How to Get Your Seat Upgraded

There are a lot of tricks for finding a better seat on an airplane. A few are the obvious ones, like asking for an upgrade, but there are also some more subtle methods that you can use. For instance, you might pay attention to the type of seat you’re assigned and take your seat early, so that you can claim the better one. Or you can check on the following tips on how to get your seat upgraded on your next flight:

  • It is still all about the timing. Aim to make your next flight a relaxing one. When flight attendants call for boarding, simply head to the gate early. That way, you’ll be first off the plane and will be even more likely to get a seat upgrade.
  • Giving up your spot often means a better seat. When are you going to be upgraded on your next flight? There’s nothing quite like a pre-flight upgrade to get you in the mood for a fun flight, and there’s nothing better than a quick seat swap to get you off to a fantastic start.
  • Enjoy the perks of being a member of the airline’s loyalty club. The rewards program at your favorite airline can make an enormous difference in your travel experience, especially if you don’t travel very often. When you book a trip on your favorite airline, the airline often asks you to join a loyalty program, which gives you points that can be used for additional flight upgrades and other perks. You may already be a member because the program is worth it.
  • Get prepared; choose your airport outfit. There are many ways to suffer on a flight, but only a few quick ways to ease the discomfort. The most satisfying way to get a seat upgrade is to look like you belong in first class, and the most cost-effective way to do this is to pack like a first-class traveler. When you do, you may not sit in your assigned seat, but someone in their seat will be happy to have you. If you’re a frequent flier and are longing for a new seat assignment but don’t want to pay for it, there is a way to get it for free—just look the part.
  • Check the seat; if it’s broken, you might get an upgrade. The biggest complaint in the travel industry is that not enough people are flying first class. But with a new first-class cabin being added to every major carrier, there’s no more room for complaining. Now, the one thing that may solve that problem is a solution that has already been implemented by many airlines. A new first-class cabin that adds another row to every plane soon becomes a problem for airlines. The solution? Passengers in broken seats will be reassigned—and it could be to first class.
  • Get the middle seat or sit next to a baby. When it comes to choosing where to sit on a plane, there’s no doubt about it: the middle seat is the most desirable. Sure, the window seat is nice, but if you’re lucky enough to nab that choice, you might have to deal with some annoying people who hog the aisle or put their feet on the back of the seat in front of you. And if you’re traveling with a child—which, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the fastest-growing demographic on planes—they might even get to choose where they sit.
  • There’s an advantage even when traveling during peak times. If a flight is full, the airline will assign you a seat based on your physical size and the seat’s availability. Smaller travelers have a far better chance of getting a better seat if they book a flight during off-peak hours, like early morning or late at night. 
  • Ask for it. It’s always a bummer when you’re flying on a plane, and you’re stuck in an aisle seat. You need to accept it as annoying as it might be and get used to it. You can’t always fly business class, so if you want an upgrade, all you have to do is ask. Just make sure you ask the right person.

The most important part of flying is the comfort of your seat. You’ll be in it for hours, and you’ll want to be able to lean against the armrests. If you’ve flown before, you may already know that some airlines do not provide seat upgrades to passengers who purchase extra legroom. You will have to check with each airline to see if they offer upgrades, but there are always ways to get a better seat than the one you are currently in.

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