The Stack Overflow podcast is back! Listen to an interview with our new CEO.
53

There are many different "fare classes" of economy fare. Some cost more, and all you are paying for is "this is a class you might be able to upgrade from." The cost of the ticket plus the cost of the upgrade is less than the cost of a business class ticket, but you can't always upgrade because there may not be space available in business. There's a luck ...


27

The #1 rule of upgrades is to not believe most of what is said and written about them. There may have been a time (decades ago) when upgrades were at the discretion of the gate or flight crew, and being pleasant and well-dressed might work. These days, some airlines don't even have a premium cabin, and those that do have strict rules about upgrades. There ...


27

Congratulations, I wouldn't complain! Airlines are pretty good these days at managing their passenger load, but sometimes they might overbook a flight or make some mistake and move people around between classes. Worst case, they made a mistake (and notice) and you'll fly economy just like you booked. Best case, you'll enjoy bigger seats and fancier food.


23

If it is a private (or “hidden”) fare then the price your travel agent pays for your seat is a commercially private matter between your agent and his liaison at the airline. (It is probably not the fare that you paid him.) It is, to put it succinctly, a secret. In order to compute the cost of your upgrade, the airline employee needs to know what the ...


20

The issue is that in order to give you a specific seat, they need it to be free. If the better seats are already given away, normally the people who have received a seat have this printed on their (e-) tickets. Moving someone away from their seat because you want it is very tricky. So the best strategy would be to get a better seat in the first place ...


19

It is perfectly possible that there is no Business/First class cabin on the plane - you don't say how long the flight is. For example, British Airways flights within the UK are sometimes booked as "C" class tickets (Business), even though there is no business class - it simply means you have an expensive, flexible ticket with benefits (e.g. lounge entry). ...


16

I never managed to get upgraded myself, but my supervisor's technique is as follows: He always tries to fly with one airline, collects miles and has the highest possible frequent flyer status. He arrives quite early for check-in and goes to the Business Class/frequent flyer desk, and there he just asks if it's possible to get upgraded. It seems to work ...


15

It's rather common for unpublished fares to subject to special rules including a "no upgrades" policy. These are discount fares offered through travel agents and consolidators, generally for the leisure market. They offer a way to airlines to sell cheaper space to price-sensitive travelers without having to cut prices for those who may be willing to pay more....


14

Bonus tip - on a flight two weeks ago from Los Angeles to Auckland, I was stuck in the 2nd to last row, in the middle between two big military folk. I was not looking forward to this. I'd tried at check-in and at the gate for an aisle seat, but no luck. However, on board I kept my eyes open and noticed the guy next to me had a buddy a row ahead. This was ...


12

In addition to the scenario identified by Andrew Ferrier, where the cabin displayed is an artifact of the fare class and not the actual existence of those seats on the aircraft, there are several other scenarios where an economy fare can yield a premium seat, though admittedly I do not think any would apply to Avianca. -UP Fares In the domestic U.S., ...


11

Check in early! I've been upgraded only once, LAX to Cincinnati. It was a night flight and overbooked, so it was quite nice to get a nicer seat to sleep in. I did not have a frequent flyer deal with the airline nor did I pay or give anybody anything. I also don't fly that much either. The reason I think I was chosen for the upgrade is because I checked in ...


11

Getting hotel upgrades is indeed like getting flight upgrades -- the odds are low, and stay low even if you try to game the system, but occasionally you win. I'm also assuming that you have no elite status with the hotel/chain, since that's a whole different ballgame, although it is also by far the best way to get upgrades. First of all, it's important to ...


10

As to the reason for the name, from the Terms and Conditions: Each upgrade is valid for 500 miles of travel. Each flight segment requires at least one upgrade. Thus, if you wish to upgrade your seat on a flight which is 1500 miles long, you would need to use three of these 500-mile upgrades.


10

One way that worked for me was when the airline was overbooked, and needed volunteers to take a later flight. It turned out that there was one no show in business class, so they gave my seat to a standby, and gave me the business class seat.


9

Being 6'4" on a Japanese airline. I was checking in on a partially empty daytime JAL flight from Sydney to Tokyo and they upgraded me to the exit row for free, even though I initially expressed my concern about understanding Japanese in an emergency. No techniques or tricks, just "otherwise"! It's possible that checking in early helped, though. JAL only ...


9

Almost always, I find the best approach is "gradual improvement". Almost all the seating changes you need to make can be made most effectively through the airline's own website: Firstly, always check if you can pick your seat as soon as your ticket is booked. Most full-price airlines, typically if you have some frequent-flyer status or a higher-priced ...


8

As Gagravarr says, having elite status with an airline can sometimes lead to upgrades due to overbooking. However, as well as offering to pay cash, some airlines will allow elite status members to upgrade in other ways. For example, I have Executive Platinum status with American Airlines. They give me 8 free 'Systemwide' upgrades a year to spend on ...


8

I fly regularly with the same few airlines for business (even though I always purchase standard tickets) and have noticed that maybe one in every 8-10 flights, I am upgraded in some way, whether its 'first class' on a short haul flight (larger seats) or invited to the first class lounge on longer flights without much notice. They don't directly tell me this ...


7

Contact Icelandair You can always contact Icelandair to have your ticket(s) upgraded to Saga Premium. Bid for an upgrade You can also bid for an upgrade to Saga Premium with Icelandair's Class Up. On the Class Up page you can check your eligibility for Class Up, but you should also receive an e-mail regarding Class Up if you're eligible. If you're more ...


7

According to the AA website on system-wide upgrades: Obtaining systemwide upgrades When you qualify or re-qualify for AAdvantage® Executive Platinum status: And that's it, as far as anything a typical frequent flyer can aim for in a given program year. Million Miler You get additional SWUs (previously known as eVIPs or VIPOWs) in the Million Miler ...


7

The answer depends on the bid quantum and the delta in the paid fare vs available upgrade fare. Intra Europe the difference in full fare economy and full fare business is usually under 50 EUR. Whereas the bid-for-upgrade rate might be 100 EUR. Of course if you paid deep discount economy it could be a good deal. On the other hand repricing a deep discount ...


6

Ask for it. Don't be shifty. Don't be sneaky. Don't be shady. Ask them if they have the extra seats to upgrade you. If you don't complicate things, you don't run a chance of making the situation awkward, if you are not awkward you are confident, and if you are confident you can run your charm on the person behind the desk for something that isn't even ...


6

Upgrades are handed out for two broad reasons: either the hotel has to, or the hotel wants to. Like airlines, hotels overbook: a hotel with 100 rooms will accept (say) 110 bookings, and expect that 10 people don't show up. (For example, my employer's corporate booking rate at a large chain lets you cancel bookings for free until 6 PM on the day of arrival. ...


6

I had checked out of my hotel that morning and imposed on a friend for that evening until around 22:00. So probably arrived at the check-in counter around 22:30. I had nowhere else to go and would have been very happy to while away a few hours in one of the Emirate's lounges (comfortable seating, free food and drink, newspapers, wi-fi etc). My flight was not ...


5

I once booked a compact (i.e. cheapest available) car at Avis in Germany via Internet, and included a satnav option. Because they didn't have (or didn't want to bother with) a portable satnav, I got a Ford S-Max with a builtin one.


5

While it's difficult to demonstrate a negative, after an exhaustive search through discussions at FlyerTalk and Milepoint, blog posts at The Cranky Flier and Boarding Area, and articles at other places which report on the vagaries of AAdvantage and its tools, I'm prepared to say that as of May 2015 the answer is still no, it is not possible for passengers to ...


5

I'm assuming this is a revenue (paid) ticket, not a mileage award. You say that you booked economy because business was sold out. Since you are willing to buy business class, your travel agency or Etihad should be able to wait-list you now for business class. That way, if someone cancels, your upgrade would automatically clear, your travel agency will be ...


5

BA (also One World) is consistently inconsistent about upgrading tickets booked through travel agents. Upgrading with Avios, 30% of the time, I get told I can't as it was 'booked through an agent and I have to contact them' (the agent is often uninterested in helping and/or can't do Avios upgrades). Upgrading with cash, this happens 70% of the time. I've ...


4

To follow up on my question - I emailed American to ask them if there was anything else I could do with these upgrades; and they allowed me to convert as many as I wished to miles, at 500 miles per upgrade. I am an Exec Platinum who flies a lot with them, so this may have been a one-time offer - I can't guarantee if they would always do this for everyone (I ...


4

Based on what you have said, in the questions and comments, I think you've joined the wrong Frequent Flyer program! As a general rule, airline frequent flyer programs fall into one of three categories. One is US based alliance, one is international alliance or large independent, and the final is budget. We'll ignore the last category for this answer (they ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible