For many of us, first class air travel is out of reach. No complimentary champagne, no big screen TV’s, no luxury beds and certainly no gourmet meals. But it doesn’t have to be this way. After extensive research, I have discovered three great ways to increase your chances of getting free upgrades for first class seats, as well as strategies for buying them at reduced prices.
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Freebie
1. Join A Frequent Flyer Scheme – Frequent flyer miles allow you to build up points from your travels. Getting to the levels like ‘Gold’ gives you a substantial status boost at check-in and puts you ahead of the other passengers if it comes to allocating spare first class seats.
2. Travel Alone– Travelling solo is obviously not the ideal situation in all instances. But if free ticket upgrades are your goal, then this can greatly improve your chances. When airline staff are considering who to bump up, it is far more likely that they will pick a single traveller, as they fill up less space and don’t have to be grouped with anyone else.
3. Pick Your Flight Carefully – The most likely scenario for a free upgrade is when the economy class is full and first class isn’t. So, flying to popular destinations in school time is a good choice, whereas travelling at peak business times to a big city is unlikely to work, as first class is likely to be full.
How to Get Cheap Upgrades
1. Join A Frequent Flyer Scheme – As mentioned before, these schemes can actually get you free tickets. However, the majority of us don’t travel nearly enough to get to those levels. Not to worry though. Even if you don’t build up the necessary miles, most airlines allow you supplement your points with cash to make up the full amount.
2. Ask At Check In – When checking in it’s a good idea to ask about the availability of an upgrade. If the airline have a surplus of seats they may be available at a discounted price, but you may have to haggle a bit to get it.
3. Check Out Comparison Sites – The best way to guarantee the cheapest price is to check comparison websites. The same flight will be on offer from different places, for sometimes dramatically different prices. For example, a first class, return flight from Heathrow to New York through Kuwait Airways can be as cheap as £1,156.39. Conversely, the exact same flight booked through British Airways can cost over £10,000!
Top 3 First Class Airlines
1. Singapore Airlines – What makes Singapore Airlines stand out is their commitment to allowing customers the opportunity to tailor their own flying experience. There is a large selection of drinks on offer, as well as top quality food available how you want it, when you want it. This is combined with an enormous seat that flattens into a bed and huge pillows that allow you to sleep in complete comfort
2. Qatar Airways – Qatar Airways might not necessarily offer the same levels of comfort as Singapore Airlines, but they more than make up for it in facilities. Their planes offer a separate area, which contain a Jacuzzi, sauna, fine dining restaurant and medical centre. This may be one of the few journeys where you’ll enjoy yourself more on the plane than off it.
3. Malaysia Airlines – Malaysia Airlines appears in this list due to the high quality service. They have seats that can be flattened into beds, as well as personal TV’s. What really makes them stand out though is the enthusiastic and committed service of the staff.
You may find it unlikely that you will ever be able to afford first class air travel. But if you apply as many cost cutting methods as possible and get a large slice of luck, you may also be enjoying a Jacuzzi at 36,000 feet!
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