Flight attendants have been spilling their secret tips and tricks travellers can use to get a seat in first class.
One seasoned traveller asked for advice on he best way to get upgraded to first class without buying a seat ‘outright’.
Dozens of cabin crew workers and travel pros responded with handy hacks to use from using frequent flyer points to signing up to loyalty programs and buying tickets well in advance and never paying for an upgrade at the airport.
A seasoned traveller has asked flight attendants for the best advice for getting cheap upgrades to first class online drawing in dozens of useful responses
‘What’s the best way to fly first class? Is it always better to bump it at the counter? I feel like buying it outright isn’t the smartest,’ the woman asked in a post to the Gals Who Travel Facebook group.
‘Just did my first couple first class flights and I wanna stay here now so I want to be smart and not pay more if I don’t have to.’
Flight attendants’ top five hacks for getting cheaper first class tickets
- Buy first class tickets well in advance instead of upgrading on the day of your flight
- Join an airline’s rewards program
- Sign up for an airline’s credit card and watch out for double points deals
- If you knew a crew member see what benefits and discounts they can offer you
- Ask the gate agent for an upgrade for short haul flights
One flight attendant shared her wealth of industry knowledge and said the best option is to buy a first class ticket in advance as upgrading on the day can be a lot more expensive.
She also recommended racking up frequent flyer points to buy first class tickets at a discounted price.
‘If you have an airline that you favour most, look into joining their rewards program and possibly signing up for their credit card,’ the hostess explained.
‘A lot of airlines tend to give a lump sum of points just for applying and making qualifying purchases within the first months of the account opening.’
She added points can also be earned with everyday purchases like petrol, groceries and bills and often the airlines will have partnerships with certain restaurants and hotels where you can earn double points for using the card.
‘You can use the points for upgrades and once you gain a high enough status in the reward program, you could even qualify for free upgrades depending on how the airline handles their reward system,’ the woman continued.
The stewardess said if travellers know a crew member personally they may be able to get them on a flight for a small fee but warns there is a catch.
‘It most likely will not be a confirmed seat. Usually you would pay a small fee to be placed on a space available standby list,’ she said.
‘Depending on the airline and the position of your friend (flight attendant, pilot, gate agent, ground ops, etc) your priority on said list may vary. They could probably purchase a confirmed seat for you with their discount if the airline allows that.’
Another group member suggested asking the gate agent for an upgrade on short haul flights but buying first class tickets in advance for long haul flights.
‘But depending on the airline they may offer upgrades to loyalty members first before you, even if you’re offering to pay,’ she said.
Hostesses said it can be better to buy first class tickets outright and never to pay for an upgrade on the day. They also recommended signing up for an airline’s rewards program
‘For long haul flights, it’s best your buy outright. If you wait until the gate they will want to charge you (a lot) because they know you really don’t want to sit in the back for a 10+ hour flight.’
Many agreed asking at the gate may be a lost cause if you’re not part of the airline’s rewards programs as members are prioritised and said buying outright could be the best option.
‘Generally it’s more expensive at the airport the day of travel in my experience for purchasing first class,’ one woman replied.
Best to buy…if there are any first class seats available elite status customers get upgraded to those,’ a second added.
Previously a TikTok user has shared the ‘trick’ she learned from a flight attendant for getting a free upgrade when travelling – but other flight attendants are warning that it’s bad advice.
Ceara Kirkpatrick, from St. Louis, Missouri, revealed in a recent TikTok video that an airline worker she recently befriended spilled some secrets he learned on the job.
The flight attendant told her that travellers can get a seat upgrade simply by dressing nicely, but that wearing sweatpants will ensure they never see business class without paying the full fare.
Ceara’s video has gone viral with travellers hoping for a surprise class bump, but other flight attendants have weighed in as well – and most say the only way a traveller is getting an upgrade on a US airline is by earning status.
Spill the tea: Ceara Kirkpatrick, from Missouri, revealed on TikTok that she recently befriended an airline worker, so she asked him to share some secrets about the job
‘I became friends with a flight attendant a few weeks ago and we had a three hour car ride together so I trapped him and I was like, ‘Tell me everything I need to know about being a good flyer,” Ceara explained in the clip, which has now been viewed more than two million times.
‘I’m like, ‘What are the tips? What are the tricks? What’s the insider scoop?’
‘He was like, ‘You need to look nice on every single flight. When you check in they will literally mark you as suitable for upgrade if you look nice and only if you look nice.’
‘So if you’re dressed in sweats and look like a piece of garbage, like how I usually fly, you’ll never get upgraded,’ she said.
‘He said sometimes they’ll literally upgrade you regardless of status, even if you’ve never flown with that airline before, just because you look nice.
‘Now I’m going to look way more presentable on my flights, just so I can possibly get upgraded.’
He told her: ‘You need to look nice on every single flight. When you check in they will literally mark you as suitable for upgrade if you look nice and only if you look nice’
The TikTok quickly went viral, and commenters began to argue over whether or not this is true – and other flight attendants even joined in on the conversation.
And although some backed up Ceara’s claims, many said that upgrades are purely based off of airline loyalty – not appearance.
‘I’m a flight attendant, this is not true at all,’ one person wrote.
Another added: ‘Uh, false. 99 per cent of upgrades are based off airline loyalty and status. The rare ‘random’ upgrade is based off fares paid.’
‘I think it depends on the airline,’ someone else said. ‘I know for Delta it solely depends on status 100 per cent.’
The TikTok quickly went viral, and many people began to argue in the comment section about whether or not this was true – and other flight attendants even joined in on the conversation
Although some backed up Ceara’s claims, many said that upgrades are purely based off of airline loyalty – and not appearance
‘We did not do this at American Airlines so stay lazy AA flyers,’ a fourth comment read.
‘As an airline employee, your friend did you dirty on advice, like [that’s] absolutely not true on U.S. airlines,’ another viewer commented, while one more wrote: ‘As a flight attendant I have never heard this in my life.’
In a follow-up video, Ceara explained that her friend worked for an international airline and that the rule may not apply to the U.S. airlines.
‘I guess U.S. airlines don’t really follow this rule – it really depends on your status for U.S. airlines for upgrades,’ she said.
‘If you want to get upgrades in the U.S. I would say stick to one airline, be loyal to them, fly them all the time. They will prioritise you for upgrades.’
According to Ceara, another way to improve your chances of getting upgraded is by bringing a small gift for your flight attendant, like candy or a Starbucks gift card.
According to Ceara, another way to improve your chances of getting upgraded is by bringing a small gift for your flight attendant, like candy or a gift card
She said her friend always brings goodies for his flight attendants when he’s flying and not working, and in return, he’s received things like extra snacks, free drinks, and more
‘Obviously, no one owes you anything so if you do this you should do it out of the kindness of your heart but nine times out of ten, they will treat you special,’ she added
She said her friend always brings goodies for the crew members when he flies and he isn’t working, and in return, he’s received things like extra snacks, free drinks, and desserts from first class.
‘Obviously, no one owes you anything so if you do this you should do it out of the kindness of your heart but nine times out of ten, they will treat you special,’ she added.
Many commenters agreed, and some flight attendants confirmed that they have upgraded people just for being nice.
Many commenters agreed with this theory, and some flight attendants confirmed that they have upgraded people just for being nice
One wrote, ‘I’ve upgraded people because they say hello and acknowledge me when they get on.’
Another person added: ‘If you give flight attendants gifts (candy, Starbucks gift cards, lotion, sanitiser, etc.) they will look out for you. Works best on long flights.’
Ceara continued: ‘Being a flight attendant is such a thankless job, people are so rude all the time.
‘So when they get gifts it’s literally so shocking that sometimes it makes them cry and it’s really nice, so let’s just spread the positivity.’
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