A FORMER British Airways attendant has revealed how to get a free upgrade – and it’s not as hard as you may think.
Simon J Marton used to be a Chief Steward for the British airline, leading cabin teams on 747s and 777s around the globe from London’s Heathrow airport.
But the experienced attendant has now shared his insider knowledge in his brand-new book, Journey Of A Reluctant Air Steward.
The father-of-four’s tips – from dressing smartly to doing research and being flexible – could mean the difference between being tightly packed in economy or enjoying complimentary beverages while chilling in a lie-down seat.
Speaking to the MailOnline, Simon said: “Dress smartly – it does no harm. If you look like you could be dressed appropriately for an upgrade, then you stand a better chance in that regard than someone in casual attire.”
Simon, 49, said booking into a packed flight and checking in late may result in you being booked into a first class seat – to help with “overflow”.
Regular BA customers and frequent flyers are also rewarded – as anyone with the mark “Suitable for Upgrade” (SFU) stands a further chance of being rewarded for their loyalty.
Other options include flying with a friend who has business class, because “you have business to discuss” – or if travelling as a family that’s been split up.
He said: ‘If you are a family that’s been split up, then ask to be seated together. It is harder to achieve in economy cabins, but it can be done by splitting the family apart, which I have seen many times, by putting a more able family member such as a teenager or two in economy, whilst putting a parent or two with more dependent children in business class.”
SIMPLE TIPS FOR FREE LUXURY UPGRADES
Be nice – it never hurts to smile and be polite
Dress smart and look business class ready
Get friendly with staff and find out more info about the flight
Try booking into a busy flight or checking in later than usual
Fly with a friend who has business class or as part of a family that has split up
Be by showing willingness to be bumped off busy flights
Show loyalty by becoming a frequent and regular flyer
Simon, who now works for Wiltshire Council as an asset strategy officer, said a willingness to be taken off busy flights can also work to your advantage.
“Identify key personnel such as the gate supervisor or dispatcher/turn-around manager and listen into conversations regarding departures. You could show flexibility and offer to take a later flight if it helps with a high passenger load [you’ve heard about].”
Finally, the former BA worker said a good experience with the airline would sit well with a happy customer for years to come – and is always worth trying for.
“You give away a comfy seat… and the benefit for the airline is that he or she will be ten times more likely to recommend that airline to others and remain fiercely loyal to the brand.”
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