We all hate flying economy, right? Like, there isn't one of you that enjoys being cramped up next to strangers breathing the air of 100s of other people? If this describes you, then maybe you aren't interested in this post. But if you are a sane person, listen up! I'm sharing a few tips from experiences I have had getting bumped up to luxury in the sky plus all the perks you should definitely take advantage of!
Ways To Get An Upgrade
1. Offer Up Your Seat On An Overbooked Flight
Once on a flight home from Germany our layover in Newark got cancelled, and we were rebooked on a flight the next day. The problem was that flight got overbooked and the airline was offering $500 United dollars to give up your seat and be rebooked. They made this announcement multiple times so we went up to the desk and offered to give up our seats if they could upgrade us, and they did! Not only did we get $1000 in United airline dollars between us but we flew first class from Newark to LAX, which was great! We actually used those airline dollars to book another first class flight.
2. Stay Loyal To One Airline
We fly Southwest, which is a great airline with an awesome rewards system, but they have open seating that does not offer a first class cabin. However staying loyal to another airline (ie United, Delta, American) can also have it perks in that you can be provided random upgrades when the flights are not fully booked, or are at the top of the list for upgrades at the gate.
3. Inquire At Check In
If you are looking to hopefully catch a break at the airport for a last minute upgrade, make sure to ask at the check in counter. Either they can put you at the top of the upgrade stand by list, or they are offering automatic upgrades at a much more discounted price. We have been offered upgrades for underbooked flights for as cheap as $200, which was much less than the difference between first and economy when purchasing the ticket.
4. Military, First Responders, Teachers, Nurses, Etc. Can Get First Dibs
Once when I was a teenager and flying solo, I was unlucky enough to have lost my drivers license (later found it under a table, presumably swatted under by the family cat that had it out for me) so when I checked in for my flight at the airport the only ID I had to use was my military ID, as I was a dependent of my dad's at the time. And they were so nice they offered me an upgrade! **I made sure to tell them I was not active duty but just a dependent** I have also heard at the gate airline employees offering upgrades to military or other public service jobs so it never hurts to have your ID on you!
5. Exceptionally Unsavory Seatmates
Once when I was younger and flying with my mom we were unfortunate enough to have been seated by a women with motion sickness (enough detail) so we were nicely moved by the flight attendant to two open seats in first class! I am definitely not promoting the use of lying, but if you are seated next to someone with unsavory traits (use your imagination) it never hurts to kindly and discretely bring up the issue with a flight attendant. Who knows!
6. Open An Airline Credit Card
Let me preface this by saying you need to be honest with yourself and your self control before opening a credit card. If you have a hard time restraining yourself with a high credit limit this step definitely isn't for you because the interest will kill you and make any perks you obtain mute. But many airlines offer point bonuses and annual upgrades. Plus you can use them for every day purchases so it is easy to get points!
The good stuff! If you have flown economy enough you may just think that the best part of flying first class is the nicer seat and more space, but there is a lot more!
-Most larger airports will have lounges for major airlines which are free to business and first class passengers. (You can also pay to have a lounge pass if you are not flying business or first) There are typically big comfy seats and lounging areas, free food and drinks (including alcohol!), and sometimes even showers! I have never actually gotten to experience airline lounges (:() but have lived vicariously through hubby when he flew business for work. He said the food was good and it was a nice, relaxing way to wait for a flight or kill a layover.
-Another perk I have seen at all airports is an expedited line through security for first class passengers. Make sure to look out for this because it always looks shorter and faster!
- If you have your first class ticket ahead of time, some airlines (particularly international) will offer complimentary shuttle to and from the airport within a certain mile distance. Forget expensive parking and/or waiting for a shuttle or ride!
- Look out for your bag once you arrive because it will be given priority to be unloaded :D
- Plus, if you did not get enough to eat and drink at the lounge, there will be food and more drinks once you are actually on the plane! When we flew from Newark to LA, we got a steak for dinner and were offered a menu of ice cream toppings to create our ideal sundae for dessert!
Live for luxury? No trust fund, no problem!
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finer things in life, sans millions.
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- Marie Claire, September 2016