You’ve probably come across countless articles and videos claiming to guarantee a free seat upgrade if you follow their tips. Do these tips work? Are there really free seat upgrades for grabbing?

The answer is a little more complex than a clear YES or NO. There are possibilities to upgrade your seat without having to pay the full price for it. Some of the scams you might hear about, such as pretending to be pregnant or injured to land a free seat in First Class or being friendly to the people at the ticket desk, are ineffective. If it only took a fake limp and a smile to sit in First Class for free, we would all be doing it! So let’s dive a little more into the good and bad advice for a free upgrade.

You need to dress for the part: FALSE

You don’t need to put on your best suit and designer’s jewelry to get a free seat upgrade. Many airlines have a standard dress code where passengers must cover their middle section or not wear too revealing outfits. But it doesn’t mean that the ticket desks select the best-dressed people for an upgrade. You don’t need to buy expensive clothes or luxury items such as used Patek watches to become eligible for an upgrade. However, if you are too underdressed, you may not be considered for an upgrade.

Some airlines have free upgrade events: TRUE

Airlines often run loyalty program events with generous giveaways for their customers. To participate, you need to register for their loyalty program. Upgrades are available for travelers who book a flight at or before a specific date, as stated in the giveaway rules.

There may be other requirements, such as available seats on the plane for an upgrade or even being a loyal customer for a specific period of time. However, you can receive loyalty points, which can be used for a seat upgrade.

It doesn’t hurt to ask: TRUE

You may not receive the upgrade for free, but it doesn’t cost anything to ask about it. Flight upgrades are difficult to get, but you are even less likely to be considered if you don’t ask. You can ask different questions to land an upgrade. You can discuss whether an upgrade would be available because you have been inconvenienced by the airline. Alternatively, it’s worth giving up your seat on an oversold flight in exchange for an upgrade on a future flight. These techniques do not guarantee you a seat upgrade. But they make it more likely to happen.

You must know someone at the airline to get an upgrade: FALSE

It helps if you know an employee. Indeed, standby tickets can be used by employees and their loved ones, which means you could get a discounted seat. Some airlines make Business and First Class available whenever possible. So, it does help to have connections.

However, you don’t need connections within the airline company to land an upgrade. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly to the people at the ticket desk and the crew members. They hold a lot of power when it comes to reassigning seats!

Are you ready to try and get a seat upgrade? Not everyone is successful. However, the only way to get a free upgrade is to try! So good luck! In the meantime, if you can’t get a free flight upgrade, there are plenty of tips to find a cheap flight and visit new places without breaking the bank!


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