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The secret plans to get upgraded

Why travel in eco when you can have an upgrade? Personally, I have imagination but not as much as some of my traveling friends. So here is an anthology of the best tricks to try to access the upper classes.

All travel managers know it, travelers have no limitation in the imagination when it comes to circumventing the rules to grant themselves advantages without breaking the rules. So here are the best techniques tested by some of my travel friends who, you will see, are very creative to obtain the famous sesame so desired!

The “baby cradle seat”

A “Road warrior” who often traveled to China told me: “me, when I travel in economy, I always reserve the seats where we can put baby cribs. I’m waiting for the last moment to show up for check-in or boarding and there’s a surprise…”. I can imagine, but explain to me… “It’s simple… There is always a couple who have forgotten to reserve a “baby cradle” so the company gives them my place, and they change my seat. As the plane is usually full, they have no other solution than to upgrade me”. And it works ? “in 80% of cases yes”. And for the rest ? “Well, I travel in eco on the worst seats, the ones nobody wants, or I travel next to a screaming gnome…”.


A traveler who often travels to North America told me: “I always buy a bottle of Cognac and before registering, I wait to see an American who registers in business”. What is the connection ? ” Oh ! it’s simple, once he’s registered, I go to meet him and I explain to him that if he passes me off as his N-1 colleague and negotiates an upgrade for me, I’ll give him the bottle of Cognac”. And it works ? “Yes, especially with older people traveling alone. In two-thirds of cases, they succeed, because they generally have a top loyalty card and therefore value for the company”. And when it doesn’t work? “Well, I bring it as gifts to the colleagues I visit. It’s good for my popularity.” Well, I must admit that he didn’t tell me if he included it on his expense report, but I have my idea (another client gift?)…

The splint

A traveler who often travels to the Middle East travels only by flight with a stopover. Great for cost reduction but knowing him, this hides a trick… “In fact, I put a splint on my leg and presented it to check-in handicapped by this harness. I say that if I don’t go on the road, my boss fires me and since I didn’t dare tell him that I was injured this weekend, I have no choice but to go on a mission “. And where is the trick? “Well, since they’re afraid I’ll have an embolism or something, you can be sure they’ll outclass me.” It works in 80% of cases. Alright, but suddenly you travel in discomfort, don’t you? “well no and that’s why I fly via car at the stopover, neither seen nor known, I take off the splint and I do the long haul in the greatest of comforts”.


One female traveler told me that she routinely goes to check-in counters manned by men and says to them, “I’m changing jobs next month and, unfortunately, I won’t be traveling again in the future. So for this last flight, I would have liked to be able to have an upgrade, but my boss doesn’t want to hear anything about my accounts… On the off chance, there wouldn’t be a small possibility…”. And there, she does the Puss in Boots look (see the film Shrek)… And does it work? “Well, if he is sensitive to feminine charm, yes…”.

The opportunist

A great travel strategist told me that he was always the last to check in. “On the lines I take, there are very often overbooking problems. The company then offers volunteers to postpone their flight for a fee”. And do you take advantage of it? “Especially not, I tell them then that they can do it twice. First upgrade me and second give my place to the unfortunate who is on the waiting list. Ok, but they have already upgraded passengers anyway, right? ” Not always. And that’s where I come in with a master tip. I always dress myself top class when I travel. So they think I’m a VIP instead of the technician I am. I assure you it really helps! They tell themselves that I’m not going to get out of place in the world of high contributions”.


“Me, I always present myself cool and smiling, I ask the person who checks my luggage how she is and I flatter her that she puts up with all this noise and all these vociferous and never happy passengers”. So what ? “Well, I tell him, you see, I know that I will never have the chance to travel on business, but that’s not why I’m ruining everyone’s life”. And it works ? “sometimes yes…”.

Well, I hope that in these complex times, this paper has had the merit of making you smile. It is clear that the companies grant less and less last minute advantages. Times have changed and often the burden of registration is delegated to a third party who does not have the power of decision. Techniques, I have heard many others and even some unmentionable ones… But hey, let’s admit that the best thing is to be loyal to a company, to ask if there is no paid upgrade available at the last minute and there, if you are a good customer and you ask nicely, there is a chance that it will pass… Let’s hear it…

PS: If you or your travelers have any techniques not mentioned, do not hesitate to send them to us by email at We will be happy to report them in our columns 🙂

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