Travel Hacks

How To Get Free Flight Upgrades: A Guide

By DeAnna Taylor


Airlines have been busy reducing their economy fares, especially with the addition of the basic economy fare class. However, trying to get a first-class or business-class seat at a low price is not the usual.


While it may not be common, it’s definitely not impossible. Check out this guide on how to score free flight upgrades during your next flight.


Related: US Citizens Will Soon Be Able To Cut Lines At London Airport.


Use the special occasion excuse

Some gate agents have a soft spot for those flying for special reasons. Whether it’s for a honeymoon, birthday, or anniversary, gate agents will sometimes provide passengers with free perks because of it. It is best to arrive at your gate early to speak with the agent rather than doing it right before boarding.


Volunteer to give up your seat.

Many airlines oversell seats. On the day of the flight, they will ask for people to give up their seat in exchange for vouchers and other perks. If you have the flexibility, volunteer to fly on a later flight. In addition to the voucher offered, negotiate for other flight upgrades for your wait.


Bid on upgrades through the airline website.

When airlines are unable to sell out their premium seats, they will allow economy passengers to bid for an upgrade. It is best to submit a low bid as opposed to a high one, so you don’t end up overpaying. This option is not available for every airline so check the website or call customer service first.


Use your airline miles.

This is not exactly free, but it saves you money. If you already purchased an economy ticket and decide you want a little more comfort, you can use your airline miles to upgrade to a premium class. Each airline, route, and destination will vary on the amount, just ask.


Related: New York Airports Hope To Provide Better Experience With Free WIFI.


Look for a glitch fare.

As mentioned in our piece, How To Take Advantage Of Glitch Fares: A Guide, travelers can luck up on significantly reduced fares through glitches. You will simply need to follow flight deal sites for this one and there is no pattern for how often business-class or first-class errors may pop up. Just be ready for when they do.

Travel Noire

DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.

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