Most cash bookings can be upgraded with Avios either at the time of booking or later on, depending on availability. Only the lowest economy (World Traveller) fares (Q, O and G) cannot be upgraded with Avios at any time. There must be reward flight availability in the next cabin for you to be able to upgrade to it using Avios. You won’t be able to upgrade with Avios at the airport or on board.
Ask your travel agent. My own travel agent has a relationship with certain airlines that let her book her customers into preferred seats that are not released to everyone (usually toward the front of the plane, in exit rows and the like). She can also see upgrade availability fairly quickly, and many agents can add comments to your reservation that increase your chances of being chosen for an upgrade. Ask about these the next time you talk to your travel agent.
With business class seating moving upmarket, some airlines are reintroducing or modelling their first-class sections as suites. Singapore Airlines now markets its highest class on its A380s as "suites", with the tagline "A class above first." The 2 m (78 inches) bed is separate from the seat and folds out from the back wall, with several other components of the suite lowering to accommodate the mattress. Windows are built into the doors and blinds offer privacy. Suites located in the center can form a double bed after the privacy blinds between them are retracted into the ceiling. Other A380 operators like Emirates also have a suite-like first class with similar amenities but the bed and chair are integrated where a button is pushed to turn the seat into a bed in seconds and vice versa. Etihad Airways introduced a three-room suite called "The Residence" in December 2014 when it added the Airbus A380 to its fleet. The Residence includes its own bedroom with double bed, dining/living area and fully functional shower.[2]
We use cookies to improve your user experience. Cookies are small text files that are saved in your browser. Some cookies are always on, as they are necessary for the website to work properly. Depending on your preferences, we will also use cookies for analytical purposes and to offer you personalised content and relevant advertising. You can change your preferences for these cookies at any time.
Sure, added benefits like amenity kits, pyjamas, china crockery, fine wine and starched linen serviettes are lovely. The real difference, however, between travelling in the front or the back of the plane is your arrival condition. Business class passengers step from the plane refreshed, relaxed, their clothes crisp and prim, hair and makeup immaculate.
On most flights within or between the United States (including Alaska but not Hawaii), Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean – what is normally regarded as regional business class or premium economy in the rest of the world is branded as "domestic first class" by US airlines. The service is generally a step below long haul international business class.[3] US territories in the Western Pacific (Guam and the CNMI) and sometimes Hawaii are considered international for service purposes and generally feature long haul business class.
You see, there are normally a very few first class seats available at reduced rates. So instead of looking for cheap round-trip first class deals, you may purchase two one-way tickets on different airlines. Thus, your chances to find what you want double. Now, one-way trips generally cost the same as round trips. Especially on some domestic routes, there is usually no huge difference between prices for coach and first classes.

Flights to Singapore Flights to Bangkok Flight to Hong Kong Flights to Bangalore Flights to Amsterdam Flights to Chennai Flights to Kolkata Flights to Hyderabad Flights to Ahmedabad Flights to London Flights to Paris Flights to Delhi Flights to Dubai Flights to Mumbai Flights to Pune Flights to Jaipur Flights to Goa Flights to Lucknow Flights to Nagpur Flights to Udaipur Flights to Dehradun Flights to Raipur Flights to Chandigarh Flights to Guwahati Flights to Patna Flights to Mangalore Flights To Varanasi Flights To Kochi View More View Less


Upgraded from economy to business on a Jet Airways flight from BOM to LHR last year. The trip wasn’t an easy one as it was a visit to a friend, who was in a very bad way, and when I was checking in at the airport, exhausted for my return, I got shunted around a lot but kept smiling. (In fact, at the crowded LHR departure gate on the first leg of my journey, when I wasn’t paying attention, one of my fellow passengers filched the cashmere sweater I’d just taken off moments before… so that was, well…) Anyway, boarding at BOM I was pulled aside inexplicably and started to get worried as no one would tell me why. Then – sudden silver lining – an upgrade! Perhaps as it was a night flight, I was traveling solo, and had one piece of soft hand luggage, and there was only one seat empty. Was placed next to a French government minister who promptly fell asleep. I pre-ordered far too much food for breakfast from the Indian options, and got off the plane in London 10 kilos heavier but happy!
Not such a long time ago — and a very good time it was, some say — a “surprise” upgrade wasn’t the rare thing it is today. In fact, if you traveled enough, it was almost just a matter of time before a check-in or gate agent, or even a flight attendant, slipped you a boarding pass with a very low row number — a golden ticket of sorts for many travelers.
Some airlines, including United, will offer discounted first-class upgrades after you book your ticket. To find them, you need to login to your reservation online before you check in for your flight. (These offers might also pop up as you check in.) Delta will let you switch to a first-class fare on the same itinerary with no change fee, so if you see a good first-class fare open up after you book, call and lock it in.
Have high hopes of an upgrade? Unless you’re part of that airline’s loyalty program, odds are not in your favour. Although it’s not strictly necessary to be in an airline’s Frequent Flyer program, you’ve got a much better chance of having those three magical letters: SFU (Suitable For Upgrade) beside your name if you’re a regular card-carrying passenger. The best thing you can do to maximize the benefits of a frequent flyer program is to choose one program and use it exclusively. Benefits continue to increase the more you travel and, in addition to earning points, regular travellers can attain a higher ‘status’. This can come with added benefits such as lounge access, upgrade credits, and priority service levels.
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 you use various air carriers, you should tie your credit card to a point accumulating program. Such programs as Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and many others enable you to transfer points from different airliners. The credit card options have gainful earning structures even despite the barriers of some air carriers to accumulate miles.
Ask your travel agent. My own travel agent has a relationship with certain airlines that let her book her customers into preferred seats that are not released to everyone (usually toward the front of the plane, in exit rows and the like). She can also see upgrade availability fairly quickly, and many agents can add comments to your reservation that increase your chances of being chosen for an upgrade. Ask about these the next time you talk to your travel agent.
Another important thing to remember is that you do not need to print your boarding pass at the time of online check-in. Many travelers make the mistake of waiting to check-in online until they have access to a printer. Check-in as close to the allowable time and pick up your boarding pass at the airport. With nearly every airline offering several electronic kiosks, gaining a boarding pass will take only a few minutes.
Essentially, it's you against the average person. Luckily, the average person uses average websites, which all use similar data and algorithms. While these algorithms are faster than you, they're much less effective. They don't harvest newspaper clippings, parse flight-hacker doublespeak, or trawl private flight forums. By virtue of being in-a-box, they can't think out-of-the-box, and that's your greatest weapon.
Be late without reserving your seat: if you’re lucky and if the flight is overbooked, you might just be able to bag a premium class ticket. However, Joe Sarre, Senior Product Manager in APAC says it “works well at busy times, but it’s a dangerous game! If you’re too late you might miss the check-in time, or they might have already sorted their overbooking problems by giving upgrades to the passengers ahead.” Love flying by the seat of your pants? Check out our top tips for bagging a last-minute holiday.
I love the winter scent, by the White Company, which is literally the smell of Christmas for me—and I’m obsessed with Christmas. But it doesn’t come in small bottles or anything you can really decant. So I have the room spray, and I spray it on absolutely everything: my cashmere scarf, full of holes, that I travel with, always; the inside of my suitcase; any piece of hand luggage; inside my shoes; my socks. I go to town with it. If I am going to die in a twisted, white hot, melting fuselage at 30,000 feet, I want to do it smelling of cinnamon and cloves. I want to do it festively. 
Your flight may only have one or two upgrade places available, so maximise your chances of bagging them by rocking up at check-in ten hours before the scheduled departure. If it backfires, you’ll have to kill a murderous amount of time in Starbucks, but it worked for Product Manager David Low: “My wife and I were flying to the Dominican Republic. We’d got to Glasgow Airport far too early but at least there was no queue. The check-in lady told us that they had two spare seats in first class, and since we were first to arrive, we could have them for free. So we happily accepted.”
ASAP Tickets is a service embracing 650 more travel agents, which provide the best flight deals for their customers. The ASAP Tickets offer discount airfares, group travels, round-trip/one-way/multi-city flight deals and many other useful features. In addition, the customers may find any information related to the air travel such as hotel booking, car rental, visa information, and organization of business meetings and conferences. Here you can find first class air tickets to Europe for $3050 only!
“You can get earned and courtesy upgrades if you’re an elite frequent flyer, but an ordinary person, turning up at the check-in podium at the gate, and hoping to get upgraded — those days have departed,” says David Rowell, founder of The Travel Insider. “The computerized customer relationship software that all airlines have these days lists every passenger on every flight in terms of upgrade priority, and no matter where you are on that list, you’re not going to get an upgrade until everyone above you on the list has been given upgrades first.”
Despite second to highest status with American, I never get upgraded. On international flights, despite offering to pay or use miles to upgrade, there are never any business seats available and as American out of Philadelphia uses US Airways old planes, there are never any premium economy seats on the planes, so I avoid flights to London and other destinations via American, choosing instead to use British Airways. My miles have accumulated to over 300,000 as I have never even been able to use them for transcontinental upgrades. One needs at least the highest status, Executive Platinum to receive a chance, so this article is a little deceptive.
In first class, I don’t want the little glasses of Champagne. I want a cup of tea. But the cups are tiny, so it goes cold, and I can’t stand cold tea, it’s an absolute pet peeve. So I bring a large mug on long-haul flights; it’s not fancy, but it has a photo of my village in the Cotswolds on it. I’m a mug fetishist: I normally fly Virgin, and they’re so into tea their mugs are the best—the biggest, out of anyone’s—but they’re still not big enough for me.
Be late without reserving your seat: if you’re lucky and if the flight is overbooked, you might just be able to bag a premium class ticket. However, Joe Sarre, Senior Product Manager in APAC says it “works well at busy times, but it’s a dangerous game! If you’re too late you might miss the check-in time, or they might have already sorted their overbooking problems by giving upgrades to the passengers ahead.” Love flying by the seat of your pants? Check out our top tips for bagging a last-minute holiday.
Many airlines allow upgrade auctions, and sometimes they can actually offer some bargain gems which will get you business class for less. Systems like PlusGrade allow you to enter your booking details and bid for an upgrade using cash. It’s important to remember what’s “worth it” and more importantly, what’s not – but sometimes if you get a fantastic economy deal, it can make perfect sense to spend a bit and win an upgrade auction to business class. Flat beds are really nice, after all. Before you book, check if your airline offers upgrade auctions, and take it from there…
Many airlines allow upgrade auctions, and sometimes they can actually offer some bargain gems which will get you business class for less. Systems like PlusGrade allow you to enter your booking details and bid for an upgrade using cash. It’s important to remember what’s “worth it” and more importantly, what’s not – but sometimes if you get a fantastic economy deal, it can make perfect sense to spend a bit and win an upgrade auction to business class. Flat beds are really nice, after all. Before you book, check if your airline offers upgrade auctions, and take it from there…
I’m obsessed with Christmas and always collect some kitsch bauble or other from the places I travel to.  It started with trips to Solvang, Calif. Before we lived full time in California, we would come out to visit in November when it was cold in London, and we’d drive up the coast to visit Solvang. It’s one of those Nordic-influenced American towns, where there are Danish pastries the size of small family cars, and it also has a year-round Christmas shop, Jule Hus. We'd go there and get little reindeers. Now we have all these kitsch things from around the world in our house at Christmas; it comes from my mother, who, in particular, has a thing for the naffest possible Christmas decorations. My brother got her one from Lourdes, which was an LED Jesus: You plugged him in, and he opened his arms and his heart flashed, then popped out. My sister lives in Singapore now, so she brings [more] back for us. A lot of the flashy ones, you plug in and stand on a sideboard like that. The best ones are from Asia. 

Since the 1990s, a trend developed in which many airlines eliminated first class sections in favour of an upgraded business class. Newer business class seating is increasing adding features previously exclusive to first class such as convertible lie-flat seats, narrowing the amenities gap to an extent that first class is redundant. Furthermore, with the late 2000s recession, airlines have removed or not installed first class seating in their aircraft, as first class seats are usually double the price of business class but can take up more than twice the room, leaving business class the most expensive seats on such planes.[1] However some, such as Garuda Indonesia, have opted to reintroduce first class seating sections with new aircraft.
First class service was formerly available on intra-European flights on airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa and Swissair.[4] First class seats were typically configured in a 4-abreast configuration, similar to current North American domestic first class seats, rather than the 6-abreast configuration used for economy and latterly business class services.[5][6]
We have never bought an upper-class seat; if ever we’ve flown anywhere up front, we’ve used miles to upgrade from economy. If you want to do that, call reservations and drop the name “revenue management.” The reason is that revenue management’s job is to make sure a flight is profitable, so they’re the ones telling [reservation agents] what they can say; they’re like Flying Club’s boss. Not everyone knows that this department exists, and by mentioning it you reveal yourself as someone who knows how things work and understands how seats are released. Say to the agent: ‘Have revenue management released any first-class seats for miles upgrades yet?’ When they say no, ask them to check or just be put through to revenue management so you can ask when they will release some, as well as how many seats are left. Politely respond like this: ‘You have 20 seats unsold?  Why aren’t you releasing them?’ Often by the end of the conversation they say, ‘OK, we’ll release one for you,’ or they might tell you to call back tomorrow. Doing that, we’ve had a pretty much 100 percent success rate.
Upgrades really do happen, and when they do, they’re better than anyone ever imagines. Sometimes its the double beep at the gate to let the agent know your seat has changed, or it’s an email the night before letting you know that all has worked out, but however it happens it’s the best. If you want to be one of those people so happy on the plane, they actually smile in their photos, there are a few flight upgrade tips that actually work, and you should be using them.
Airline booking ploys Airline reservations system Airline ticket Airline timetable Bereavement flight Boarding pass Codeshare agreement Continent pass Electronic ticket Fare basis code Flight cancellation and delay Frequent-flyer program Government contract flight One-way travel Open-jaw ticket Passenger name record Red-eye flight Round-the-world ticket Standby Tracking Travel agency Travel website
×