For many people, the best things in life are free. And, for some travellers, that means trying their luck by asking for a free flight upgrade. In the past, a number of lucky passengers have scooped themselves an even better onboard experience – without parting with any more of their hard-earned cash. That comes down to whether or not they’re able to be granted the complementary move to either first or business class.
However, there’s much debate about who, when, and how you should ask for this – as well as whether you should even pose the question at all.
According to one flight attendant, there is a good time to ask – and that’s as you board the plane.
Australian flight attendant James shared some words of advice on going about the request, on the radio show Kyle & Jackie O.
During the programme, he explained that it is often the flight attendants who choose whether to give out an upgrade.
“It’s not when you are checking in, they’re all on their computers and they’re traced and everything – we have the power,” he said.
However, James revealed that this can be “frowned upon”.
With hundreds of passengers often boarding a flight, how can you make your request for an upgrade stand out?
Well, according to James, there’s a very simple – and important – thing that you should do.
Passengers who are kind to the staff in the aircraft, are more likely to be favoured for any possible upgrades, he said, adding: “It’s really simple, it’s not hard.
“Hundreds of people come past us and shove their boarding passes in our faces.”
James continued: “If you go, ‘How are you, are you having a good morning?’ We remember you. 98 per cent of people don’t, they don’t care. They’re on their phone.”
Treasure Elise, a flight attendant, told TIME: “The gate agents are the ones that handle the seating arrangements.”
Another trick you could try is to bring the team some gifts for the onboard crew and gate agents.
These goodies must be bought and kept in original packaging in order for it to be safe on the aircraft.
However, should you not land a stroke of good luck and get the upgrade, it’s worth remembering that this may not be down to the way you asked – the seats may have simply not been available.