How to score an Upgrade

Travel Tip Tuesday

We all want one, and we all dream that one day the check-in agent will say “would you like an upgrade?” to which I’m sure we would all reply “Err, of course I want one!”.

But how do you score an upgrade on your next flight? Well, it’s not as easy as just asking but hopefully the following steps (which have worked for me) will increase your chances. Pen and paper at the ready…let’s go!

Don’t Check-in Online

So this will only work if your airline doesn’t require you to check-in prior to arriving at the airport. But with most long-haul flights you don’t have to. If you check-in online, the system acknowledges that you are ready for your flight and will often assign you a seat if you haven’t already chosen one. I’m told that airport staff are less likely to offer you an upgrade if you are already technically seated as there’s more work involved for them to unseat you and move you elsewhere.

Of course, if you go down this route there is a risk that no upgrade will be offered or that you will be seated in the worst seat possible because you haven’t pre-selected. But if you really want to increase your chances then follow this simple step.

Don’t Dress to Impress

O.k. so dressing to impress is probably the most popular route people take to try and score an upgrade. The general consensus is that if you look the part you will be offered an upgrade. Well I’m sorry to disappoint but if you looked the part wouldn’t the staff already think you’re flying Business or First? And why would they upgrade you just because you are dressed nicely? I’m not saying you should turn up in your PJ’s but there’s no need to go overboard, after all it’s important to be comfortable when you fly.

Whilst some airport staff aren’t interested in you or let alone what you are wearing, some most certainly are. Be extra friendly, when called forward approach with a nice smile and ask “how are you?”. These pleasantries help to create a rapport with staff which will increase your chances of them feeling generous and offering you an upgrade.


Quite simple really. If you don’t ask you don’t get. When at the check-in desk ask the agent if the flight is full. They will most likely always say “yes” as airlines often oversell flights because there are always no-shows. But regardless of a “yes” or “no” answer simply let them know that you are happy to give up your seat if required. Airlines often have situations where families are seated separately so by letting them know you are happy to move to accommodate such situations you will increase your chances of scoring an upgrade as compensation and thanks for giving your seat up to help the airline out.

This option worked for me on my recent trip to Singapore.

Reach out to the Airline in Advance

Most airlines are active on Twitter. Tweet them and let them know that you are looking forward to flying with them. You will most likely get a retweet and you may find that they will contact you to then add your name to the elusive upgrade waiting list.

Have you ever scored an upgrade or will you try any of these steps on your next journey? Let me know!

Thanks for reading.

Tommy x