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What you should never ask a flight attendant if you want a seat upgrade

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No doubt you’ve heard tales of friends getting a free seat upgrade while on a flight to a far-flung holiday destination. One day you decide that enough’s enough. Instead of stewing in a jealous rage in economy class, you decide that you want a taste of the high life, and start making plans to get your upgrade.

The way you go about getting a free upgrade, however, matters considerably. You can’t just waltz up and ask, hoping that the cabin crew will oblige. You’ve got to use a bit of guile and cunning.

 

Insider tips

Flight attendant and TikToker @Cierra_mistt who has over 2.8 million users has gained fame for sharing her secrets on why cabin crew do what they do. She says sometimes being nice is all it takes.

Early starts, airport parking, shuttle buses, long queues. Traveling can be exhausting, and that’s all before you board the plane. However, keeping a positive disposition, and being courteous could be the key to your much deserved upgrade.

Cierra revealed: “One of the easiest ways to get free upgrades is literally just being nice to your gate agent and flight attendant.

“The miracles we can work when we’re given some Starbucks or a bag of chocolates, especially those long days where we have back-to-back flights and don’t even have time to go get some food.”

The Mirror

 

Where you sit also could be a game changer, if the flight isn’t at capacity. Cierra said: “Normally if our flight isn’t full, we have to move people for weight and balance purposes. That being said, normally all aircrafts are tail-heavy, so if we have to move people up to the front, where do you think we’re going to take them from? The back.”

 

 

 

 

Don’t ask cabin crews directly

Another flight attendant who wishes to remain anonymous (for good reasons) recently spilt the beans on how to go about getting a free upgrade. The ex-cabin crew worker said that passengers should NOT ask flight attendants if they can get a better seat. Flight attendants are programmed to prevent anybody from moving up from economy to business or first class. Your best bet, according to the cabin crew member, is to find opportunities for upgrades before you board the plane.

 

Getting upgraded while in the cabin by asking a flight attendant is about as likely as going on a trip to the Moon, she says. But checking in late could tilt the odds in your favour. If you check in late and find that the economy cabin is full, staff will try to find space for you anywhere on the plane, including first class.

 

You may find, therefore, that checking in late means that you stand a higher chance of getting that coveted upgrade. However, you run the risk of missing your plane altogether.

 

Don’t try to cheat the system

Some flyers decide to get their seat upgraded through different methods. Instead of going down the legitimate route by finding clever tricks to boost their chances of an upgrade, they sneak into the premium cabin mid-flight uninvited.

 

Most people who do this believe that cabin staff don’t care about who sits where. As long as everyone is safe and well-fed, they’re happy. But while the cabin crew themselves aren’t usually that bothered where people sit, the same can’t be said of their employers.

 

Premium seating is critical to airlines, and they now train cabin staff to sniff out illegitimate seat upgrades like police sniffer dogs, ensuring that the airline caste system remains firmly in place. People who get caught trying to upgrade themselves when uninvited stand the chance of being thrown off the flight. Premium seating is a gold mine for airlines. Sometimes they can charge up to ten times as much for a premium seat as they do for an economy. People who buy first-class seating effectively subsidise the rest of the passengers on the flight, allowing airlines to make fatter profits and offer economy customers lower prices.

 

 

 

Auther

Louise Boxall

Louise has 10 years experience in Travel Journalism, Blog Writing and Research in the Travel Insurance sector. Louise’s goal is to provide interesting, informative articles on subjects we know will interest our customers.

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