Experienced flight attendant Miguel Muñoz shared how passengers should ask for an upgrade on a flight and advised them to always be “nice and honest”.
He explained that generally, when passengers “politely” ask for better seats, “I move them to the overwings [seats by the emergency exit with extra legroom]”.
However, he warned that holidaymakers should “be careful” and “not lie” about the reason why they need extra legroom, as it could have “the opposite effect”.
This is because “if you say you have a bad knee, for example, I have to be careful with these people as passengers seating by emergency exits are the ones who have to assist the crew in case of an emergency,” the flight attendant explained.
Miguel said that travellers who are not “fit” to operate the emergency exits because they have an injury, for instance, are not allowed to be seated in the emergency exit row, “so it won’t work”.
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Instead, he recommended travellers be honest, “don’t be dramatic”, and suggested what passengers should say to be bumped to first class.
“Just be honest. If you don’t have any pain, simply say ‘Hey if you guys had any seats available in the emergency exit row could you let me know?’ and I will.”
“This is the trick: make it easy for the crew. Maybe say ‘Listen if you don’t mind me seating in the overwings if there is space available, I have been seated there before, I know how it works, I’m happy seating there’.
“Then I know that person is comfortable seating there, operating the exit, knows that everything needs to be placed in the overhead compartment etc. So make it easier for the crew, basically.
“And of course, when we have passengers who are very tall and need more space or people who nicely ask for it because they just want to be more comfortable; if the seats are free, I definitely move them.”
The flight attendant added: “If it’s true that you have a bad leg, fair enough (although you won’t be seating in the overwings!).
“But don’t lie about it because probably you don’t know it but it won’t benefit you. The other day a passenger said he had hip pain and he wanted to have extra legroom.
“Unfortunately, because of that, I couldn’t move him to the emergency exit but I moved him to the last row which was completely empty.”
Another trick to be moved to first class or to get better seats on the plane for free involves bringing treats for the crew, such as Toblerone or Cadbury, as Miguel previously explained.