Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 June 2019

Watch: Emirates shares 'insider' tip on how to get a seat upgrade to business class

Emirates has released a new series of ads showing people attempting to get an upgrade - here are our travel editor's tips on how to best up your chances

Emirates Airlines has released their ad for the ultimate "upgrade" tip.
Emirates Airlines has released their ad for the ultimate "upgrade" tip.

Is there any better surprise for a traveller than a free seat upgrade to business class?

Emirates has released a new video showing passengers attempting to get upgraded - the moral of their tale however is that you should focus on "upgrading your airline" rather than hoping for an upgrade in seat:

But how can you try for an upgrade?

Our travel editor Rosemary Behan shares her tips for those actually wanting to try for an upgrade, despite Emirates' thoughts in the video above.

“Especially on a long or ultra-long-haul overnight flight, it’s well worth trying for an upgrade from economy class to business, as being able to lie flat makes a massive difference, even without the better food and service,” she says.

"While some airlines may offer upgrade bargains shortly before departure to fill their cabins, full-fare business class tickets can be ten times the price of economy, so a free upgrade is the ultimate travel perk, although airlines will downplay your chances of getting one. If the economy cabin is overbooked, airlines sometimes have no choice but to upgrade some passengers.”

Here are her tips:

— Travel alone. Upgrades are more likely to be offered to single travellers.

— Dress smartly and be polite. You’re unlikely to get an upgrade if you are dressed in dirty, torn clothes and are rude.

— Mention any special occasions, eg a birthday or anniversary, and point out your height if you are exceptionally tall.

— Be a loyalty card holder of the airline you’re flying with. Airlines will usually give priority to their regular customers first.

— Don’t check in too early. Airlines sometimes won’t know until quite late in the check-in process how many seats, if any, will need to be upgraded on a particular flight. An element of luck can be involved in terms of timing.


Read more:

12 new UAE flight routes for 2018

Where to go in 2018

On the move: the importance of real travel in the digital age

On the move: how to book a holiday


Updated: January 17, 2018 10:52 AM