10 Effective Ways To Get An Upgrade To First Class

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First class tickets can make travelling so much easier. Especially on the long haul flights: the extra space, the more comfortable chairs and the additional services make it so much better. However, tickets for first class are extremely expensive. Luckily there’s another way of getting a first class ticket and that’s to be upgraded from economy to first class. This is how you get an upgrade to first class!

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I would love to fly first class but I’m not really willing to pay for it. They can be four times the coach fare and that’s just really expensive. It might be worth it if you have a very long flight, but it’s definitely a lot of money if you only have a short flight. Let’s look at the ways to higher our chances of getting a seat upgrade to first class!

How To Get An Upgrade To First Class in 2021

Dress appropriately

Airlines prefer to upgrade people who look more professional and business-like. You have a better chance of getting upgraded if you dress like this! More than if you’d wear a sweater and yoga pants for example. I must say that the yoga pants and sweater are usually my more go to outfit because it is so damn comfy! Need to spice it up for my next flight. 

Read more: What To Do If You Have A Delayed Or Cancelled Flight

Fly with the same airline and join their loyalty program

Most airlines have a loyalty program where you’ll get points every time you fly with the airline. Some airlines are part of a larger airline alliance like SkyTeam which makes it easier to get your points. The more points you get, the higher the rewards and the higher the chance of getting a seat upgrade based on your loyalty points! It is always worth it to join the loyalty program of your favorite airline. 

Ask for the upgrade

I mean, sometimes you just gotta go for it and straight up ask if it’s possible to get upgraded. Definitely do this in a kind and professional way and don’t get upset if it’s not possible. The gate agents get a lot of stressed and upset people at their desk, so be a little nice and smile if you’re asking someone. Just ask if they’re upgrading passengers and that you would like to be considered for the upgrade. They might be really nice, have a free spot, and will actually upgrade you! 

Solo travelling

This is not a surprise. You have a higher chance of getting the upgrade if you’re a solo traveller. Most free seats are limited and they may not have two seats available if you’re travelling with another person. If you’re alone, they are more likely to give you the upgrade.

Read more: What To Do During A Long Layover 

view from airplane window during sunset, clouds, luxury travel

Be the early bird at the gate

Most upgrades happen at the gate, because they know how many free seats they have. If you’re early, you have the best chance of getting one of those seats. Simply because you are one of the first ones there! Arrive a little earlier at the check in desk and your gate to increase your chances of getting upgraded to first class. 

Choose your flight wisely

As strange as it sounds, you’re more likely to get upgraded when the flight is full. Airlines rarely do upgrades when half of the plane is empty. If you have a full flight, chances are it’s even overbooked as well. Flight attendants and gate agents are more likely to upgrade people to first class to accommodate everyone and have happy passengers. 

Do the online check-in

This sometimes works! Most airlines have the online check-in option available 24 hours before departure. Some airlines give the option to upgrade to first class for a reduced price, some might still be expensive and others are actually not that expensive. If all those seats get taken during the online check-in, there’s no need to be asking for an upgrade because those seats are all full. 

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view over the mountains and crystal blue water from the airplane

Check your seat

Always nice to do a little check when you sit down. Check your arm rests and see if you can adjust them, check if your seat goes into relax mode and check if your tray table and seat belt are in a good working condition. This is important for safety and the flight attendants might give you another seat located in first class! Always let the flight attendant know if any of these functions are broken.

Talk about your exciting trip

Don’t we all love a bit of storytelling? Speak up if you have an exciting trip coming up, like an anniversary, a honeymoon or if you’re moving to a new country for example. The gate agents and flight attendants love to connect with us as passengers and those stories might be motivating enough to grant you the upgrade!

Get a more undesired seat

I’m sure we all hate to have the middle seat or to sit next to a crying baby. It’s just not the comfiest position. Especially the middle seat when you’re travelling solo, it feels a bit awkward and it’s not the best seat. When everyone has boarded the plane and there are still a few empty spots in first class, flight attendants will look around to see who can have an upgrade. Most people in these more uncomfortable situations will get the upgrade! 

Read more: The Ultimate City Trip Carry On Essentials

If you don’t get the upgrade and you’re next to a crying baby or child: be nice to the parents and I highly recommend to always fly with noise cancelling headphones. They will save the day.

Honestly, you have to be lucky if you want to get a seat upgrade. However, all these tips will definitely increase your chance of being upgraded to first class. Let’s be honest here and say that economy seats are fine as well. Unless you have the middle seat like I said, that’s just a horrible seat to have. I will definitely be using these tips for my next flight and try to get the upgrade! 

Have you ever had an upgrade to first class? 

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10 proven tips to get upgraded to first class, get an upgrade to first class, how to get into first class, luxury travel
10 proven tips to get upgraded to first class, get an upgrade to first class, how to get into first class, luxury travel


  1. Interesting that you are more likely to get an upgrade if the flight is full! I never considered that, but you’re right, it does make sense!

    I have only been upgraded once. It made me sooo happy, but I would never expect it to happen again!

  2. This is so interesting! I never knew that those people who were sitting in the most undesirable seats could get upgraded. It’s definiely a risk, but if it pays off that would be amazing. These are great tips that I am definitely going to try!

  3. Every time I catch a flight I always hope that this will happen!! I always think I have a good chance being a solo traveller but I never dress well so that’s probably where I’m going wrong haha. Some great tips I’ll have to bear in mind for next time!

  4. Interesting tips, my favourite being the most obvious – just ask for it. None of it has ever worked for me (and I am not risking the last one for fear it will fail and I am stuck in the middle).

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