Economy passengers get crowded overhead bins and grumpy seatmates while they get great food and chirpy service.
The curtain that separates First/Business Class with Economy is more than a physical divide. The gaps within America’s classes of wealth have never been more distinct than in a commercial aircraft. The masses suffer while the elite receive an almost unattainable comfort.
Even if your wallet says you don’t belong in First Class, there’s an art to securing an that elusive, fleeting upgrade, Delta Airlines program manager Rebecca Simon told the Huffington Post.
Think about how many angry/rude/entitled passengers gate attendants come in contact with every day. If you’re polite and understanding instead, you’ll stand out for not standing out. The first step to being considered for an upgrade is an easy temperament.
Are you being realistic about your chances of being upgraded? Use common sense to take the temperature of the situation. If it’s a full flight between major hubs, space in the front of the aircraft will likely be limited.
Keep in mind that having some sort of frequent flier status significantly ups your chances of getting bumped to first. With a lack thereof, discreetly let the attendant know that you’d be interested in anything available. Although it seems obvious, the difference between those who want upgrades and those who get them is letting the appropriate person know.
Don’t make a show of it, though. Copycats will soon notice, and you can kiss goodbye to whatever slim chance you had.
No matter how comfortable, hoodies and Uggs are never going to cut it in the ritzier classes. Attendants look for well-dressed people to upgrade. You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit, but First class cabins house the most frequent business travelers, so it’ll help if you look like one.
Traveling in a pair, or worse, as a family? Forget the First Class seat altogether. Unless you’re willing to leave them behind, that is. While one may be the loneliest number, it’s also the best for getting upgraded.
Be a Wallflower
Don’t pester the crew after the initial approach. Keep a low profile, but you want to remain visible to the gate agent so that he or she doesn’t forget about you. Getting you a free upgrade isn’t on their list of priorities.
Did these tips work? Be gracious in accepting the upgrade, but continue to be discreet. A kind word will do just fine.
And if these tips didn’t work, a ‘Thank You’ will still suffice. Remember, while it was fairly easy to get an upgrade in the past, but these days normal passengers are just a number on a computer screen, and gate operators may not even be in charge of the gate.
Still, a little optimism never hurt.