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. 
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!”
Airline employees and their relatives and friends get so-called buddy passes that allow traveling for reduced rate or free. So if you’re linked to someone working for an air company, this is your chance to get cheap first class airline tickets! Yet keep in mind most airlines charge certain fees for trips of such kind. Moreover, those passes are only handy when premium class flights are underbooked as buddies usually have the lowest priority in the standby list.

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.
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.
And no, we don’t mean turning up at Stansted as the Blues Brothers. Leave the tracksuit at home and dress as if you’ve just been browsing the FT in the exec lounge – either full-on formal or business casual (pink herringbone shirt, beige chinos, tan brogues) does the job. Having gained a business class upgrade with her boyfriend to South Africa, Talent Acquisition Coordinator Fiona Nimmo advises “looking good, wearing your Sunday best and smiling”. For more holiday fashion tips, follow our guide on what to pack for every kind of trip.
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Airline employees and their relatives and friends get so-called buddy passes that allow traveling for reduced rate or free. So if you’re linked to someone working for an air company, this is your chance to get cheap first class airline tickets! Yet keep in mind most airlines charge certain fees for trips of such kind. Moreover, those passes are only handy when premium class flights are underbooked as buddies usually have the lowest priority in the standby list.
*Lowest Fare Guarantee - We are so sure that our bulk private fares are unbeatable that we will give you a Low Fare Guarantee! As long as you call us within 24 hours from the purchase of your ticket and you provide us with a copy of the itinerary from any of our competitors which will include identical itinerary, including the fare basis and fare calculation information, we will match the price and send you $50 voucher to use towards your next purchase of any bulk private fares.

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.


At Flight Centre, our First Class travel specialists can arrange flights and accommodation to suit your preferred travel style. First Class travel is perfect for those seeking the highest level of luxury and service from the moment they arrive at the airport to commence their trip. Chat to one of Flight Centre's First Class specialists about custom building the perfect luxury travel experience for your needs.

How to book it for less than coach: Good news for U.S.-based fliers: Cathay is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, along with American Airlines Inc., so you can use AAdvantage miles for award tickets on the Asian carrier. That costs 110,000 miles each way from the airline’s hub in Hong Kong to the continental U.S., or 90,000 miles each way between Hong Kong and Europe. Have Alaska Airlines miles? You’re in even better luck. It costs only 70,000 Alaska miles for a one-way, first-class ticket between Asia and the U.S. or Europe. Pro tip: Cathay often opens up award seats at the last minute, so spontaneous travelers can be handsomely rewarded.
There are often only a few cheap first-class fares per flight. Instead of flying round trip on a single airline, you may find better prices by flying one way with one airline and returning with another. (On domestic flights, it’s now rare that one-way trips cost more than half of a round trip.) On some domestic routes, first-class fares can be as little as $100 more than coach seats.
Be reasonable. Being overly demanding or demeaning just inspires agents to pick someone else to upgrade if the opportunity arises. And don’t waste everyone’s time and good will if you know that you are a poor candidate. If you are traveling with your whole family, have a pet lobster in a cage as your carry-on or purchased a ticket for an extremely low fare, you probably don’t want to spend your energy demanding upgrades.
If you're going to ask, being polite and undemanding and doing it with a cheeky smile is the best way. And be prepared for them to answer that you can pay for an upgrade. If they do, try haggling down the price. Some airline staff report that very occasionally, even when they have to upgrade because of space shortages, they're told to ask people to pay – and if they won't pay, they give the upgrade anyway.

The way you look should tell anybody that you’re eligible for traveling first class. So manage to dress sharp and groom yourself properly. Since most people aren’t really concerned about how they look during long trips, a classy dressed traveler instantly draws the attention of people responsible for premium class sales. Wear business casual, act your best, and see the effect!


Joe also recounts that Air France emailed him a couple of times on the day of departure offering a cheap (not free) upgrade. “I’ve twice missed this because I didn’t check my emails close enough to departure. One of these times I had even called the airline to ask if they had any deals and they said no! So keep checking your emails even up to a couple of hours before you fly.”

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