Fight attendant hack: Passengers should avoid popular clothing to ‘up chances of upgrade’ | Travel News | Travel

Fight attendant hack: Passengers should avoid popular clothing to ‘up chances of upgrade’ | Travel News | Travel

Travel expert and CEO at Stasher, Jacob Wedderburn-Day, shared with his best tips to be upgraded to first class without spending an extra pound, and according to the expert, one of the most effective ways is “just asking for it”.

Jacob explained: “As the saying goes, if you don’t ask you don’t get. It may seem obvious but simply asking is the best first step in getting an upgrade. Often airlines overbook economy seats to make sure every flight is full and making money.

“They gamble on not everyone showing up, but sometimes they are left with too many travellers for the available seats. When you check in, tell the attendant that you’re interested in an upgrade. You can always ask again at the gate if they say there’s no chance. The worst they can say is no.”

Passengers should be “polite and humble”, which according to the expert, is “key” to getting bumped up.

He said: “You don’t want to come across as demanding or entitled. Be friendly and let them know that you would really appreciate an upgrade, especially if it is a special occasion. This won’t always result in an upgrade, but you may possibly get a free glass of champagne and some special in-flight treatment.”

READ MORE: Passengers should ‘avoid’ certain clothing if they want free upgrade

The travel expert also advised passengers to “dress the part,” especially if they are planning to ask the flight attendant for an upgrade.

Jacob said that “for paying customers in first class there are certain rules around looking presentable” meaning those who want to be moved to first class will also have to dress the part.

Dressing well doesn’t mean travellers need to wear a three-piece suit, or a dress fit for Ascot, according to the expert, but “you should avoid wearing anything too casual like sportswear”.

Based on the expert’s experience, sportswear such as loungewear, gym shorts, hoodies or leggings, which are very popular items of clothing and what passengers often wear to fly, should be avoided at all costs on a plane. He concluded: “Smart casual will do the trick if you want to up your chances of securing an upgrade.”


Checking-in early at the airport desk is also essential to boost the chances to get an upgrade because if the flight is overbooked, passengers can negotiate a first-class seat with the check-in desk agent.

However, it is important travellers don’t check in online first and before they head off to the airport, they should check the page where they can reserve a seat.

“This will show you how full your flight is (and the risk of seats being overbooked) which you can then bring up with the person at the check-in desk,” Jacob explained.

If the flight reaches full capacity once the in-person check-in has begun, the airline may need to bump someone to first class, and they will likely choose someone who is already checked in.

READ MORE: Pilot urges elderly passengers to avoid window seat as higher risk

Another tactic to get bumped up on the plane is to always choose the middle seat, which is the worst seat. Flight attendants will likely pick passengers seating in a middle seat for an upgrade instead of people in a window seat or in the emergency exit row with extra legroom.

Jacob explained: “If you don’t like the uncertainty of waiting until a few hours before your flight to check in, then make sure to select the middle seat.

“Airlines are more likely to upgrade passengers who are sitting in the middle seat as this is generally considered the least desirable place to sit. So, if you don’t mind being wedged between two other people, it might pay off to book those seats.”

Jacob urged passengers not to pre-order a special meal if they want to increase their chances of an upgrade as planes carry the exact amount of vegetarian, vegan and other special meals requested on board so the passengers’ chosen option may not be available in first class.

He stated: “If you order a special in-flight meal in advance, you may destroy your upgrade potential. Flights rarely carry more food than they need, especially for higher-class seats whose food is more expensive. Consider bringing your own food on board if you’re serious about sitting in a better class,” the travel expert recommended.

According to Jacob, the time passengers travel can also affect the chances of getting an upgrade on the plane, as if the flight is empty, there is no need to offer an upgrade.

He explained: “Airlines are more likely to offer upgrades when the flight is full or close to capacity.

“This means that you’re more likely to get an upgrade if you travel during peak times, such as school holidays or weekends. You’re also more likely to get an upgrade if you’re flying on a popular route. Still, be aware that the airlines may charge more for an upgrade during these periods too.”

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Author: Shirley