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Upgrade Tips?  
User currently offlineToddy333 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 81 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1878 times:

Sorry if this has been done (so many times?) before.. But..
does anyone have any good tips for getting an upgrade?!
I am flying HKG-LHR premium economy on the 28th July....I bought it with miles but have no more miles to upgrade to upper class! I am a silver member, so is it worth giving that a flash at the check in counter and just asking if there is any chance if I can sit up front?! I know you have to dress smartly, but what else?
another thing I did once was when I was flying economy LAX-LHR, I lied to the crew back in the galley saying the woman next to me stunk  Big grin and as I was in the front row of economy, saw a couple of free premium economy seats available, and how I was a silver member blah blah could I move there and they let me move!!  Laugh out loud
I wonder if the same technique would work from premium economy to upper? hmm... Ponders.
any die-hard professional-upgraders' tips would be greatly appreciated!!

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineGeoffm From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2111 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1857 times:

A lot of people say "don't ask for an upgrade". Instead, be early, be polite, and dress smartly. Something which also worked for me was being at the gate on time, but waiting until most people had boarded, then asking for a different seat. Got 3 economy seats to myself that way, instead of a mid-row seat.

Geoff M.

User currently offlineZweed From Netherlands, joined Apr 2004, 455 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1856 times:

The industrilized, developed country-problem of the day: How the get upgraded while flying.

User currently offlineUnique From Switzerland, joined Mar 2003, 1703 posts, RR: 36
Reply 3, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1858 times:

What airline do you travel?

When I used to work the departure gate, I absolutely hated passengers pointing out what precious members they are, etc.

Also, keep on asking more than once was never a good choice... To lie is definitely the worst - ground staff are not stupid and can find out things easily.

With CX for example, inflight upgrade does only work when presenting the credit card and signing the blank slip!

Anyway, have a good (and successful) trip!

[Edited 2004-06-19 16:12:25]

User currently offlineToddy333 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1837 times:

zweed- haha good one  Smile yes it is a terrible, sad problem tha plagues everyday life. terrible.
geoff- that tip on waiting till the end at the boarding gate is a good one! might do that, and if i spot an empty upper seat when i board, i will sit there haha
unique..i am flying on virgin atlantic. if all else fails, does anyone know the price of an upgrade from a premium seat to an upper class seat at the airport?

User currently offlineHorus From Egypt, joined Feb 2004, 5230 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1826 times:

Geoffm, that's so weird, that's exactly what I do  Big thumbs up

EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
User currently offlineSnnams From Ireland, joined Apr 2004, 288 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1813 times:

My advice is don't flash the FF card unless you have to so that miles can be logged. It seems to get the opposite reaction to what you intend i'm afraid  Wink/being sarcastic

In my own experience, the only time i ever got one was when the flight was overbooked in Y class and I absolutely had to be back home because of the death of a friend. I have quite a few FF points, always dress well when I fly and always approach the staff with a smile and in a polite and friendly way.. but: it's never worked!! It will be fun to see how I am treated the next tiem I fly as I'll be a non-rev (I've finally secured an Airline Job!!  Wink/being sarcastic

I really dont think it's worth trying anymore: airlines are becoming far too penny pinching. There was a day when they would upgrade you in the hope that you would see how nice it was and pay full fare next time. They know in this day and age, that's pretty much not going to happen!  Wink/being sarcastic

User currently offlineEWRvirgin From United States of America, joined May 2001, 358 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1798 times:

Flashing your silvercard status isn't going to do a thing for you. We're well aware that you're on board. There are no courtesy upgrades on VS regardless of your status. IF its done, its done out of necessity. Ideally, it would be our GC and SC holders but not always. No one is entitled to it more anyone else. Aasking for it is one of my pet peeves and it won't increase your chances anymore than not asking would hurt them. The only sure way to get it is to pay for it. Expect to pay a few grand to get into Upper.

The moral is: don't bother asking because all you'll get is a no and if you get a yes you're talking to an agent that probably won't be around much longer.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

User currently offlineEWRvirgin From United States of America, joined May 2001, 358 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1788 times:

I really dont think it's worth trying anymore: airlines are becoming far too penny pinching. There was a day when they would upgrade you in the hope that you would see how nice it was and pay full fare next time. They know in this day and age, that's pretty much not going to happen!

Well, airlines aren't charities! I don't there was ever such a day. Spending $$$ on a whole department and reservations system dedicated to yield management doesn't make much sense if you're going to just give away your product on a consistent basis.

User currently offlineToddy333 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1779 times:

good advice. the whole "ask at the airport" thing only worked for me once, BOS-LHR. i checked in on premium economy although was travelling economy, used silver card, asked if there was any chance i could use my miles to upgrade to premium, and the check in agent, a really genuine, nice guy (an attribute of pretty much EVERY member of virgin staff i have ever met) looked on the computer and then said "yes, i would be glad to do that for you". a couple of weeks later i looked on my account online, and the miles were never added. wonderful!

[Edited 2004-06-19 16:56:03]

[Edited 2004-06-19 16:57:00]

User currently offlineSnnams From Ireland, joined Apr 2004, 288 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (10 years 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1779 times:


I never said we were charities.. but ocassionally it is nice to reward your most loyal customers especially those who have lower fare options available to them.

What I was trying to convey in my post was that there is no point asking anymore for an upgrade, and I also tried to explain from an airlines point of view that most PAX are not so loyal anymore and that one upgrade isnt going to pursaude the majority of pax to buy a Business class ticket in future. Evidently, you also missed the bit in my post stating that I work in the industry, so I didnt need the explanation.

I would like to think the way you have addressed me is not indicitive of how VS addresses it's passengers.. you totally jumped down my throat there ;-(

[Edited 2004-06-19 17:00:40]

User currently offlineS12PPL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1754 times:

Asking for a free upgrade, in my opinion, is rude. If you used all your miles for a premium economy ticket...that sucks for you I guess. I HATED being asked for free upgradges working the counter. I was checking in a PDX flight one day, and a father son duo was connecting on to OAK. They asked for different seats, but coach was compltetely full, and I told them I couldn't move them for that reason. The father said "All full??? Not a seat left?" I told him coach was booked solid, and there were 2 seats left in first, and he kinda laughed and in an off-hand way asked for a bump, to which I replied: "I can't do it for free, but it would only cost you 50 bucks a person" They ended up turning it down, but they weren't the only ones that asked for a free upgrade...

What alot of people don't understand, is that when an agent does give away an upgrade for nothing, they eventually have to answer some questions. Accounting alerts the appropriate people, who talk to your station manager, etc. And, as EWRvirgin said...If you DO get a free upgrade, you're talking to an agent who won't be around much longer.  Smile

User currently offlineToddy333 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1683 times:

these are good tips people.
is it true that upgrade prices get a lot lower very close to the flight? like a day before or something? a virgin agent on the phone told me this, that the price in miles would drop rapidly to get rid of the more premium seats on the aircraft.

User currently offlineShovelAirlines From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1674 times:

There is nothing that really irkes me more is when people ask me for a free upgrade. Anyone who as ever asked me for an upgrade is always turned down. I agree S12PPL, it is rude. I can say for sure that dressing nice and being nice could put you at an advantage. The only really time that I have upgraded people for free is when it's necessary (i.e. overbooked coach, seats available in first) And in that case, the free upgrade usually goes to the upper tier frequent flyer members who most likely have already paid a great deal of money for their ticket. (or of course anyone who brings me a coffee!)

Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog!
User currently offlineANstar From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 5148 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1617 times:

I wouldn't count on an upgrade especially as you haven't paid for your ticket (miles)

In my experience I have mostly been upgraded on BA/AA (I'm a OW Saph) but those have been on overbooked flights. (I tend to want to go away when everyone else does).

User currently offlineGreasespot From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 3077 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1567 times:

Everyone says upgrades cannot be done.... Well blah blah blah. I work in YOW and family is in YEG. Flying on passes all the time there has only been one time that I have NOT been upgraded. I cannot say what I do differently because I have no idea. It just happens.
Mostly look like you belong in F/C.

I guess since I work for an airline we have a common bond. I usually arrive earlier enough to talk to the people. There is a difference in being friendly when you want something and just being friendly. Most people can tell when people are being friendly to get something. There is a genuine energy that is not there.

When I have an assigned seat and I hear that someone wants two seats together I let the agent know that I will trade. The people who arrive late get their seats together and because I did them and the airline a favor I tend to get my new seat in F/C.


Sometimes all you can do is look them in the eye and ask " how much did your mom drink when she was pregnant with you?"
User currently offlineSnnams From Ireland, joined Apr 2004, 288 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 1470 times:


Oh of course they can be done, but as you said the difference is that you work in the industry or travel on passes. That really is a different ball game. Of course they do happen on other occasions, but the incidence of it is getting much rarer. Personally, I have never had the cheek to ask for one before I worked in the industry, and even now that I am, I would still consider impolite to ask. If i'm offered it, great! If not, no harm done!  Wink/being sarcastic

User currently offlineBAxMAN From St. Helena, joined May 2004, 671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 1443 times:

If you are in the airline industry, and travel on staff tickets, you are gonna be the first to get bumped off the flight rather than upgraded!

As for getting a free upgrade, it is impossible to give any advice that hasn't been said a million times before. If VS are flying with just one empty seat in economy, then they aren't going to readily upgrade someone unless there are extreme circumstances. Their profit margins on economy customers are very small as it is.

If I was flying in VS's 1st class cabin, having paid maybe $9000 for the privilege, I'd feel pretty annoyed if someone who paid $900 received the same service, regardless of what colour card they held. VS or any other airline for that matter cannot afford to devalue their premium services.

I need to get laid
User currently offlineSHUPirate1 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3670 posts, RR: 17
Reply 18, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 1441 times:

Is sitting in coach and sucking it up that much of a crime these days? If you want to fly first class these days, then just pay for the seat and suck it up...

Then again, this is coming from probably the biggest VDB-whore on a.net...

Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
User currently offlineTasha From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1405 times:


The only time I got a free upgrade was on a flight from DTW to GPT with a stop in Mem. NW had grossly overbooked the aircraft (a DC9) in DTW. The purser came by and asked if anyone who like to give up their seat in exchange for a $500 travel voucher. I raised my hand, and out of the plane I went. He was very nice and gave me not only the voucher, but put me up in a beautiful Best Western hotel right at the airport. That much he promised. He also booked me through the next morning in first class. I didn't even notice it until I looked at the boarding passes in my hotel room.

I don't know what to tell you. Perhaps wear a short skirt, dark hose (makes your legs look longer), and heels as I was that day. Then again, that may not be the most appropriate thing for you to dress in on the plane  Big grin

Tasha  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

User currently offlineKFly From Australia, joined May 2004, 194 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1363 times:

Travelling first class, during check-in, asked if there's a chance for an "upgrade" to sit on the pilot's lap Big grin


Fly! My Pretties
User currently offlineJoleb From Belgium, joined Oct 2003, 290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (10 years 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1335 times:

Recently I flew from Paris to Washington and from Washington to Paris on Air France. I had a paid business class ticket and wanted to upgrade to first with miles. On the outbound they had 6 places left in first but they simply werent able or didnt want to upgrade me. I couldn't understand their reasoning at all in Paris and was very dissapointed. I have frequence Plus Red and Delta Platinum but that doesnt seem to matter with AF at all. They simply didnt care...
The return I arrived on time @ the checkin counter and asked if their was availibility. The checkin lady told me there wasnt. As I checked earlier that eavening via the reservations department of AF they told me there where still 2 seats available. So I kindly asked her again and also told her I checked earlier with the reservations department. She responded NO in a rude way! I just accepted that and whent to the gate. When I boarded there was 1 seat left. So I kindly asked the chief purser if I could upgrade as I asked to upgrade at the checkin before. Instead of upgrading me she takes the man sitting behind me and asks him to go to first class. I asked her why and she told there was no reason for It. I was shocked as I asked at the gate and the checkin and they just ignored me like I had never flewn with them. I have flewn their first class quite many times so I knew what to expect. It was a nighflight so I could sleep and thats all i wanted. This was again a big mistake of AF and I seriously consider again to never fly them again. Luckily their new business class is being introduced so I hope that it will be like their older first class now so i wont waste my miles on upgrades anymore. I never expect service from any carrier anymore except for CX and SQ so for me the seat is the most important thing. In the end the checking lady lied to me that it was full as it wasnt. I knew it it couldnt be full !!!

Believe me I fly very often and the only times i have been upgraded is when the flight is overbooked or you can get a confirmed mileage upgrade or pay for it . Even when the flight is overbooked and fly them very often you have no security at all to be bumped so dont get your hopes up!

[Edited 2004-06-20 12:33:22]

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