The myth of attempting to talk your way to a first-class upgrade has been around for many decades. It always looks so luxurious up there, and every airline cruelly ensures you get a good look at the comfort you’re missing out on as you trudge your way down the back to the economy.
Despite all prices of seat landing on the runway at exactly the same time, it’s all about the journey; space, service, and entertainment are the name of the game in first class. On a long-haul flight, it can make all the difference to the passengers. On the flip side, it doesn’t make much difference to the airline; if a first-class seat is free anyway, why does it matter where a passenger sits?
It’s this theory that has kept the dream alive for economy passengers across the globe. Everyone’s familiar with the stories of a honeymoon couple getting bumped up for that extra dose of joyous celebration; the thinking goes, if it can happen to them, why not us? Unfortunately, you had a better chance of getting lucky in years past; these days, airlines prefer to give out free upgrades to their loyal customers in the form of frequent flier rewards, leaving precious little room up the front for those pulling their leg.
However, it can still happen; so here’s a handy guide to the dos and don’ts of talking your way to first class. And remember, if you are successful, make sure to share your victory all over BUCKiTDREAM!
Do Act First-Class If You Want First-Class Looking the part can go a long way to securing those premium seats. You don’t have to go full-on ‘executive’, but strolling through the airport in your best business casual can seriously help your cause when it comes to the crunch. Make sure you’re nice to everyone from the minute you step into the airport; a smile is such a simple thing to do but can make all the difference.
Passengers are often rude or abrupt with the check-in staff, for no reason at all. These people deal with blunt customers all day long, so make sure you’re the exception to the rule and treat them nicely. They wield all the power when it comes to flying; if you want the keys to the kingdom, be prepared to look and act your best at all times.
Do Ask (It Can’t Hurt) It seems obvious, but if you’ve played your cards right up to this point, often the best approach is to flash a smile and politely ask if it there are any free seats in first class, and if at all possible, could you transfer to one of them. You don’t necessarily need an elaborate ruse to talk your way up top; an honest approach is often the best policy, and can really pay off if you’re genuine enough. You could sweeten the deal with a box of chocolates for the overworked check-in staff, or whatever little touch you want to go that extra mile. But when it comes down to it, look them in the eye, smile, and ask directly. You might just be surprised at the results.
Don’t Ask the Cabin Staff Asking the check-in staff is usually your only course of action. If you’re unsuccessful with them, unfortunately, you’re bust for that particular trip. Whatever you do, don’t try and double down with the cabin staff; they have more than enough on their mind and won’t appreciate you throwing in a last-ditch attempt at a freebie. Keep up the tried and tested policy of being nice to everyone, and you never know what might happen, but asking a harried air hostess as you’re boarding the plane is a surefire way to get yourself semi-ignored for the duration of the flight.
Do Get Creative Fortune favors the bold, and although it’s a cliché, going on a honeymoon has plenty of precedents when it comes to getting loved-up couples all the way into first class. If you’re jetting off with your partner, it’s always worth asking at the check-in desk, and if you’re really dead set on it, why not get creative and bring along some props to help your cause? Make sure you’re sporting rings, and try wearing the remnants of your ‘wedding attire’ to make it appear like you’ve just come straight from a raucous celebration.
You could even Photoshop some iPhone pictures of you and your partner getting married, ready and be waiting to present to a dubious check-in attendant. Make sure you treat it all in good fun though; if you manage it, great, but if you get turned down or your ruse is rumbled, take it on the chin and have a laugh about it. You’re still going on vacation, after all!
Don’t Misjudge the Timing Make sure to arrive very early or very late to be in with the best chance of getting that free upgrade; early is best, and early in the day is even better. The staff will be nice and fresh, not yet beaten down to apathy and cynicism by waves of disgruntled passengers. If you notice that your check-in attendant is getting rushed off her feet and you’re just another in a long queue of customers, your odds will narrow considerably.
Getting into first class is certainly an experience and a half, but it doesn’t make a bucket list dream trip all by itself. Only you can do that, by having the best time you possibly can! Keep a keen eye on BUCKiTDREAM to check out loads of awesome destinations to jet off too, and soak up the experiences and dreams of your fellow travelers! But if you DO manage to talk that first class seat, make sure to come back and share…