So, for a flight from New York to Vancouver last year I headed to the check-in counter at Cathay Pacific (my carrier), despite the fact that I'd checked in on-line 10 hours earlier. A Cathay Pacific staffer, noticing my home printed boarding pass told me, in a polite and friendly manner, that I didn't have to wait in the line as I was already checked in. I responded that I'd been placed in a middle seat and was hoping to change that, and then made some silly joke about my assignment being a metaphor for my life.
We shared a laugh and then he glanced over to the fellow behind the counter and jerked his thumb up in the air.
Two hours later I was being plied with champagne in my reclinable business class seat.
|Jet Airways Business Class, Photo by Schuey|
I tried the strategy on the way back, made someone laugh...and stayed in economy class.
So is there a sure-fire way to get an upgrade? Perhaps I'm overly cynical, but with the airlines trying to squeeze every penny out of their passengers nowadays, it seems like the only way to do so consistently is to either pay for it (and sometimes you will pay less if you go for the upgrade at the check-in kiosk at the airport); or use miles to obtain.
Still, other experts disagree with me and since there's a good dose of serendipity to the process, I'll point you to an article that appeared today on snagging the upgrade that suggests such strategies as dressing like a first class passenger (a bizarre concept, I think: as I'm making that march to the back of the plane I've noticed as many people in sweats in biz class as in economy lately).
To my mind it boils down to luck and money (or miles, which are a form of currency). But who knows, maybe I'm mistaken.