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THE BEST WAYS TO GET AN UPGRADE FROM ECONOMY TO BUSINESS CLASS

by Lisa Stentvedt
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Business class tickets always cost way more than the economy class tickets, usually up to four times the cost of the economy class. Most times, the business class parts of a flight are booked by the elite, making it very hard (but not impossible) for the rest of us.

So you want to enjoy the extra space and comfort of flying business on your next flight? Achieving this is dependent on many variables, excluding the efforts you will have to put in yourself, but here are some things you can do to increase your chances of getting an upgrade!

Read more: how I got upgraded to Business Class with Emirates

airplane window business class

Upgrade with miles

This seems to be the best option for you if you travel often, although, this option and its viability depend on the airlines. While some airlines allow for you to jump from an economy ticket to business class, some only allow for one cabin jump. A mileage upgrade is usually available when you book your flight, and if it is not you can always check back regularly. If you fly often, you can quite easily earn airline miles and surprisingly, you can also earn mile points even when you don’t fly. Some airlines, like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and others allow you to earn points by shopping online (with their credit cards) and in their online stores.

Don’t miss these awesome airport tips before your flight!


Engage in bidding

Some airlines offer upgrade auctions on their sites, i.e. the opportunity to bid on an upgrade. I have done this for myself, and strongly recommend it! After booking your flight you can check if they have an upgrade auction and put in a bid for the “good life”. Just stay on the lookout for this opportunity, as sometimes the airline will email you, and sometimes not. I was offered a flight upgrade once for £280 from premium economy to business class for a one-way flight (with a time limit to accept the offer). The difference between the premium economy and business class was £1500 when I booked the flight, so it was an amazing offer.

However, it is quite important to keep a level head as bidding sometimes might eventually exceed the price of buying a business class ticket directly, especially if the number of bidders increase with time. Most times, the bid is way lower than the original ticket price, but the airlines will always want to maximize their opportunities.

Curious about how you can bid for an upgrade? Don’t miss my guide to bidding on a flight upgrade successfully!


Buy an upgrade

This is a surefire way of getting yourself upgraded if you really want it. Most airlines will allow you to buy an upgrade regardless of your status, so you can always request a paid upgrade with your airline, sometimes at a fairly reasonable price. Many airlines in America and the UK will provide a list with prices of upgrades when it is available, and Business and First Class companies will also have access to exclusive business class fares. Because of this, I recommend checking both before upgrading. It is always worth to check prices in companies like Skyclub.com.

This will usually not earn you any extra points but trust me, it is a lot nicer to fly business when you have to fly for several hours. Most airlines offer this upgrade when they have a full economy class. So instead of giving away the business class tickets for free, they tend to offer it for a ridiculously low price sometimes. If they do not offer it right off the bat, you can put in a request, as often the staff are aware of both the upgrades and their prices, so if available, you’ll might be the lucky one! Just don’t forget to put in the request.

Curious about what business class is like? Read my review of Scandinavian Airlines’ Business Class, or my Emirates Business Class Review!


Service volunteer

Yes, service volunteering can actually earn you an upgrade for free, you just have to play smart. Airlines, on good business days, can get their calculations right by selling the exact number of tickets on a flight. But, there are days when they have more tickets sold than the number of spaces available. By doing this (purposely overbooking their flights), they bank on some people not showing up for the trip. This is a risk they take, and it might end up leaving them with a full flight, with some people left behind.

So, if you are not in a hurry, you can offer up your seat and wait for the next flight. Make sure to notify them of this at check-in, in which case they will reach out to you if the flight turns out to be overbooked. Doing this will give you an advantage in the queue of people being considered for an upgrade. The airline will most likely want to compensate you for your service with vouchers for future flights and seat you in the business class of the next available flight. One advice is to also mention that you are more than happy to wait for the next flight, given that you also get a seat upgrade as it means you will have to work on the plane, for example.

To sum up, upgrading from any class to business class is possible for anyone, even if you have never flown before. It just requires patience and a bit of luck, so make sure to always be smart with your booking, and be on the lookout for upgrade offers. In the end, you might be lucky and get an upgrade AND more out your money.  

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