The menu on First Class flights is above and beyond those of Economy and Business Class. As well as having access to a wide variety of premium food and beverages, First Class travellers can often choose exactly when they want to eat, as well as having meals freshly prepared by an on-board chef in some cases. Premium beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are included in the fare and available any time with some airlines offering couple seating during the meal service.
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. 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.
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.
True first class only exists on premium commercial routes, so beware as a few airlines call their business class "first". It means the crème de la crème of comfort, both on the plane and at the airport. Often the seat can be replaced by a full bed with bedding. Massages may also be available, as well as the highest quality of personal concierge service.
First class seats are typically offered to passengers who somehow distinguish from regular flyers. So if you have some title, why not use it instead of flying economy over and over again? As a rule, holders of diplomatic passports, as well as officials and doctors, get free upgrades quite easily. If you don’t have any document confirming your special status, perhaps some of your family members have it?
Flying First Class is certainly the best way to travel. First Class offers the utmost level of comfort and the highest level of amenities and services. The seats in the First Class Cabins are ergonomically designed that feature up to 180 degrees of recline, offer wider space for legroom, are much more comfortable and offer more privacy as compared to the seats in other travel classes.
Senior Marketing Manager Douglas Cook left it to his mum to get mad. He explains: “My dad had been working in Australia for a month and my mum, my brother and I were flying out to meet him. Qantas overbooked our first flight, made us wait for another, and then at our change disclosed they had done exactly the same thing on our connecting flight. My mum lost her rag, as we were now going to be days late meeting my dad. In the end they put us on a Singapore Airlines flight in first class, which as you might imagine was lovely, and as it left earlier and made good time meant we weren’t that late after all!”
It’s pretty safe to say that all airlines over-book their flights, and when everybody actually shows up for a flight, they need to find people willing to be bumped to a later departure. Consider this a good thing; if the flight is overbooked, your bargaining position is strong. Approach the gate agent and be as genuine and sympathetic as you can. Ask them if they would consider re-booking you in return for an upgrade voucher in addition to whatever other incentives they might be offering (sometimes you can score a free hotel stay and meal voucher if the flight is the next morning). This will be more likely to work if you don’t have checked luggage, which would require much more work on the part of the airlines (and the agent) in order to bump you.
Certainly it wasn’t all chance that brought first-class upgrades floating one’s way, and a heavy battery of hard and soft tactics arose to increase your chances. Dress neatly, speak politely, fly the same airline regularly, inquire when offering your frequent flier number to the telephone booking person, stand a little taller at check-in if you can (for the tall-person sympathy upgrade), volunteer to give up your economy seat so a family might sit together, volunteer to be bumped on an overbooked flight.
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…
Fare Buzz is another airfare search engine in the web, providing its services since 1994. A peculiar feature of Fare Buzz searching website is its blog, where you can find various astonishing articles about traveling and tourism. The website always offers top flight deals to different destinations, for example, business class flight from Boston to Zurich for $1977. Other searching features such as car, hotels and vacations are also available. It is also recommended to use its City Guide feature, providing rather interesting and useful information of what-to-do in the city you have selected.
Continuing the theme of image-making, let’s work on your communication skills. In the modern era, the ability to charm people is absolutely vital to your future. Why not start practicing right at the check-in counter? Know how to pay compliments and chat to both the check-in personnel and the cabin crew. Words should become your secret power: if you choose them wisely, the reward is guaranteed.
All those people collecting points are not part of some fringe movement of travel lunatics. Other than paying for it, points are the only sure fire way of getting an upgrade, and booking it long enough in advance that you can get excited for your trip for months. Here’s a list of airlines that let you upgrade international plane tickets, and how many points you’ll need. It’s super important to remember that earning points doesn’t require travel. You can earn points from your daily latte spend, amongst many other things. When it comes to using them…
It doesn’t hurt to dress as though you’re travelling in business class even if your ticket says economy. Because airlines work the assumption that not every passenger will show up they often overbook flights. That invariably means that a couple of economy class passengers get ‘bumped up’ to business. Ask nicely when you check in if there are any business class seats available and you may get to turn left when you board your flight.
To become a first class flyer, you should demonstrate the appropriate behavior. Remember: they almost never provide upgrades to first available guys wandering the check-in hall. So your task is to stand out from the crowd. Watch out your speech, kindly smile to everyone you talk to, and generally be polite and welcoming. Well-mannered and intelligent people are always eye-catching.
And if you’re nice to the agent at the check-in, it paves the road for an inquiry. As the adage goes, it never hurts to ask; a polite request for an upgrade if there’s a seat available, may actually result in a one-way trip to business class. Especially if you have a compelling reason, like you’re super tall, pregnant or celebrating a milestone event.