We went on this train trip on the Orient Express in Asia after I had my last baby. My husband and I both love trains and everything old fashioned, and this was a really special trip: You get to sleep on the train for two nights as it goes from Singapore to Bangkok. It was so romantic, and everybody dressed for dinner. The dinner car was like something out of Downton Abbey. The train itself was gorgeous, of course, but the tracks are very old, narrow gauge and the train rattles around on it like God knows what. Walking down the narrow corridors, there would suddenly be a jolt and you’d be thrown against the wall. But a friend of mine in England had already warned me that it was a bone-rattler and suggested I pack Arnica for the bruises.
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.
She continues, “Once you meet your minimum spend, which is usually around $3,000, think about getting a second card for your business, spouse or even yourself, especially one with transferable points like American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Chase card offers 40,000 miles on sign-up so that would be enough when combined with a 50,000 mile bonus on an airline card for one first-class round-trip ticket to London or Paris.” 
Don’t get me wrong — when I am filing past the first few rows of seats on my way to the back of the plane, those big leather seats with folks already drinking wine in them have a strong allure. But those seats come with a cost, whether in cash or in miles, and on domestic flights you don’t get all that much more than the folks in coach — it’s usually the same meals, albeit for “free,” the same headphones with the same movies or DirecTV, and the same limited seat incline.
Don’t get me wrong — when I am filing past the first few rows of seats on my way to the back of the plane, those big leather seats with folks already drinking wine in them have a strong allure. But those seats come with a cost, whether in cash or in miles, and on domestic flights you don’t get all that much more than the folks in coach — it’s usually the same meals, albeit for “free,” the same headphones with the same movies or DirecTV, and the same limited seat incline.

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. 
Ask your consultant about the specific First Class benefits on your airline of choice. Flying First Class, you can expect to receive express check-in and baggage check, complimentary lounge access, luxurious seats that often convert into fully flat beds, gourmet food, premium beverages and a highly personalised level of customer service. Enjoy a welcome champagne and refresher towel on boarding and on select airlines use the exclusive sit down bar for First Class passengers.
If you don't have access to a service such as Flight Alerts, check in with the airlines 24 hours prior to departure. If an upgrade is still unavailable at this point, check in online at the airline's Web site. Most airlines establish a waitlist for upgrades at the airport. Priority is usually given to those who have checked-in the earliest and with online check-in available 24 hours prior to departure; this will greatly increase your chances of getting that elusive upgrade.
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But Matrix can show you the discounted fares too (as many frequent fliers and travel hackers know). Matrix, as we've mentioned before, is the Google-owned software that powers the most popular travel search engines, as well as many airlines and travel agents' tools. To find the discounted fares, all you have to do is choose "Business class or higher" in the search box. The Y-Up fares are rolled into the search results and show the seats as first class.
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Nothing screams unprepared for Business Class like being under-dressed. If you plan on scoring Business Class or Premium Economy seats, wear business casual clothes to the airport and bring a comfortable change of clothes to put on once your flight takes off. Surveys show that well-dressed travellers are most likely to score a move to a superior class. This means no jeans, athletic shoes or other casual attire. Airlines are more willing to upgrade passengers who look as though they will fit-in with those who willingly paid the extra money.
Why you want to fly it: Cathay Pacific’s excellent first-class cabins offer the full package experience, with everything from pre-flight spa treatments to Champagne and caviar service on board. The seats are extra-wide (at 36 inches) and extra-long (the bed stretches almost seven feet), and can be found on some of the carrier’s Boeing 777-300ERs—including many of the planes it flies from its Hong Kong hub to such major U.S. airports as Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, LAX, and JFK.

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The first upgrade tip is to consider using your accumulated miles for flight upgrades as far in advance as possible (flights are often posted up to 330 days prior to scheduled departure). Even this far out the airlines will usually make available at least a couple of seats for mileage upgrades but not for awards. This is important to understand. Consider purchasing an inexpensive coach ticket and use your miles to upgrade. An additional benefit to doing this is you will earn qualified miles for the paid coach ticket (you receive zero credit on a Premium seat using miles exclusively). If you want or need to use your awards miles for securing a ticket (without an actual ticket purchase), you should follow the same rules of checking the availability as far out as possible.
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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]


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.

Last updated on Thursday 01/03/2019 at 05:00 AM, the fares mentioned above are for Round Trip flight tickets and inclusive of fuel surcharges, service fee and taxes. Based on historical data, these fares are subject to change without prior notice and cannot be guaranteed at the time of booking. Kindly go through our terms and conditions before booking.
Don’t get me wrong — when I am filing past the first few rows of seats on my way to the back of the plane, those big leather seats with folks already drinking wine in them have a strong allure. But those seats come with a cost, whether in cash or in miles, and on domestic flights you don’t get all that much more than the folks in coach — it’s usually the same meals, albeit for “free,” the same headphones with the same movies or DirecTV, and the same limited seat incline.
Another way to join is to get a BA American Express card, which automatically lets you in. It's also one of the best-paying reward schemes on the market, paying points for normal spending on the card, and if you hit a certain amount, giving a free 'companion flight' on top. Always set up a direct debit to pay it off in full each month – otherwise it's 22.9% representative APR. See the Airline Credit Cards guide for more details.

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.
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