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Video:Tips to Get a Free Airline Upgrade

with Jonathon E. Stewart

Why sit in coach if you can grab yourself a comfortable seat up front? Even though it can be a little tough these days, it's definitely still possible to land a free airline upgrade.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips to Get a Free Airline Upgrade

Hey guys - Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. Cameron Crowe may have said it best in Jerry MacGuire: people in the front cabin of your flight these days don't just have better seats, they have a better life. With first class tickets going for literally thousands of dollars sometimes, this luxury seems likely to pass the majority of us by. Or does it? Take a look at these tips for landing yourself a free upgrade, and treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. Check it out.

Request a Seat Upgrade

Tip one: Ask. When you get to the airport, always go straight to the desk at the gate. These flight attendants have the most accurate information about your flight's passenger load, and also the most power to shift people around. Be as kind and friendly as possible, and ask out of curiosity, "Any chance you have anything open in first?"

Chances are pretty good you'll get a big fat, "no," but like my grandfather used to say, "nothing ventured, nothing gained." Be sure when you ask that you're not dressed like a slob, and it will definitely not hurt to casually mention the horrible connecting flight you just stepped off of, that was run by a competing carrier.

Join Airline Loyalty Programs

Tip two: Be Loyal. Being a part of a carrier's frequent flyer program is a must, and if you fly often enough to achieve elite status, your odds of getting an upgrade will go up substantially. If you routinely travel the same route on the same schedule, be sure to get to know the gate staff as much as possible. I'm telling you, simply being nice and compassionate can get you far in this world, and even if you don't get the upgrade, you might still just feel, well, happier.

Travel Flexibly

Tip three: Go for the bump. Many times, your biggest obstacle will be jam-packed flights. If there are no seats in first or business, it's pretty tough to get upgraded to them at any price. But use this to your advantage - if the flight looks oversold, ask right away about being put on the volunteer list for being bumped. Chances are good you'll be put on a flight that's only a hour or two behind, and, that you'll have the leverage to have your ticket upgraded in class.

If not, you might be offered a several hundred dollar voucher, or perhaps even a free flight all together. Be as flexible as you can at the gate, and you won't have to be so flexible while your squeezing you way into a non-reclining middle seat in the last row onboard.

Request Vacancies on the Plane

Tip four: Ask the flight attendant onboard. If you see a vacant seat once you're on the plane, definitely ask about moving up. Again, chances aren't great, but if you happen to be sitting next to a troublemaker, or if your seat won't recline, you might want to mention that.

And, if you happen to be traveling with your significant other, and you both happen to look like you're madly in love, and if it just happens to be your honeymoon, sometimes magical things will happen. If you ask nicely.

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