Let’s put this straight. There’s no sure-fire way to get yourself an airline upgrade. You can, however, improve your chances of receiving a free upgrade.

Premium seats are currently incredibly pricey, so unless you’ve won the lottery, or have a ton of money, the only way you’re going to enjoy those premium seats is with a freebie.

Here’s how you can up your chance of getting a free upgrade.

Travel alone

Travelling alone is, well... lonely! But if you want to up your chances of being upgraded, it’s something you’re going to have to do.

Airlines are much more likely to give a free upgrade to one person, rather than a group.

Pick your route

Chances are, the destination is more important to you than how you get there.

But if you’re reading this before booking your trip away, know this: busier routes mean more chance an economy class will oversell, forcing cheaper upgrades.

So flying on public holidays and to popular resorts could benefit you.

Be loyal

Customers who regularly fly with the same airlines are often more likely to be give upgrades.

If a company see you consistently choose them when you fly, they’re much more likely to reward that loyalty.


It sounds so obvious but it’s so often overlooked. Just ask at the check-in desk if there’s an opportunity to upgrade.

There’s an off-chance you’ll ask at just the right moment, and swindle yourself an upgrade.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Be nice

Don’t approach the check-in desk angry, frustrated, or looking to argue your way into a free upgrade, because it won’t happen.

 Staff will want to offer such a luxury to someone who’s been nice, and polite to them. Not someone who’s screamed in their face.

Know the right people

If you know someone who works for an airline, it might be worth asking if they can upgrade you. Some airlines do have upgrade lists for journalists, travel industry pros, and VIPs.

That one friend might be able to sneak you onto that list.