How to score an upgrade
There's some sobering news for those hoping to get bumped up from economy. “I definitely wouldn't count on it,” says Chaskiel. “There’s a huge shortage of first and business class seats at the moment. So even if you're a premium traveller in a frequent flyer program… chances of an upgrade are almost impossible because the flights are full.”
Pre-pandemic, airline loyalty systems or points programs were key to scoring an upgrade. While they’re (for the moment) not as powerful as they once were, you can still put those frequent flyer miles to good use if you’re strategic.
He also suggests you choose your airline wisely, given many are still operating at reduced capacity.
“Not every airline is still fully operational. So, you'll see flights that might be scheduled to operate, but they're not yet operating.”
“My best advice is work with the airlines that are working now.”
First class tastes on an economy budget
While many of us are reluctant to spend our savings on an upgrade, there are ways you can improve your in-flight experience, even in ‘cattle class’.
If you’re flying economy for a long-haul flight, Chaskiel suggests dressing comfortably, drinking plenty of water (airplane cabins are notorious for dehydrating passengers), getting up to stretch regularly and investing in a good neck pillow.
Paying a little extra for a better seat is also one way to improve your comfort, even if you can’t shell out for business or first class.
“Even in economy now, airlines let you pre-pay or pre-purchase a better seat,” says Chaskiel. “So, if you don't enough money for first or business but you do want to be a little bit more comfortable then pre-pay you seat assignment.”
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