How to Get Upgraded to First Class: Secrets from Frequent Flyers

Upgrading your economy ticket can be a smart move for enjoying the perks and amenities of premium travel. If you're interested in learning how to get upgraded to First Class without breaking the bank, this blog will help you equip yourself with some tips to upgrade your seat on either domestic or international flights, to help you plan your future trip.

Flying First Class can be a luxurious experience that takes your air travel to the next level. For starters, you'll have more legroom, wider seats, and increased reclining for maximum relaxation. You can also enjoy personalised service from attentive flight attendants who cater to your every need.

But how do you increase your chances of scoring an upgrade on your next flight? With these expert tips, you can improve your odds of getting upgraded without overspending.

From joining the airline's loyalty program to dressing appropriately and arriving early, many strategies can help you get noticed and potentially upgraded.

First-Class Treatment: Discover the Benefits of Flying First Class

Flying First Class is more than just a means of transportation. It's a luxurious indulgence that allows you to pamper yourself with the utmost relaxation and care. It all starts at your first step entering the airport.

First-Class Treatment Discover the Benefits of Flying First Class

The First-Class Treatment is an exceptional and personalised experience. Photo by VanderWolf Images on

  • Easier time boarding and disembarking

One of the many perks a first-class flyer get is a priority boarding pass, which means you can beat the crowds and get to your seat faster. Similarly, you are among the first group to get off the plane. You will have less time waiting and more time for your planned activities.

  • Exclusive lounges and spacious seats

Once you're on board, you'll notice the spacious seats designed for maximum comfort. You can freely use exclusive lounges with comfortable seating, free food and drinks, and even spa services on occasion. It helps avoid crowds and relax before your flight.

  • Personalised service

The real difference in First Class is the service. Flight attendants will cater to your every need, offering gourmet meals, top-shelf drinks, and even designer pyjamas. You'll feel like royalty as they attend to your every request.

  • In-flight entertainment

First-class passengers are in for a treat. Accessing a wide range of blockbuster movies, binge-worthy TV shows, and captivating documentaries is free. Whether you're in the mood for action, romance, or comedy, there's always a broad range of options.

Is it worth it? If you are flying on a short haul, you won’t get to make the in-flight perks. However, you still have access to additional luggage allowance, lounge access, etc. But when you are up in the air for a long period, the value is insane. A roomy legroom and reclined seat alone are worth it.

Upgrade Your Air Travel: 10 Tips to Score a First-Class Seat

Our destination is ideal for those seeking a luxurious air travel experience. We've got the inside scoop on how to score a first-class seat and take your journey to the next level. 

With our ten expert tips, you'll be living it up in the lap of luxury and enjoying all the posh perks that come with it. Take advance of this exciting opportunity to upgrade your travel game.

Join airline loyalty programs

Joining airline loyalty programs is a smart way to earn priority boarding and other benefits. Photo by fabrikasimf on Freepik.

If you're a frequent flyer, joining airline loyalty programs can be your ticket to flying First Class. These programs are designed to reward loyal customers with exclusive benefits, such as free upgrades.

Passengers without elite status has been (seemingly randomly) selected for first class upgrade. But that’s a thing of the past, cases like that are exceedingly rare now. Your best bet is still achieving elite status. Royalty pays; remember that. 

Loyalty programs are easy to join and usually free of charge. Simply visit the airline's website and sign up for the program. Upon joining, you can start earning points straight away as a member. Membership is free; the more you fly, the more points you earn.

Signing up for these programs allows you to earn points and miles for each flight that can be redeemed for a range of benefits, such as first-class upgrades.

In addition to earning points, loyalty program members receive other benefits, such as priority boarding, lounge access, and free baggage allowances.

Volunteer to be bumped

In rare cases, a flight is overbooked. If they need to bump someone, they'll usually offer incentives like travel vouchers or upgrades on the next available flight.

Volunteering to be bumped can be a great way to get upgraded to First Class without spending a fortune. While it's not guaranteed, many airlines will offer upgrades to volunteers as a way to thank them for their flexibility and willingness to help out.

If you're interested in trying this strategy, be sure to let the gate agent know that you're willing to be bumped and ask about any incentives that might be available. And remember, the more flexible you are with your travel arrangements, the more likely you will receive an upgrade!

Use offers from your credit cards

Many credit card companies provide rewards programs that enable you to earn points or miles that can be used for travel upgrades or other benefits.

You may experience the luxury of First Class without paying for it out of pocket by taking advantage of these incentive schemes. Additionally, if you use your credit card frequently, you may earn even more benefits and score even greater upgrades!

To get started, consider registering for a credit card with rewards corresponding to your travel goals. Then, start racking up those rewards and redeem them for the upgrade of your trip!

Book flights during off-peak times

Even if you don't get the upgrade, you'll still have saved money on your ticket. Photo by on Freepik. 

If the cost of upgrading to First Class seems prohibitive, you can still achieve the upgrade you deserve by booking your flights during off-peak times. 

When airlines have fewer passengers during off-peak times, they often have more empty seats in First Class than they can fill. Airlines sometimes offer upgrades to passengers who have booked economy-class tickets to ensure these seats are used. 

Booking flights during off-peak times will not only boost your chances of earning an upgrade, but it will also save you money on your ticket. Airlines often offer lower fares during off-peak times to entice travellers to book their flights during these less popular times.

Give it a shot and see how it works for you! With some luck and careful planning, you could find yourself sipping champagne in First Class on your next flight.

Check for available upgrades online 

What if someone told you that you could get upgraded to First Class on your next flight simply by checking online for available upgrades? It's true!

Most airlines offer the option to check for available upgrades online before your flight. Doing so lets you see if any first-class seats are available and upgrade your ticket for a fraction of the cost. It's like finding treasure in the clouds!

Not only may you enjoy the pleasure of first-class travel, but you can also do it at a discount. Checking for available upgrades online is a savvy traveller's secret weapon. So why not give it a try and see if you can turn your next flight into a five-star experience? Who knows, you may even feel like royalty soaring through the clouds!

Another way is purchasing a coach seat and upgrading to the first class with your points/miles or additional pay. It’s not exactly a way to upgrade to first class for free. But done right, this route can be the most cost-effective method to see what you’ve been missing on.

Consider late flight offers

Sometimes, airlines may request passengers to take a later flight due to overbooking or other reasons. In such cases, if you are not constrained by time, consider volunteering to take the later flight, as it could lead to a chance to upgrade to First Class without any additional charges. 

The delay in your travel plans could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as you get to experience the luxury and exclusivity of the business class. So, don't hesitate to seize this opportunity and make the most of it to elevate your travel experience.

Arrive early for check-in

Arriving early for check-in can increase your chances of getting upgraded to First Class. Photo by wavebreakmedia_micro on Freepik. 

Arriving early for check-in could be the perfect strategy for you to elevate your flying experience to the next level. You increase your chances of being upgraded to First Class by showing up at the airport well before your scheduled departure time.

Usually, only limited seats are available in business class on every flight. By arriving early for check-in, you might be in the right place at the right time to receive this coveted upgrade. 

Bid for an upgrade

Some airlines offer passengers the chance to bid for an upgrade to First Class, and the highest bidder will be rewarded with a coveted seat. Usually, 72 hours before takeoff, you’ll receive an email offering you the chance, or you can check if you can bid on the airline’s website.

Think of it as a thrilling auction. Except instead of a painting or a rare collectable, you could be bidding for a priceless experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.

And the best part is you don't need to be a frequent flyer or have any special connections to win this upgrade. All you need is the willingness to bid the highest amount.

Buy individual tickets for group travels

Are you hoping to fly with your loved ones? While it's natural to want to sit together, purchasing individual tickets can increase your chances of a first-class upgrade.

If airlines need to bump passengers, those travelling alone or in smaller groups are typically prioritised. By purchasing individual tickets, you give yourself the best chance of securing that coveted upgrade for yourself or a lucky member of your group.

Dress Well and Be Nice 

Dressing well and being nice impresses the crew, increasing the upgrade chance. Photo by wavebreakmedia_micro on Freepik.

Don't let outdated advice fool you - airline staff are human beings. Dressing well and being nice can make a positive impression on the people around you. Your efforts won't go unnoticed; that coveted upgrade could be just “a smile” away. 

Airline staff deal with all kinds of passengers, some of whom can be difficult or demanding. By being friendly and polite and showing appreciation for their work, you can stand out as a considerate and respectful passenger.

This can make it more likely that they will want to help you and provide you with an upgraded seat if one is available.

Put your best foot forward and watch the magic happen as airline staff take note of your effort and appreciation. Who knows? That first-class upgrade might just be waiting for you.


How much is an upgrade to first-class?

Upgrading to First Class can seem daunting, but it's easy and less expensive than you might think. The cost of an upgrade to First Class varies based on the airline, the route, and the availability of seats.

One option for upgrading to first-class is frequent flyer miles or loyalty program points. If you have accumulated sufficient miles or points, you can upgrade to first-class at a discounted rate or even for free.

Another option is to purchase a first-class upgrade directly from the airline. Some airlines offer upgrades for a flat fee, while others base the cost on the difference between the price of your original ticket and the first-class fare.

It's essential to keep in mind that first-class upgrades are only sometimes available, especially during peak travel times or on popular routes. However, with some planning and flexibility, you may snag an upgrade at a reasonable price and enjoy all the luxurious benefits of flying First Class.

Can I get upgraded to First Class if I have a connecting flight?

The answer is yes, but it depends. Airlines are always looking to fill empty seats and may offer an upgrade if available. However, it's not a guarantee, and it's best to ask at the check-in counter or gate agent.

If you're a frequent flyer or have elite status with the airline, your chances of getting upgraded increase significantly. Airlines often prioritise upgrades for their most loyal customers, so it's worth mentioning your status when requesting an upgrade.

Ultimately, it's worth asking about an upgrade, even if it appears unlikely to happen. The worst that may happen is that you'll be told no, but you might wind up with an unforgettable first-class experience.

Does my frequent flyer status affect my chances of getting upgraded to First Class?

The better your frequent flyer status, the greater the likelihood of being upgraded to First Class - Photo by Lifestylememory on Freepik

As a frequent flyer, you may wonder if your status increases your chances of getting upgraded to First Class. Yes, it does, and a lot. Airlines prioritise their most loyal customers and will often upgrade them first.

The amount to which your frequent flyer status influences your chances of being promoted to First Class, however, is determined by a number of factors. These include the airline's regulations, the availability of first-class seats, and the number of other frequent flyers seeking an upgrade.

Generally, the greater your frequent flyer status, the more likely you are to get upgraded to First Class. But even if you don't have top-tier status, there are ways to increase your chances, such as arriving early for check-in, dressing professionally, and politely asking the gate agent if any upgrades are available.

So if you're a frequent flyer looking to experience the luxury of First Class, keep your status in mind. Use these tips to increase your chances of snagging an upgrade.

The Secret to First-Class Upgrade Success 

And that’s all we have to say about how to get upgraded to first class. Getting there may not always be easy, but it's worth a shot. While it's true that having elite status or using points can increase your chances of an upgrade, don't discount the power of simply asking.

Remember, the worst they can say is no. If things don’t go as you want, don't let it ruin your travel experience. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to enjoy your travels.

Make the most of your flight and savour every moment, no matter where your seat is. Flying is a privilege and an adventure, so embrace it with enthusiasm and curiosity. So pack your bags, strap in, and prepare for your next journeys.

Phi Nguyen


  • Harry Mcghee

    I was in LA airport had just completed a cruise to Mexico. After sitting about for hours and getting very restless thinking of the long flight to the uk I asked a worker at the desk what the chances of a upgrade she asked to see my tickets and commented that there was some availability but I had to wait till another desk opened in 30 mins.

    When I seen movement I went too the desk and spoke to the employee who looked at our 4 tickets and said good news you can upgrade to first class for £200 I said that’s good is that each he said £50 each so I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and we had to suffer fillet steak and champers for this 13 hr flight so the moral is be brave and ask the question politely.
    Ps my wife said this is the way I would prefer to fly in future, but I’m afraid it was our first and last first class.

  • Arline Payne

    Best advice ever. After 40 years as a travel agent and parent of airline employee I fully agree with all. Hopefully, some will follow and make traveling civil again.

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