I’m not saying you should try any of these, I’m only saying they’ve been done, they’ve worked and they’ve happened. There are plenty of best and worst tips for getting upgrades, but what about just taking a look at the strangest, funniest and most random ways people have actually scored one of these elusive seats? All I can say, is that the world is a strange place…

a seat in an airplane

The Real + Fake Anniversary

An elderly couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago. In the UK, after fifty years of marriage, the Queen (GodSaveTheQueen) sends a letter of congratulations on the milestone achievement. The happy couple presented the newly minted letter from the Queen at check in for a Virgin Atlantic economy flight. The letter scored them an upgrade and worked so well that they now produce the exact same letter, year after year, proclaiming their 50th anniversary. Apparently, it’s worked four out of the last five years…

an airplane with a bed and a tv

The Chewing Gum Debacle

On a flight where a readers cabin was full, the woman next to him sat down, moved around and quickly found that some chewing gum had gotten stuck to her jeans. The cabin crew, mortified of the unclean seat, breaking customer satisfaction, immediately offered to move her to First Class, without question. The cabin crew member also happened to assume that our reader was the woman’s significant other, scoring an upgrade just for sitting…

a seat in a train

The Phony Birthday Party

For this next act, you’ll need a few shameless friends, whom you’ll probably have to buy some drinks. A reader mentioned bringing an entourage of friends, with party hats and presents to the airport to send him off on his “birthday”. The gate agent, naturally seeing a happy crowd of well wishers, made his “birthday” by upgrading him to business class. Of course, it wasn’t actually his birthday, which if the agent was paying any attention, they would have noticed upon checking his documents. If it does happen to be your birthday for real, not a bad way to pressure an upgrade!

a bed in a plane

The A$$hole Demanding An Upgrade

A reader was on yet another flight where the economy cabin was full, which by the way is more and more common these days, when an angry man began to cause a scene. The problem? He drunkenly insisted that he would not sit next to a woman. The crew informed him there was nothing they could (or would do), which prompted him to become irate and demand an upgrade. Fortunately, an upgrade was available for the kind woman who would’ve had to sit next to him. Nothing for him, asshole. 

a seat in an airplane

The IT Glitch Mobile Boarding Pass

A reader checked in for a long haul flight, to find his Premium Economy seat number just as he expected. When he went to his phone to check the boarding gate and time, he generated a mobile boarding pass as well. That boarding pass offered a seat in First Class with no explanation. Without mentioning the mobile boarding pass, he checked with the gate staff who confirmed his seat was still in Premium Economy. Naturally, he tossed his printed boarding pass and furnished the mobile pass reflecting First Class. Fortunately, no one was sitting there…

a seat in a plane

The Foreign Language Charm

If you’ve ever lived abroad, especially in countries with different languages, you miss the native tongue. For one reader, that’s apparently all that was required to score an upgrade on an Air France flight from the US. Using his fluent French, he was able to charm the native French speaking agent into a big time bump. I guess the sound of home is all you need. Better get that foreign language guide out…

Mr Bean’s clip is all I have to contribute…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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