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How to Get a First-Class Upgrade on Your Next Flight


July 29, 2019

ONE ROQ Members fly first class AND economy, but wouldn’t it be nice to be bumped up to first more often? If you’re tired of strangers stealing your armrest and reclining into your kneecaps, it’s time you claim the first-class lifestyle you deserve. Follow these simple tricks.

Suggest an upgrade.

Sometimes the easiest way to get what you want is to just ask. When checking in, tell gate agents you’d like to be considered for an upgrade if available. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. 

Dress clean and professional.

Most people dress relaxed when heading to the airport – sweatpants, hoodies, and even open-toe slippers. Which is fine, for them. But, if you want that first-class upgrade, you’ll need to choose style over comfort. Airlines tend to upgrade people who “look the part” compared to those who look like they’re headed for bed.  Remember, other passengers paid two to three times the cost of an economy flight to reserve their seat, so while a three-piece suit isn’t necessary, business casual attire is always a good option to look the part.

Join the airline’s rewards program. 

Whether you’re flying Delta, United, American, or any other airline, be sure to sign up for their frequent flyer programs. Once you’re a member, you’re more likely to receive extra benefits since frequent fliers of an airline sometimes steal upgrades. While not a guarantee, it’s all about improving your odds. 

Travel alone.

Good luck trying to earn a first-class upgrade if you’re traveling with family. Sure, you might wish you could abandon all the kids for a few hours, but chances are this won’t happen. Whenever possible, fly solo because seats are slim.

Get to the airport early.

When it comes to flying first class, there is usually a list of passengers waiting to be bumped up. The sooner you arrive, the sooner you can ask to be upgraded and the higher up on the list you’ll be. No one wants to deal with the person trying to get into first-class just 10 minutes before the flight departs.

Be your best self.

If a first-class seat is available, agents at the gate get to choose who receives the upgrade. They may have a few guidelines, but ultimately, they can pick whomever they wish. It’s important to not be demanding and always remain friendly. You can even mention you’re traveling for a special occasion, like a birthday or honeymoon. Airport employees usually work with cranky passengers 24/7, so a genuine smile can take you far.

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