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10 Ways to a free upgrade to business class

10 Ways to a free upgrade to business class

The summertime is over but the period of the year for the true jet setters has arrived. If you can pack your bags and travel around the world in first class, you will feel like Frank Abagnale.

Not that long ago, it wasn’t a surprise when during a check-in or at the gate, a flight agent slipped you a new boarding pass with a very low row number. But times have changed. The ‘Catch me if you can’ period is no longer the scene and there are big challenges present to get a free upgrade.

Below you will find some industry insider tricks that you can use to greatly improve your chances of getting a free upgrade to the first cabin.

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1. Get a miles card

Loyalty, a.k.a., spending lots of money and time flying with one airline. Try to always fly with a specific airline and join the frequent flyer club. When flights are oversold, airlines will first turn to their most frequent travelers. Same goes for complimentary upgrades. Even if it’s the lowest level, you still get rewarded first.

2. Know someone in an airline

It doesn’t matter if you’re best friends with the pilot or know the gate agent responsible for check-in. If you know someone who works high enough for the airline, chances are that he or she can get you a free upgrade.

3. Travel when no one else does

If business class is already sold out, it’s practically impossible to receive an upgrade. Travel when there is a low volume of business class passengers, and you greatly increase your chances. Commuters tend to be frequent flyers and receive priority. Try to travel during mid-day, mid-week or weekends rather than early mornings or late afternoons.

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4. Dress well

Dress to impress. No airline wants a chump sitting in business class. Airlines want first and business class people to look a league above, so make sure that you do, too. You don’t need to look like a Wall Street banker or Hollywood actress, but dress well.

5. Be nice

Compliment the flight assistant at check-in with a big smile. Be complimentary, but don’t overdo it. Be patient and make a quick connection. Then, politely ask for a complimentary upgrade.

When making your request, use the word “because”, and then insert a legit reason (such as an early meeting when you land or a recent unfortunate event).

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6. Be late or early

If airlines need to move passengers between cabins they will generally know within several hours before the flight. So, being an early bird will pay off. Likewise, last minute passengers might have the same luck if more passengers show up than expected.

Never show up the same time as everyone else if you want to opt for a free upgrade.

7. Fly solo

Flying on your own will greatly increase your chance of receiving a complimentary upgrade. In fact, I’ve never received an upgrade when flying accompanied – only when traveling alone. It is much easier to upgrade a single person and your mobility can be used for the airline to make room for other passengers.

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8. The honeymoon or anniversary trick

Traveling with your loved one? Mention that you are on your honeymoon trip or traveling to celebrate an anniversary. This works great at hotels and sometimes airlines will also bump you up to the next cabin if it is (or you pretend it is) your special day…

9. The peanuts trick

Take a bag of peanuts and crush them underneath your seat. Press the flight attendant button and let them know you are heavily allergic to peanuts and that you’ve got penaut residue all over your seat. Then, ask for a re-accomodation. Within two seconds you might have a new seat and an apology. (Credit to Justin Ross Lee for this little trick.)

10. Check for breakages

It may not be typical, but if everything else has failed and you’ve got to get out of that uncomfortable economy seat, check for all the possible breakages that can take place. Perhaps the seat, seat belt or the entertainment system is broken. Also, check if your seat can fully recline. If not, log a complaint.

On packed flights, there might be no where else to put you than in the front cabin.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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