look the business. Literally. A pair of flip flops that have walked the Great Wall of China, a threadbare backpack and facial hair that a moose would be proud of is only likely to get you a polite but firm 'no'. Turn in in smart but casual gear and aim for a groomed look. And don't forget the smile.

Step 4

Don't hang about when it comes to checking-in. The earlier you go, the bigger the queue behind you - the more chance you've got of being successful. The old saying 'the early bird catches the worm' anyone? This is common sense. It's pointless dawdling around in the bar, then running off to check in at the last minute and hoping to be successful. Highly unlikely if you're at the back of the queue.

Step 5

If you've been - treat less than kindly - on a previous flight, then say so. With bells on. We're talking the whole 'woe is me' bit. Say how much you love flying with the airline, have always had a high opinion of the company, and can't believe how different your previous flight was in terms of service and how shocked you were. But - don't go too far. Whine like a baby and they'll simply leave you with whatever you've already paid for. So - the trick is, appeal to their benevolent side, without irritating their very probable company loyalty.

So now you know how to do it, next time you've got the chance, give it a go. You really don't get if you don't ask and better to have asked and been refused than wonder. Besides which, economy seats are often overbooked, whereas first and business class are usually the opposite.

And remember - long haul flights are always more comfortable when you're not in the cheap seats.

Tips & Warnings


  • Be polite

  • Adopt a good posture

  • Look the part

  • Sound/ look confident


  • Get stroppy/ bad mannered

  • Seem too demanding

  • Refuse the offer of a seat change

  • Turn up late at check-in time