You can always request an upgrade to a higher class before you board, you can use your miles or pay and get your ticket upgraded to business/premium class then you will be issued a new boarding pass.

However, are there any airlines that provide that after boarding? like you call a flight attendant, request an upgrade, pay for it somehow, and then get upgraded on-spot?

Please note, I am talking about paid upgrades.

  • Hmm, as with the Lufthansa and AirFrance answers below, I assumed this was common? I remember a couple times (ie, on long-hauls) the staff asking in economy if anyone wanted to (pay to) upgrade to biz. or first. Perhaps times have changed.
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 17:23
  • In the present climate, I wonder of there are any airlines that won't seize any opportunity to increase revenue.
    – Strawberry
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 15:44

5 Answers 5


United allows cabin crew to sell "upgrades" to Economy Plus (not technically an upgrade, since Economy Plus is still the economy class, just with more legroom) from their handheld devices. Source:

If passengers want to upgrade to economy plus during boarding, for example, Bingochea can easily accommodate the request using a proprietary app on his handheld device called Link.

The devices they use take credit cards, same way they sell food and drinks. I'm not sure whether they can do real upgrades to other cabin classes though.

  • My memory is fuzzy here, but I'm pretty sure I was on a packed United flight once (pre-COVID) and one of the cabin crew directly made an announcement pointing out that the plane was crowded and if you want to upgrade.......... Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 17:41

The other day Lufthansa was selling Premium Economy upgrades after the door was closed. The price was ridiculous, though, and no one went for it.


Edelweiss allows you to upgrade from Economy to Business after boarding the plane. At least for short-haul flights, subject to seat availability. Payment can be done through credit card or debit card.

This even works, if catering does not allow for the +1 on the manifest, which it normally does. I don't know if it would work on long-haul flights, since I never found myself in that situation.

Couldn't find the official confirmation on this. But I've done it a couple of times for flights between ZRH and CTA, where buying P/Z/C/D tickets 2-3 hrs beforehand was not possible anymore. Or if I wanted to upgrade a fellow traveler to fly with me.

In the past other airlines allowed me to pay a fixed fee on board to upgrade, but I haven't really flown with most of them in quite a while.


Air France/KLM allows upgrades on board by speaking to a flight attendant:


You can even upgrade your cabin after boarding, subject to availability.

  • Eligible airlines: Air France and KLM marketed and operated flights
  • Available payment methods: Miles or just cash
  • How to request: on board
  • Same is true for EL-AL airlines (Israeli airline)
    – Idos
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 17:14

Scoot (Singapore Airlines' low-cost subsidiary) used to offer paid in-flight upgrades, but this was suspended in June 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

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