First-Class Upgrade Please

Christina Galioto

“Would you like champagne, Mademoiselle?”  Ooh la la don’t mind if I do.

You’re ready to go, dressed to kill, and excited for your next adventure, but your seat on the plane is next to a crying kid and the fat guy who makes you want to button your shirt to the top. We have all been there at one time or another, and no amount of booze or noise canceling headphones can numb that pain. Not to worry, there is hope for us lavish-minded gypsetters. Let’s get bumped up to first class instead 😉

I know it’s ridiculously expensive, but dishing out the cash isn’t the only ticket to the front. As a frequent flier who likes ViP everything, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to getting that coveted seat for little or no money.  Keep reading to make that mosh pit in the back a thing of the past and to upgrade to hot towels, bottomless mimosas, and beds that lie-flat.

Loyalty First

The first thing to flying first is to join any airline’s loyalty program and fly with them regularly. And, if the terms are right, get the airline credit card. (I’ll write an entire article about choosing the right travel rewards card later).

If you have the airline credit card you are automatically first in line for any available upgrades. That along with a consistent relationship with the airline will get you where you want to go.

Dress The Part

The gate keepers who will grant your wish or deny it know that people paying for the first-class experience don’t want to sit with a slob. Someone looking polished and sophisticated is going to win every time over someone wearing pajamas and a messy bun.  It is business class, after all.

Be Nice 🙂

A little courtesy goes a long way, these airline agents are used to being bashed by travelers for all sorts of things out of their control. From my experience, when they like you, they all of a sudden have a lot more pull. I’m not saying to butter them up with bullshit or bribe them with chocolates (I’ve heard people suggest that).  Be yourself, look great, smile and start with small talk if there isn’t a line.  Ask her if she ever wears that scarf when she goes out, tell her she could rock it with the right outfit.  If nothing else, you’ve made her smile and are now more of a peer. With her guard down she is more likely to listen and try to help. Opening lines are a dime a dozen, there are countless things to comment on or talk about. It’s always good to be genuine so if it feels right to go straight to the request, do so with a smile 🙂

Being nice opens numerous doors (and seats) in all areas of life. We should be treating others like this all the time, it’s shocking how the world opens up itself to you when you do.  One time I tried to get upgraded and failed.  I took my seat in the back and noticed a mother and her two daughters were separated.  The mother had to sit about 8 rows behind the two girls who were across from me.  I offered to give her my seat and the flight attendant noticed and offered me a business class seat.  What I had done had touched her heart and that was her way of thanking me.  That was a beautiful experience that taught me, once again, that it pays to be nice.

Share Your Celebrations!

Is it your birthday or honeymoon? If it just so happens to be your birthday definitely lead with that one, if it’s possible they will most-likely do what they can. It never hurts to try, mention if you and your hunny just got married or are celebrating an anniversary. This can be done at any time of the year unlike birthdays which are on your id 😉  Think of it more as a game, than a lie. LoL! It can be really fun if your partner acts it out with you. I have gotten an upgrade doing that..


If you’ve been on a delayed flight and missed a connection, or if your plane was overbooked and you weren’t allowed to board, some airlines will make up for it with a seat in first or business class on your rescheduled flight. Most inconvenienced travelers are a nightmare to deal with, so staying cool under pressure is good for everyone- that will pay off.