It’s worth a shot, right? According to the Telegraph, a MoneySavingExpert.com poll showed that 4 percent of participants said they received a free upgrade just by asking someone at the check-in desk. When you do ask, have a good reason: There’s a better chance you’ll get your request if you have a valid excuse, such as being pregnant, celebrating a special occasion, or being exceptionally tall.
If the flight is relatively empty, your chances are slim. Even though seats in business class may also be empty, the airlines don’t usually upgrade people for no reason. If the flight is full, your chances are better. Airlines carefully plan how much they oversell flights, and their inventory departments are not upset if people need to be upgraded to accommodate everybody on the flight. Therefore, on a full flight the airlines sometimes are forced to upgrade people. In this scenario, if you have a good story, you may be lucky. Remember, of course, that business or first class may already be full from prebooked elite-level upgrades.
If your itinerary is botched or implodes for some reason, particularly if it affects only you and no one else (such that the airline is not trying to accommodate lots of folks in the same situation), your case for an upgrade on a subsequent flight becomes more compelling. The airline is not obligated to upgrade you, but if this happens, pleasantly but firmly let the gate agents know that if an upgraded seat is available on your rebooked flight, you would greatly appreciate getting that seat.
Bestfares.com: Earlier this year, Best Fares underwent a design change and now its fare listing area most nearly resembles Fare Compare (below) more than any other site. On the home page, you'll see a box that reads "Type your Departure City here" and a "go" button. You'll see a listing of fares to hundreds of airports from your city. These fares include some but not all taxes, and you'll also see "member only fares" listed along with "published" fares.
Number 2 is that you don’t even need to know where you want to go. Based solely on your fixed dates or a broad time period, the Explore option shows you where is cheapest to fly, which is a perfect tool for the early stages of your trips. I use it this feature a lot when planning a trip itinerary or choosing which hub city should I adopt in a multi-city trip.
Buy an extra seat. One interesting tactic to find yourself some breathing room offered by Petersen might appeal to folks traveling on very cheap sale fares: buy two coach tickets. Say you find one of these $100 roundtrip fares to Florida or the like; the airlines that offer these usually make up the difference in fees for checked bags, movies, food and other extras. However, if you don’t need headphones or to check a second bag, you can skip all those charges, and get yourself a heap of legroom for $50 — less than the cost of most premium seats.
Yapta.com: The newest entrant in this burgeoning field. There are two things you can do here: first, if you've already bought a fare, you can enter the flight locator number and then you'll get an alert if the fare has gone down. (Some airlines will refund the entire fare difference in the form of a voucher good for future travel within a year; others deduct $25 to over $300, depending on the fare and route.) But there's also a "Tagger" feature where you can track fares on individual flights, not just routes between two cities. 

Matt is the Managing Editor of Point Hacks. Originally from Sydney, he won the green card lottery and now bases himself in the US for half the year and abroad for the other half. His favourite destinations so far have been Japan, Iran, the US, Israel and South Africa, and his top flight experiences in Cathay Pacific First, SWISS Business and Singapore Airlines Economy Class.
Travel providers like to speculate as to the best time to purchase an airline ticket. Many even claim that certain days of the week are better than others. The IOS and Android app called Hopper has the data to support such a claim, however, and even Apple even named it one of the best apps of 2015.  Hopper’s application uses their accumulated data to predict and analyze airfare. The app will notify you when prices for your flights have hit a low point, according to their algorithms. They’ll also warn you if waiting to purchase may bring a better fare.  Just download the app, do a search for an airfare, and set up the alert. Hopper will track it real time and notify you about changes and purchase recommendations.

Also, ask about availability at check-in, particularly on international flights, where the check-in agents sometimes have more control over the seating chart. Then, if seats appear to be available, check in again at the gate. The final, “miracle” upgrades always happen at the last minute, when all passengers are checked in and any remaining availability becomes clear. Make sure you are within earshot of the gate desk, although hovering over agents is not recommended.
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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