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Get bumped to first class with these simple tips

Travelling first-class is certainly an experience worth having. The price of the ticket, however, might not be so appealing – unless you know these simple tricks that can help you get bumped to first-class for free.

The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that your chances to get an upgrade are highly dependent on the ticket you purchased originally. If you’re flying coach, you’re unlikely to get bumped to first class, but if you already have a premium economy or business class ticket, for instance, you might just be lucky enough to sip a complimentary glass of champagne during your flight. Here’s what else you need to do:

first-class seat free upgrade

Dress up

Forget about your flip-flops and yoga pants; if you want the job, you need to dress the part and this is especially true when you’re trying to get an upgrade on your seat. Wearing a suit isn’t necessary but can only boost your chances.

Dress smartly and wear something professional – experts advise on going for a “smart casual” look and accessorizing with a cashmere shawl that can demonstrate to the crew that you belong to first class.


If you want something, you need to ask; the way you ask is the key here. Be polite and approach your agent during the check-in to say that, in case the airline considers upgrading passengers for your flight, you would like to be considered. Smile and thank them in advance; most of the people the agents and crew will deal with will be outright rude so being polite greatly enhances your chances of getting bumped to first class.

Leave your friend or SO behind

Well, not literally but, statistically speaking, you have a higher chance of getting bumped to first class if you travel solo. In most cases, only a seat or two will be available and the bigger your travel group is, the lower your chances of getting that free upgrade. Also, make sure you arrive as early as possible – these upgrades are usually given on a first come, first served basis.

Swap your seat

In the case of a double booking, the agent will likely approach you to ask if you’re willing to give up your seat and take the next flight, instead. Apart from receiving a compensation, you might also receive a free upgrade to business class – which is definitely worth the delay. Don’t be too eager to volunteer, though; the fewer the volunteers, the higher the chances that those who agree to give up their spots will receive something extra as a compensation.

Take the middle seat – especially if there’s a baby next to you

It’s true that most upgrades are given on a first come, first served basis, but it’s also true that the flight attendant will want to make your trip as pleasurable as possible. If you’re travelling next to a baby or are squeezed in the middle seat, your chances of getting a free upgrade skyrocket.

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