747orDie
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2000 1:10 am

Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 4:53 am

I read in a travel book that it never hurts to ask for a free upgrade to Biz Class at check-in. And that if they are underbooked they will sometimes bump you up?

This shocked me, especially considering the dramatic price differences between the two services. Does anyone out there have any real experiences like this? Either from the passenger or airline side? Should I bother asking in the future?
 
Ikarus
Posts: 3391
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 10:18 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 5:00 am

I only tried once and it did not work at all. I actually asked whether it would be possible to sit in the upper deck of the 747 (I expected it to be Premium Economy but thought it would be worth a try nevertheless, after all, the Upper Deck is Holy Land Big grin) and just got a blank stare, with a clear "No." .... The flight was less than 1/3rd full, so it definitely did not work at all.

But I read about more fortunate Airliners.net members all the time, I think they use their Frequent Flyer passes to convince the check-in people...
 
Guest

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 5:02 am

I got a forwarded email once that said if you dress up in orange, EasyJet will let you jumpseat in the cockpit.

Anyone know if this is true?
 
Guest

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 5:09 am

Ikarus, it does not surprise you would ask something so dumb!

Ofcourse they are not going to upgrade you! It they upgrade anyone, it will be loyal passengers! I can not imagen asking such a question do you ever go to supermarket and buy a cheap bottle of wine, and then ask to trade for a more expensive one.

About jumpseating Easyjet, I doubt you even have to wear green!
Iain
 
cba
Posts: 4228
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2000 2:02 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:05 am

I know that if you are an elite they will upgrade you to business or first if there are available seats. Each airline has a different policy about this though.
 
Guest

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:26 am

I have been upgraded on occasion, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when it will occur. I will say that it has never occurred after me asking.

As best I can figure, they will upgrade you if you are flying alone and they are slightly overbooked in coach. Being a frequent flyer is a plus and checking in late forces their hand (if we follow the overbooked theory). Nevertheless, unless you are a Platinum member or something like that, I would advise against asking, but then again, I am the kind of guy that is too embarrassed to use a coupon at the grocery store, so what do I know?
 
GunFighter 6
Posts: 401
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2001 6:05 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:29 am

Hold on to your veins.

Its not impossible. it happens sometimes.
I have seen it happen myself. later the same genteman explained to me that the trick was to look nicely and just ask the FA very nicely. ofcourse this could just have been shere luck, but none the less it does happen from time to time. my thoughts are you got a no it can always become a yes.

This happen on a KLM flight by the way. Big grin
 
akelley728
Posts: 1968
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 1999 12:35 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 7:55 am

I've seen it happen before, also.

I was sitting in Business First on a CO DC-10 from IAH to EWR. (Yes, I was upgraded, but I'm an elite with CO.)

A person who had broken their arm and was wearing a huge cast asked a FA if she could sit in Business. (I had seen the woman walk up and down Business before, I realized later that she was probably looking to see if there were any open seats, of which there were two). Anyway, the woman gave the FA a sob story about her arm and how uncomfortable it would be for her in coach.

I guess the FA had some sympathy, because the woman and her husband wound up in Business.

747ordie: Your chances of being upgraded are almost none, airlines will bump people up usually according to the following priority list:

Highest tier elite
Highest tier elite companion
2nd tier elite
2nd tier elite companion
3rd tier elite
People who paid full-fare coach, but are not elite
Airline employees

Ikarus: Not all airlines' 747's upper decks are business/first class. I sat once on the upper deck of a Swissair 747-300. It was definately regular economy!

 
Ikarus
Posts: 3391
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 10:18 pm

RE: Iainhol

Fri Mar 16, 2001 8:06 am

Iainhol:
Hey, for the upper deck of a 744, it's always worth a try - even if it is dumb... I'd sell my soul to Satan for that (if there was such an entity)

But what the hell do you mean, "it does not surprise you would ask something so dumb" ??? No one was more surprised than I was to find me doing something almost as dumb as eating BSE-infected beef in England or hunting defenseless foxes using a pack of dogs Big grin

I can't always keep to my standards, you know... There are some things worth pretending to be dumb for....

Regards

Ikarus
 
Guest

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 8:12 am

We are actually not able to go hunting right now due, to Foot and Mouth. However I think you have a very different view on hunting, which as you have not been is probably incorrect!
I am proud to eat British Beef, England is probably safer then most countries as we admit we had it, mist countries (including the US) are in deniel (not the rive in Egypt) about it!
Iain
 
I Like To Fly
Posts: 1070
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2001 1:17 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 8:14 am

Never at check in. But I have been on a few flights where I talk to the flight attendants and just be real nice and chit chat while passengers are boarding, and if the flight is less than about half full you'll get a "why don't you take a seat here" after everyone has seated. Helps to say somewhere in the conversation about how you wish you were in first class Big grin It depends on how nice the crew is. Done it on late ATL-CVG Delta runs quite a few times. But I have never tried it at check in. I don't want to sound like that is the only reason I talk to the crew, if I am traveling alone I don't have much else to do and an upgrade is just a nice gift you get once in a while.

Recently I was on a late night Delta out of New Orleans and there were so few people I just sat down in first and nobody gave it a second thought until we landed. The flight attendant was nice about it though when she noticed. There was no meal or anything, I basically just got a much nicer seat to sleep in.
 
Guest

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 12:23 pm

Greetings all...

I'm afraid the only way you can get upgraded for free on airlines is if you have upgrade passes as an elite passenger (i.e. platinum frequent flyer card) otherwhys you're outta luck...sorry.

As for the whole British beef thing, why the hell is that on here??? But since it is I'll give my opinion. I ate the damned stuff for two years while I lived there and I'm still alive and well. That being said Canadian Blood Services won't even let me donate blood now cause I lived in the UK for more than six months!  Smile A little exaggerated, probably, but pretty funny.

 
ryanb741
Posts: 5058
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 6:36 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:04 pm

It's not that difficult actually (I've done it a few times). Try this:

Check in as early as poss. (preferably the night before - telephone check in) and request a bulkhead seat because of your bad back (sporting injury).

Turn up at the airport wearing business attire, and see if your seat is ready. If you managed to get a bulkhead seat, you will have to take that (It's better than normal Y class seats).

However, these seats are often allocated very early. In this case, express disappointment and concern for your bad back, BUT DO NOT SHOW ANGER TOWARDS THE AIRLINE STAFF.

At this stage, they may offer you a biz. class upgrade (as long as you are in a suit - you might look like you could be someone to bring the airline a new corporate client if they treat you well).

If they don't, try and start hinting by asking how much it costs to upgrade etc. This might just start the ball rolling.


This tip was passed on to me by a BA employee, and it does work - just remember the key rules: wear a suit and be very nice to the employees (offer to write a letter of thanks etc).
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
 
ryanb741
Posts: 5058
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 6:36 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 9:55 pm

P.S. the above is a bit easier if you are a frequent flier (any tier). Show interest in enrolling if you are not already a member.
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
 
Guest

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 10:05 pm

From BA's US website:

How can I get upgraded?



Although many passengers ask for upgrades, we must decline, even if seats in the forward cabins are available. Not only would we be unable to accommodate everyone who makes such a request, but also any selection process would inevitably lead to disappointment for others.

Additionally, our past experience has been that full-fare passengers tend to learn when others have been upgraded at no additional cost and complain. We also believe that upgrades on a regular basis can damage the credibility of our premium product.

Some further points on this popular topic:

Free upgrades, without mileage redemption, are not among the features of the BA Executive Club program.
Occasionally, circumstances require that we do upgrade some passengers, usually because of an aircraft substitution or an overbooking situation that would leave people stranded.


If upgrades are required, preference is given first to our Gold Tier Executive Club members, followed by anyone who has reached the Silver level.

Please note that there may be times when our airport staff must make such decisions quickly and at random, in order to avoid last-minute confusion or a delayed departure.







 
rajno1
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 10:17 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 10:26 pm

Hence checking in early with the 'back problem'. You have to have a good reason, you can't just say 'look I'm a cheapskate but I don't like those plastic trays'.

Looking the part, being nice and having a reason (bad back) WILL reap dividends. (The airline doesn't want anyone getting injured on their flight).

Also, on a smoking carrier (e.g. Emirates), check in towards the end of the check-in time and request a seat near the front of the economy cabin away from the smoking section at the back. This is because of your 'asthma' problem. As the front section is usually the first to go, quite often a Jclass seat will be in the offing (I am asthmatic and this works for me).

Remember, write a letter of thanks afterwards, praising the member of staff who helped you. Hand it to them if you can.

Or buy a business class ticket if you can't be bothered to go through all that!



 
ryanb741
Posts: 5058
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 6:36 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Fri Mar 16, 2001 11:01 pm

Ah, so I see the 'back problem' is becoming increasingly common..... Smile
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
 
nickofatlanta
Posts: 1272
Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 1:06 am

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Sat Mar 17, 2001 1:33 am

Somehow the following article springs to mind:
http://www.cnn.com/2000/TRAVEL/VIEWS/elliott/06/28/index.html

: )
 
747orDie
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2000 1:10 am

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Sat Mar 17, 2001 7:07 am

Well, after starting this thread I will finish with my own input:

Rules are never 100% enforced, and if you are nice and well dressed you do in fact have a shot at an upgrade. The trick is not to ask. What? You say. Don't ask?

Exactly. Just as some people have mentioned above, simply be kind, very kind, dress well, and mention that you would certainly be interested in an upgrade if the opportunity should arise.

This has worked for me. However, not frequently. BUT, it would have NEVER worked had I not asked. One factor that always helps is size, you r height and weight that is. I am 6'3 225. I basically look like an NFL linebacker. Dress me up real nice, throw in a little sweet talk and a charming dispositiona and you'd be surprised where that might take you...perhaps right on into the "Mile-High Club..."

I digress - point is that if you are charming and well-presented and YOU ASK you will have at very least a CHANCE!

Good luck my fellow "cheap bastards!"
 
I Like To Fly
Posts: 1070
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2001 1:17 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Sat Mar 17, 2001 7:16 am

>>Good luck my fellow "cheap bastards!"

lol! But, you don't have to be cheap to fly coach! The prices airlines want for a comfortable seat and a few hours of better service is outrageous unless you are a frequent flier. Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
DeltaSFO
Posts: 2407
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2000 11:22 am

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Sun Mar 18, 2001 1:50 pm

Recently I was on a late night Delta out of New Orleans and there were so few people I just sat down in first and nobody gave it a second thought until we landed. The flight attendant was nice about it though when she noticed. There was no meal or anything, I basically just got a much nicer seat to sleep in.

That's kinda funny... a couple of weeks ago some guy was on Delta JFK-SFO and he helped himself to a BusinessElite seat and refused to move out of the seat. When he landed we told him that if he did not pay the full J class fare we would have him arrested for theft and disorderly conduct. Needless to say, he wasn't too happy about the $1900 or so that went onto his Visa bill.

However, I did thank him for flying Delta Air Lines.  Smile

DeltaSFO
It's a new day. Every moment matters. Now, more than ever.
 
bombstar
Posts: 684
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2000 9:37 am

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Sun Mar 18, 2001 4:31 pm

This happened to me once on an Air Canada flight from Orlando to Toronto, The guy checking us in just upgraded us to business class, and we didn't even ask for it.
It was pretty cool....i wish it could happen again..
 
Guest

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Sun Mar 18, 2001 4:59 pm

The only time I was upgraded for free was to business class on American Airlines, and it was just because the moron at checkin wasn't paying attention and gave me someone elses boarding pass. Pretty funny though..... when the real person owning my seat got on the plane i could head them yelling from the entrance of the 76er "what the f**k do you mean Im already on the plane?!!!!!!!!?!?!?!?!".
 
erela
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2000 7:14 pm

Upgrade Points As Well?

Sun Mar 18, 2001 7:28 pm

Does anybody have experience on the FF points if you are lucky to get an upgrade? in other words, have you managed to get business points as well despite originally having had an economy ticket?
 
erela
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2000 7:14 pm

Business Fare At Tyhe Check-in?

Sun Mar 18, 2001 8:41 pm

Suppose you go and ask for the price of sudden Business class fare at the checkin- do you think they would perhaps give you an upgrade for free? If not, how much does a business fare cost you extra at the checkin? Same as in a travel agency or less?
 
shuttle3echo
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2001 11:36 pm

RE: Free Upgrades

Sun Mar 18, 2001 9:43 pm

On British Airways, with any empy seats in Club/First upgrades are usually not possible due to no catering for that empty seat and the food must be consistant with the class.
 
Guest

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Sun Mar 18, 2001 10:04 pm

Its easy, go to the upgrade desk tell them who you are and ask for an upgrade.........

Hasnt failed me in the last 3 years....... Smile Smile Smile Smile
 
krisair747
Posts: 227
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2000 1:06 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Mon Mar 19, 2001 3:41 am

Way to go Delta SFO....Way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Open your heart and push the limits
 
I Like To Fly
Posts: 1070
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2001 1:17 pm

RE: Free Upgrades To Biz Class?

Mon Mar 19, 2001 6:51 am

DeltaSFO, I would have moved with no problem if a f/a asked me to. I think everyone on the plane could have fit in first, it was really empty. And since the flight attendants never came around to check up on us we never got noticed until landing. About four other passengers did the same thing and we just went to sleep in first. The few people in coach actually put the arm rests up in the center rows and made a bed out of them. It was the most relaxed flight I have ever been on, lol. I just didn't want you to have the impression I thought I deserved the seats or something and would have been belligerent about it. I just took advantage of the opportunity Big grin

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