How To Get a Free Upgrade From the Cabin Crew

How To Get a Free Upgrade From the Cabin Crew

A survey among cabin crew reveals the 10 best ways to improve your chances on getting a free upgrade to business class on an airplane.


A smartly dressed, single guy in his 30s is a the passenger most likely to get a free upgrade according to a survey of 700 international cabin crew by leading global travel search site Skyscanner. The survey found that nearly two-thirds (61%) of cabin crew have given someone a free upgrade and it's single guys that are bagging the premium seats.


However, at the other end of the scale, forget it if you're flying as a hen party. The flyers voted least likely to get an upgrade are women in their late teens, wearing revealing clothing and travelling as part of a group.


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 favourite to get bumped up to premium, when seats become available.


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.


Cabin crew reveal the top 10 ways to boost your chances of getting a free upgrade:

  • 1. Be friendly and polite
    A massive 82% of crew say it makes a difference

  • 2. Join the airline’s frequent flyer scheme
    80% of crew said that this helps to improve your upgrade chance

  • 3. Travel alone
    72% are most likely to upgrade a lone travellers

  • 4. Point out that sprained ankle
    Having an injury or illness is likely to increase your chances of an upgrade according to 65% of crew.

  • 5. Dress smartly
    59% are more likely to upgrade a well-dressed passenger

  • 6. If you’re on your honeymoon, make the crew aware
    58% would be more likely to upgrade newlyweds

  • 7. Make friends in high places
    55% of crew admit that they are more likely to upgrade a friend or family.

  • 8. Travel at unpopular times
    If there are lots of seats available in premium class, you’re more likely to have that request accepted according to 47% of crew.

  • 9. Give the crew a sob story to gain their sympathy
    35% of crew say it can sway their decision

  • 10. Look your best
    31% are more likely to upgrade a well-groomed, attractive passenger



In a separate poll of passengers, Skyscanner found that travellers are so keen to get that elusive premium seat that three quarters would willingly lie their way to a free upgrade. More than one in ten would pretend to be newlyweds (14%), 6% would feign illness or injury and 7% would ditch their partner and pretend to be travelling solo if it increased their chances of getting moved to premium class.


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