Flight UPgrades: A How-To Guide

how to get upgraded on a flight

[trip style = luxury on a budget]

Editor's Note: We're currently on a research trip which has us exploring Kuala Lumpur, Bali and Tokyo. With this, we'll be pausing in our in-flight schedule this Thursday and next week, returning May 8th with our regular Tuesday-Thursday Trip Stylin'. In the meantime, check out our posts on Instagram

Scoring a flight upgrade is akin to Willy Wonka's Golden Ticketa sweet deal worth munching on a few regular chocolate bars to unwrap the golden one.

Going from economy to cushy class without status is a hard-to-achieve travel perk, but when it happens, it's like you've entered a candy land you never want to leave. Think: lie-flat seats that double as massage chairs {Emirates}, sommelier-selected wines {most major airlines}, and lounges with included manicures {Virgin Atlantic} or made-to-order noodles {Cathay Pacific}. 

Two weeks ago I wrote an article for the Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blogto which I'm a regular contributorabout how to score a business class upgrade in the clouds. In it, I list six tips to get you one step closer to Champagne perks at 35,000ft based on how I've scored sudden upgrades. To give you a hint of what's in the article, here are the tips in their ultra-basic form. Find the FULL details, here

1/ Dress nicely. Need some inspiration? Follow our JetSet Style series.

2/ Fly airlines offering low-cost upgrades. No joke; if the stars align, you can upgrade for as low as $50.

3/ Focus on B routes at B times. Unless you have status, it's hard to get bumped to the front of the plane if you're flying major routes like Vancouver to Toronto, or Los Angeles to New York. 

4/ Be nice, and treat those around you like humans versus droids. The power of nice can have a huge impact on your seat selection. 

5/ Get serious about travel credit card spending and racking up miles with an airline alliance. 

6/ Ask. It can't hurt. 


[top photo by @tripstyler, bottom photo via Cathay Pacific]