The simple tricks that could score you a free upgrade to business class.

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Finally, it’s your turn to approach the check-in desk. You hand over your passport and ticket details. And then comes the news you’ve been dreaming about: you’ve scored an upgrade to Business Class, or even First Class.

Champagne all the way!

Read Skyscanner Australia’s tips on how you to get a free upgrade to business class on your next flight. Don’t say we didn’t share…

1. Be a frequent flyer.

Free flight upgrades are harder to get than they used to be. And who are airlines most likely to upgrade? Well, these days, they almost always choose someone who has achieved a high tier status in their company’s frequent flyer scheme. The more air miles you get, the better chance you have of working your way up into a higher tier.

So, to play your trump card, start collecting!

One free upgrade, comin' right up. (Universal Pictures)

2. Dress to impress.

Airlines usually give free upgrades to people because the cabin is overbooked. And while it’s more likely the computer will choose someone based on their frequent flyer status, you still might get a look in on some airlines if you are dressed to the nines. So, ditch those scruffy jeans and the t-shirt with last night’s dinner stains down the front. Instead, polish those shoes and wear your Sunday best.

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3. Be nice!

Check-in staff don’t have the easiest job in the world. They are often working shifts and have to put up with a lot of grumpy passengers.

So, make their day and have your best manners on show. Arrive at the desk with your brightest smile and a stock of polite comments. Follow this by simply asking if you can have a business class upgrade. Flattery could get you everywhere, and in style.

Listen: The Mamamia Out Loud team share their travel health horror stories(Post continues below).

4. Mention an important occasion.

Mentioning to the check-in person that you are flying because it’s your birthday, or wedding anniversary, or honeymoon, can occasionally work wonders too. It’s not guaranteed, but playing on their heart strings can result in a business class flight.

5. Bid for an upgrade.

Some airlines, such as Qantas, have a new system in place where you can bid on an upgrade using cash and points. It’s designed for those who don’t have enough points yet to ask for an upgrade on points alone. Only some frequent flyer passengers will be offered the chance, a week or so before the flight leaves. Qantas lets you know if you’ve been successful 24 hours before take off.

prepare for a long flight
Solo passengers have a much better chance of an upgrade to business class than a travelling clan. Image via iStock.

Singapore Airlines has also recently introduced its online bidding system, mySQupgrade, which allows Krisflyer members to upgrade to Singapore Airline's premium economy seats.

6. Travel alone.

It’s one thing hoping to get an upgrade if you are a solo traveller and another thing entirely if you have your partner and three kids in tow. Solo passengers have a much better chance of an upgrade to business class than a travelling clan.

7. Volunteer to be bumped.

Sometimes aircraft are overbooked and something has to give. Airlines can sometimes ask for volunteers to miss their flight and go on a later one. It might not be convenient, but if you don’t mind too much you might be able to negotiate for a guaranteed upgrade.

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8. Find the right time to fly.

School holidays or Christmas? Forget the upgrade. There’s no point in even thinking about one if the flight’s totally full. That said, other busy times of the year can pay dividends, because while cattle class can fill up, there might be some seats left in Business Class. If the flight’s only half full, there’s not much incentive for the check-in staff to upgrade anyone.

This post originally appeared on Skyscanner Australia and was republished here with full permission. To read the original article, go here. Skyscanner Australia is a leading travel search engine, comparing millions of prices from airlines and online travel agencies to help travellers find the best deal on their flights, hotels and car hire with no added fees. You can also find Skyscanner Australia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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