A smartly dressed, single guy in his 30s is the passenger most likely to get a free upgrade according to a survey of 700 cabin crew by leading global travel search site Skyscanner. The survey found that nearly two-thirds (61%) of cabin crew have given someone a free upgrade and it’s single guys that are bagging the premium seats.
However, at the other end of the scale, forget it if you’re flying as a hen party. The flyers voted least likely to get an upgrade are women in their late teens, wearing revealing clothing and travelling as part of a group.
For those who don’t fit the bill, crew have outlined how passengers can up their chances of getting that elusive free upgrade. While a few manners will go far, frequent flyers and solo travellers are odds-on favourite to get bumped up to premium, when seats become available.
Almost three quarters (72%) of cabin crew said they were more inclined to offer a free upgrade to a passenger who was flying alone. Other factors that increase the likelihood of escaping economy are being a frequent flyer and having an injury. Nearly two thirds revealed that a passenger with a broken limb was more likely to get the premium experience for free.
In a separate poll of passengers*, Skyscanner found that travellers, including Filipinos, are so keen to get that elusive premium seat that three quarters would willingly lie their way to a free upgrade. More than one in ten would pretend to be newlyweds (14%), 6% would feign illness or injury and 7% would ditch their partner and pretend to be travelling solo if it increased their chances of getting moved to premium class.
Janet Ranola, Skyscanner Philippines Manager commented: “Not many of us are lucky enough to bag a free upgrade, but if you’re a single guy in your thirties, you have a better chance than any of us. Whilst an upgrade is never guaranteed, cabin crew have revealed that there are a few things you can do to give yourself a better chance of grabbing the premium seats, such as dressing smartly and joining the airline’s frequent flyer scheme before you fly.”
Cabin crew reveal the top 10 ways to boost your chances of getting a free upgrade:
- Be friendly and polite – A massive 82% of crew say it makes a difference
- Join the airline’s frequent flyer scheme – 80% of crew said that this helps to improve your upgrade chances
- Travel alone – 72% are most likely to upgrade a lone traveller
- Point out that sprained ankle – Having an injury or illness is likely to increase your chances of an upgrade according to 65% of crew
- Dress smartly – 59% are more likely to upgrade a well-dressed passenger
- If you’re on your honeymoon, make the crew aware – 58% would be more likely to upgrade newlyweds
- Make friends in high places – 55% of crew admit that they are more likely to upgrade a friend or family
- Travel at unpopular times – If there are lots of seats available in premium class, you’re more likely to have that request accepted according to 47% of crew
- Give the crew a sob story to gain their sympathy – 35% of crew say it can sway their decision
- Look your best – 31% are more likely to upgrade a well-groomed, attractive passenger