Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Infographic: 10 ways to get a free flight upgrade, revealed by cabin crew

Skyscanner questioned 700 cabin crew across the world to find the top 10 ways passengers can boost their odds of getting upgraded
Want to increase the chances of being offered a free upgrade on your next flight? Then it’s worth checking out the latest report from Skyscanner, which questioned 700 cabin crew across the world to find the top 10 ways passengers can boost their odds of getting upgraded.

The results are pretty interesting… nearly two-thirds (61%) of respondents have offered a free upgrade, with a smartly dressed, single guy in his 30s being the most likely to receive one.

Bad luck to women in their late teens, wearing revealing clothing and travelling as part of a group – your chances of being upgraded are pretty slim.

“For those who don't fit the bill, crew have outlined how passengers can up their chances of getting that elusive free upgrade. While a few manners will go far, frequent flyers and solo travellers are odds-on favourites to get bumped up to premium, if seats are available,” stated Skyscanner, which also provided a nice info-graphic to highlight the results (which you can see below).

ALSO READ: 10 worst airlines in the world for economy class travel

Almost three quarters (72%) of cabin crew said they were more inclined to offer a free upgrade to a passenger who was flying alone. Other factors that increase the likelihood of escaping economy are being a frequent flyer and having an injury. Nearly two thirds revealed that a passenger with a broken limb was more likely to get the premium experience for free.

In a separate poll of passengers, Skyscanner found that travellers will do pretty much anything to get a luxury seat up front. Three quarters said they would tell a few fibs if it improved their chances, while others would pretend to be newlyweds (14%), 6% would feign illness or injury and 7% would ditch their partner and pretend to be travelling solo.

The infographic is below. What are your thoughts? Has an airline ever offered you a free upgrade? Let me know by leaving a comment here or you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

ALSO READ: Top 10 Airlines with the best business class cabins in 2013


  1. Juditha-Jade ParkinsonMay 31, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Funny about the sob story and honeymoon thing. :))

  2. Sorry, but for the possible exception of no.7, I believe these are just a collection of industry myths that have circulated for years, at least in North America.

    Airlines are struggling, check-in and gate staff are stressed, and most of the premium cabins are jammed packed with paid pax, paid upgrades and mileage point rewards.

    Being friendly or dressed nice might get you your pretzels and coke a little quicker, but probably not much else. 

  3. I have to agree with Greg. None of these, except for maybe number 2 and 7, are likely to get you an upgrade.

    However, if you are eligible for a free upgrade, such as through frequent flyer miles or through a buddy pass (where a friend at the airline bought you a very cheap standby ticket), overlooking some of these points (dress nice!) can PREVENT you from getting the upgrade.

  4. I have an elderly client who gets upgraded almost everytime she travels. She carries a neck brace, shoulder sling and crutches with her at all times(just for check in), Then it gets packed away.In a sweet old lady voice she kindly asks if there isnt a seat available at the "front of the plane" because shes hurt herself in an accident and her daughter always says to her that the seats in the "front of the plane" are the nicest seats.
    This has been going on for over 20 years.

  5. Puts me out of the equation - with my wife and kids right behind me!

  6. free upgradings are done by airlines when their ey seat are overbooked and more passengers turnup (economy) . in this situation its the traffic/ground staff who selects upgrades yes well dressed and well behaved single men preferably (family makes noice in cabin disturbing other passengers) . crew cannot upgrade on board unless they favour some one out of way.....
    yes frequent flyers are always selceted for upgradings by airlines to gain their loyalty and it pays.....

  7. Really!? I'm Cabin Crew for a high end Asian airline and we almost never upgrade unless they're on the loyalty program and if they are they need to be quite high up. Special ones include milestone wedding anniversaries: 25, 30, 40+....etc years. People need to remember that upgrades cost the company money... so why give a biz class ticket for free!? It doesn't make any sense. Also think of the cabin crew; do they really want to work extra hard for nothing!? This article doesn't make sense


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