Even a frequent flier with elite status has a hard time nabbing an upgrade to first class these days. If you want to increase your odds, you need to know when you should fly. Photo by Gary Bembridge.
As Gary Leff, founder of the View from the Wing blog, explains to Eric Rosen at Bloomberg, the chances of getting a seat upgrade are smaller than ever before. And it's all because some things have changed while others haven't. The number of elite flyers is on the rise and major airline mergers have concentrated elite status flyers into fewer programs, but the number of premium aeroplane seats has remained unchanged for the most part. That means more people to trying to fill the same number of seats.
Whether you have elite flyer status, you're an airline credit card holder or you paid full fare prices for your ticket (another way to boost your chances of an upgrade), you can help your odds by flying when business travellers don't usually fly. Avoid early flights on Monday mornings, or Thursday and Friday afternoon flights between 5:00 and 7:30PM. The best times, according to Leff, are the middle of the day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. And if you fly during holidays, there will be a lot of people, but fewer business travellers. So a holiday flight might increase your chances to upgrade as well.
How to Get a First Class Upgrade Every Time [Bloomberg Pursuits]