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Be ‘Fly’ in First Class for Free

Be ‘Fly’ in First Class for Free
12 December 2023 Samantha Anderson

Travel expert at dealchecker shares guide to securing a free upgrade on your next long-haul flight.

We’ve all heard the folklores surrounding upgrades on flights, and all have that lucky mate that once hit the jackpot. And although there are plenty of misconceptions flying around about their existence, free upgrades are in fact more within reach than you thought.

Rosie Panter travel expert at the UK’s trusted travel price comparison site, dealchecker, says: “While the delights of a first class seat may not be guaranteed on every flight, there are some simple ways to increase your chances of getting the ‘golden ticket’.

“From changing your flight times to dressing to impress, there simply no need to scrimp and save the pennies to enjoy a flatbed at 31,000 feet.”

Read on for Rosie’s top tips…

Fly at quiet or inconvenient times

The quieter a flight the greater the chances of a free or heavily discounted upgrade. Therefore, travelling off peak, such as on a weekday in the school term, will increase the odds of getting upgraded. If there is a space in first class, there is the space for an upgrade.

Dress like a VIP

Dressing to impress is crucial. Not only do you see ten times more people at the airport than you do on a regular day, but looking the part can also land you an upgrade. So, ditch the cosy tracksuit and opt for something a little more stylish to ensure you look like you belong with the top dogs… think classic style over athleisure.

Leave the kids at home

Young children tend to be quite a divisive issue on planes, with some passengers even petitioning for adult-only flights. Unfortunately, if you are travelling with your family (children under eight in particular) your likelihood of an upgrade is zero to none… It is far easier to upgrade a child-free booking, so start planning your next solo or adult only holiday asap and relax in style.

Fly with a lesser known airline

Opting to fly with a lesser-known airline means two things – less passengers and more flexible staff; both of which greatly increase your chances of securing that coveted upgrade. Think Druk Air, Bhutan’s flag carrier – travelling with this smaller airline will not only increase your odds over the likes of American Airlines, but you will also get to try out a new destination, it’s a win-win.


As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get, and this is just as applicable on flight upgrades as it is with anything else in life. If you are polite in enquiring, you might be surprised by what’s on offer. If this doesn’t work for an upgrade, you may just come away with some complimentary champagne – a win is a win.


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About dealchecker
Founded in 2005, dealchecker is a UK-based travel comparison website, which enables customers to compare flight, holiday, hotel, cruise and car hire prices, alongside reliable and unbiased money-saving deals. The team handpick the best 20 Real Deals each week. For more information, visit