Flight attendants explain ways you could actually bag a cheap flight upgrade

Booking an economy seat on a flight and landing a fee upgrade to business class or first class is the holy grail of travel.

Unsurprisingly it doesn't happen very often, but the good news is that there are ways you can put the odds in your favour – and now members of cabin crew have revealed just how to do it.

International travel money specialists Equals teamed up with a host of flight attendants and asked them just what it takes to land that coveted upgrade.

Their advice? If you're going to try and blag an upgrade, ask at the check-in desk.

One flight attendant, who works at British Airways, explained: "Some people ask the crew at the door of the aircraft for an upgrade, and some even bring us sweets thinking it will help get them what they want.

"We do get a lot of people asking for a free upgrade, especially if it’s their birthday – but there’s nothing we can do so your best bet is to ask at the desk when you’re checking in."


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Asking at the check-in desk doesn't mean you'll get a free upgrade, but it could still land you a cheaper rate if you want to move up to business class.

One cabin crew who works for Virgin Atlantic on long-haul routes said: "Sadly nowadays [getting a free upgrade] is virtually impossible unless you pay for the upgrade as they sell the spare seats at check in. But it’s normally cheaper at check-in so worth a gamble as you could get a good deal."

Joining airlines' loyalty programmes could be another money-saving trick for getting a business class seat without the hefty price tag. These are usually free to join, and mean you can make the most of rewards such as air miles.

A member of Air France's cabin crew revealed: "Passengers can sometimes get themselves into business or first class for less than the normal price, but it depends on how busy the aircraft is. If you have air miles you could try using them to get an upgrade."

Didn't bag the upgrade? That doesn't mean you can't enjoy some luxury – in fact, there are plenty of in-flight extras most people don't think to ask for, but these can actually turn your economy flight into a first class experience.

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