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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
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    Canada
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    13,982

    Default Upgradin an airline ticket

    Is there a secret way of getting an upgrade to business class from cattle class on overseas trips - without it costing thousands. I went business class once in Air Canada's flagship airplane, the 777, and had a pod to myself so could get horizontal - was bliss.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2008
    Location
    Alberta, Canada and South Australia
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    2,741

    Default

    I have yet to figure that one out unfrotunately! lol I tend to make do with an aisle seat and even better emergency exit. Helps that I can sleep anywhere and even that I am tall and can get comfy. Also do a ton of walking laps around the plane, actually take my pedometer to ensure I do lots of walking on my 20+ hours flights back to Canada.

    I guess that would be one way is the pay the extra fee for the emergency exit row. Though not sure if you can request those seats even if you are willing to pay for it or not.

    P.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    9,189

    Default

    Not sure if this is still doable, but 5 years ago you could go on Ebay and search for upgrades.
    Travelers with zillions of miles sell you the upgrade.
    Actually they claim to sell "travel advice" and the upgrade is a gift since airlines frown on selling the actual miles.

    What happens is you purchase an upgradeable ticket in Economy and the seller gifts you with the upgrade that you pay them for through Ebay.
    Seller makes arrangements with the airline and you get your upgrade.

    IIRC it cost me an additional $500USD to upgrade to BC to Tokyo.
    Worth.Every.Penny!
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2004
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    Posts
    917

    Default

    The best way I know for upgrading is to enroll in the various airline benefits program/credit card programs. My father is a retired Delta pilot, and I've had the gold Delta Skymiles card for years. So far I have 40,000+ skymiles on it, and in the continental US I can upgrade from coach to first/business for 5,000 miles. I'm also a part of MileagePlus which is United Airlines program.

    Other than that, be aware of deals and specials. Though rare, some still offer $99 upgrade fees on certain routes. Additionally, there was a time when poor customer service was compensated with upgrades, but now most airlines have put a severe kibosh on that - you'll get airline miles or vouchers now.

    Two other things I have heard of that have worked:
    If your travel plans are flexible and the gate agents are trying to find people to give up seats, you can ask if an upgrade on a later flight can be thrown in. If the flight is seriously oversold, you may get lucky.

    In the other circumstance where the flight is very open seat wise, you can ask at the gate if there's a possibility for you to upgrade for a reasonable fee.
    Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,372

    Default

    Frequent flier miles worked for me when I was going back and forth to Europe. But I was wracking up lots of miles.

    When I was flying domestically a lot, my frequent flier status allowed me to purchase an upgrade at a discounted rate. (different airline than my overseas flights)

    Else I'm not sure. But I totally know what you're saying about the difference between business and coach.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2004
    Location
    Ontario
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    7,670

    Default

    I did not think you could book those emergency exit seats ahead of time. They will offer them at the check in desk. They don't want a little old lady sitting there or a family with young children. I witnessed a dad and young daughter sitting in those seats, daughter near the window, and the attendants made them switch. The father switched mid-flight and the attendant came back and made them switch again and told them if they did it again, she would remove them from those seats!! It is a safety issue. My son (6'5) often gets that seat and has never asked for it!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2010
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    All 'round Canadia
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    Default

    I don't think there are "secret" ways. You buy an upgrade, whether by finding a special or as 2DogsFarm mentioned. I found the cheapest way was to use my miles, the difference between coach and business in miles is negligible, compared to the difference in money. So I buy coach flights short-haul, and hoard miles for long-haul business class tix.

    I got a free upgrade twice, once when I was in uniform and traveling around the time my roto was coming back from tour (I actually came back on a service flight earlier, so I could go to this course to which I was traveling on commercial air; they might've thought I was on my way home from tour, who knows), and once on Singapore Air San Fran to Incheon when they overbooked the flight and my group agreed to take a flight on a later date.
    Now that was worth it, and then some. We were going to Korea for 3 weeks, a day didn't make a difference to us but what a great flight!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2007
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
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    3,577

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FalseImpression View Post
    I did not think you could book those emergency exit seats ahead of time. They will offer them at the check in desk. They don't want a little old lady sitting there or a family with young children. I witnessed a dad and young daughter sitting in those seats, daughter near the window, and the attendants made them switch. The father switched mid-flight and the attendant came back and made them switch again and told them if they did it again, she would remove them from those seats!! It is a safety issue. My son (6'5) often gets that seat and has never asked for it!
    Often, the flight attendants and gate crew will save emergency exit row seats for very tall people, because there is more legroom.
    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2010
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    All 'round Canadia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ybiaw View Post
    Often, the flight attendants and gate crew will save emergency exit row seats for very tall people, because there is more legroom.
    LOL, on some of the US airlines the emergency seats cost extra! If they're free you can "pick" them when checking in, either from home on the computer or at the airport, but for a fee.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2007
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coanteen View Post
    LOL, on some of the US airlines the emergency seats cost extra! If they're free you can "pick" them when checking in, either from home on the computer or at the airport, but for a fee.
    Granted, I fly odd hours out of a not so busy airport, so the flights I'm on are rarely full. Any time theres been someone 6'2" or so and up....they've moved them to the EE.

    Keep in mind, though, I usually can sit wherever and have a full row to myself. Especially on my Palm Beach to Seattle 6am flights. Hahaha!!!
    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.



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