Mainstream articles on “how to upgrade to first class” are almost uniformly:
- Dead wrong
At their best they usually offer some variant of:
- Dress nicely
- Be a member of the airline’s loyalty program
They never explain, of everyone ‘dressed nicely’ (as though this will matter for folks who aren’t airline empoloyees) and who are members of the program, who will get the upgrade if there are seats available and how to increase your chances it’s you.
No, just ask isn’t sufficient (although up until last weekend it was necessary to submit a request for a complimentary upgrade on American — so I guess asking was sort of part of it there).
Naturally it begins with all of the usual claptrap about dressing nicely, being a member of the airline’s program, and flying when planes are empty.
I give them a few points for creativity with:
- Claim it’s your birthday rather than your honeymoon (cough, even if this mattered your real birthday is in your reservation)
- Exploit your injury. I’ll let folks weigh in on this one instead of commenting myself.
Here’s the creative bit:
They pass on a third hand account of pretending to be important by entering an important-sounding title into your reservation.
[My brother] is hard to buy presents for, so one Christmas his wife purchased a one-square-meter plot of land in Scotland, which came with the title lord of the manor and salmon fishing rights. He changed the name on his credit card and uses this title when booking his business flights. He has been upgraded five times to seats with full-length beds on trips to Taiwan from London.
I’m actually trying something similar myself. I’m speaking at a loyalty conference (alongside an executive from Delta SkyMiles, as it happens) shortly. When registering for the conference there was a massive dropdown box of possible titles. And I spotted one that seemed to fit. I write this View fro the Wing blog by myself, I’m its boss (and janitor, and…) so that kind of makes me:
(In the drop down registration box the option was Wing Commander but that appears to be truncated here.)
Now maybe the double upgrades will start rolling in!
Now, if you really want to learn how to upgrade:
- How to Ask for – and Get – an Upgrade
- How to Fly Up Front Almost Every Time, Even Without Elite Status