Flight attendant shares ‘easiest’ way to get a free upgrade – ‘not a lot of people know’ | Travel News | Travel
Flight attendant Cierra shared on her TikTok channel @cierra_mistt the “easiest ways to get free upgrades to First Class” on your next flight. She explained that there are actually “so many ways to get free upgrades” but one of the most effective methods, and one “not a lot of people know”, is letting the gate agent or flight attendant know if you are an able-bodied passenger before the flight.
“How to get an upgrade to First Class on your next flight,” Cierra said and revealed that “an easy way that I’ve seen work thousands of times is if you are what we call an able-bodied person”.
Able-bodied passengers are travellers who because of their jobs, are used to receiving orders. These people would therefore be able to assist the crew and quickly react in the case of an emergency.
These can be firefighters, police officers, doctors or nurses, paramedics, military staff and other aviation workers.
Cierra explained: “Basically someone who can react accordingly when we have an emergency on board.
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“All you have to do is simply let the gate agent know before you board. The gate agent will make note of that.”
The flight attendant explained that if after letting the gate agent or crew know, “you’re not upgraded all the way to First Class, at the very minimum they will put you in the exit row which does have a lot of legroom and a lot more space to relax”.
However, travellers should note that they will be required to help evacuate the plane or assist in case of an emergency on board. “Just know that in an emergency you do have to help us,” Cierra added.
Another way to get a free upgrade is when a flight is overbooked and airlines offer incentives to the affected passengers.
“With many flights being overbooked, you can easily negotiate a lot more out of those agents,” Cierra said.
Airlines may give passengers “cash and other incentives like free hotels if they need to wait until the next day for their flight, free food and yes, free upgrades to First Class”.
The flight attendant said that this works even better if “you are very nice to them and bring them chocolates or Starbucks gift cards”.
In fact, many flight attendants have previously said that bringing chocolates and sweets to the crew or gate agents can “work wonders”.
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Crew member Miguel Muñoz told Express.co.uk that some passengers bring “Toblerone or Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons” from the terminal.
He admitted that he is “automatically nicer to the person who had that nice gesture” and that the cabin chief would “always offer them free coffee and tea and if there are better seats available, we will move them”.
“When people do that, the cabin chief would be like ‘Make sure you go and ask them if he wants coffee or tea’ because we can give it for free. Obviously not everything from the snack bar though,” he said.
Passengers took to social media to share their experiences with TikTok user @J4CKMULL saying that this trick worked for them: “It’s worth a gamble for a nine-hour flight I think.”
Another passenger named Ashleigh also said that the hack worked for her on a long-haul flight. She commented: “They upgraded me! Gave me some champagne and gifts! They were lovely!”
Cierra added that passengers sitting at the back of the plane may sometimes get unofficially upgraded because of weight and balance purposes.
The flight attendant explained that when they move people all the way up to the front “it’s not just because we are being nice, but normally if our flight is full we have to move people for weight and balance purposes”.
Depending on the number of passengers, planes can get tail heavy and the crew may have to move the people sitting at the back towards the front.