upgradedAn Australian news outlet recently asked a panel of travel experts how to increase your chances of getting a seat upgrade.  Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the tactics they recommended:

  1. Look the part: Ditch the backpack, flip-flops and sweats.  Present yourself neatly and polish up your manners and you may find yourself sipping on champagne in either first or business class.
  2. Travel on busy days: With a sold-out flight, there is more chance of an upgrade if passengers don’t show up, which is more likely to happen on busy days.
  3. Never, ever, ask for an upgrade: Unless you have elite frequent flier status, do not ask for an upgrade.  Apparently, it’s like ordering soup from the Soup Nazi.  It’s rude to ask.  Instead of asking, simply volunteer yourself to be bumped.
  4. Flirt your way to a better seat: If break tactic #3, then you better be charming.  Dropping a “pretty please”, batting the eye-lashes and flirting a bit actually works.
  5. Travel solo: You’re more likely to score an upgrade if you travel alone as it’s more than likely there will be one seat available than two or three.  If you travel solo, it also helps with tactic #4.
  6. Join a frequent flier program: A frequent flier number implies a certain degree of loyalty, and the airlines are more likely to upgrade passengers who are or appear to be their loyalists.
  7. Don’t be an early bird: Airlines allow for no-shows by double-booking some seats, so when everyone turns up to board the flight, the late arrivals are usually bumped up into a higher class.
  8. Smile: Be nice.  Say thank you.  Enough said.
  9. Lie: Airline staff have heard everything under the sun, so be creative and see how far a little lie can take you.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • The U.S. DOT has fined Southwest Airlines $200,000 for “bumping” passengers from oversold flights without complying to federal standards. An investigation by the DOT revealed “numerous instances” in which the Dallas budget carrier denied boarding to passengers on overbooked flights without providing a written statement explaining their rights, which can include compensation of up to $800.
  • The seven hotel brands of IHG are offering discounts of up to 50% off on stays across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia and Papua New Guinea on stays between June 1 and Aug. 31.   IHG brands include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites.  Reservations must be completed by May 13th.  Also, give IHG’s new iPhone app a whirl.  IGH is offering users 1,000 Priority Club Rewards bonus points for all bookings and stays for the rest of April through June 15th made using the iPhone app.