Have you noticed that some people seem to get upgraded to business class much more regularly than you do? What you may not know is that there are people who are higher in the priority list when an upgrade becomes available – and knowing who is entitled to an upgrade could help you to position yourself in just the right situation to be eligible.
If you want to get upgraded in any airline, the first thing that makes you most eligible is to be a card-carrying member of that airline’s frequent flyer club. This automatically tells the airline that you’re a regular customer and in some cases that will mean that if they have the space to do so they’ll offer you a free business class upgrade that you don’t need to use your frequent flyer miles to purchase.
Bear in mind that most frequent flyer clubs have various ‘tiers’ of membership depending on how regular a customer the person is. Being on a higher tier will give you a better chance of getting upgraded – naturally.
Another situation in which free business class upgrades are handed out are on oversold flights where people who bought full priced tickets are more eligible for ‘courtesy’ upgrades on account that they paid more than everyone else.
However in most airlines this is a toss of. Some airlines may very well upgrade their top tier frequent flyers first, and only afterwards upgrade full-price ticket holders, while others do things the other way around.
Sometimes small things can also carry weight when an airline is deciding who to upgrade. A traveler who is wearing a suit and looks like a business traveler is considered an easier upgrade to business class than one who is dressed in casual sweatpants.
Similarly, sometimes it could just be something as simple as a smile and an airline agent might be inclined to offer you the upgrade.
Occasionally when flights are overbooked airlines will offer to put up passengers in a hotel and fly them out on the next flight on a free business class upgrade if they agree to give up their seat on that flight. Again, these offers only come around once in a while – and they’re generally available to anyone and everyone who agrees.
Now that you know how some people are more entitled to free business class upgrades it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to take the necessary steps to qualify. If you do fly frequently then joining the frequent flyers club of the airline that you fly is definitely going to pay off, and it should be the best step to take at this stage.