The art of getting an upgrade

We have all heard the stories or seen it in the movies. You rock up to the check in counter after a terrible day, desperate for a flight upgrade. You ask, and the agent, feeling sorry for you, makes your day. However, we all know life is more often than not, very different to that depicted in the movies. The reality is, asking for an upgrade at check in will more than likely result in refusal. So how can you improve the chances of getting an upgrade, one of our members had some ideas?

Have you as a Qantas Club member, asked at the Qantas Club desk, and succeeded in getting to sit in business class on that immediate upcoming flight?

Fifteen years ago, frequent flyer programs were somewhat immature, with just three levels of membership quite common. Often it was only the top level that granted access to the Qantas club. As a result, back then Qantas Club did seem to carry some unofficial status, and asking for an upgrade was not a bad idea.

Back in the two airline days it was quite common to be able to request an upgrade at the Qantas Club service desk- and get it. Heck, back then, me and my top level Gold colleagues would be upgraded on check-in about 1 in three domestic flights anyway.

These days, with flying cheaper than we have ever seen before, frequent flyer programs have expanded. With so many status levels on offer, Qantas Club members no longer hold the status they may have held in the past. Computer blocks have been put in place to prevent staff giving away seats on request. As a result, just asking will often result in refusal, but it seems there are other ways that can work.

When I took my Life Time Gold flight. I took boxes of chocolates with me and I gave one of the boxes to the ADL Qantas Club Staff to celebrate. They then came to see me later in the Qantas Club to offer me an upgrade..Anyway, my point is, if you are nice to them, you never know what they might be able to do. Just asking however is unlikely to do it IMO, no matter how polite you are.

Are chocolates a possible answer? This is not the first time our members have reported the effects from chocolate giving. Some carry a few small boxes to say thank you to staff onboard for excellent service. While others just use them to create a smile. Giving chocolates may not always have the outcome you expect, but at least you have more than likely made someone’s day. Which of course is a reward in itself.

How have you managed to get a seat in a class not booked, the elusive op-up? Do you have a method that works, or has it been a case of just hoping for that special beep at the gate on boarding, why not join the conversation HERE.


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