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The three best days to travel for a ‘free flight upgrade’

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The chances of being upgraded to a higher cabin on your next are rare, but it does happen. According to James Smith from Travel Lingual, there are three days of the week when upgrades are more likely than at any other time.

The travel expert explained that the best way to boost your chances is by “targeting off-peak hours and days”.

He explained: “Skip the Monday morning rush and aim for flights in the middle of the day, especially on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Airlines are more likely to have empty premium seats during these times, making upgrades more freely available.”

Avoiding key business hours may also play a role in whether you are the lucky passenger to secure an upgrade.

“Consider flying during business travel lulls, such as mid-week or during major holidays,” said James. “With fewer business flyers, airlines are more willing to fill those empty premium seats with eager economy passengers.”

There is a small chance that if a flight has been overbooked, you might be the lucky economy passenger moved into a premium cabin.

If a flight has been overbooked, the exact moment you check-in might be the deciding factor determining whether you are the passenger to secure an upgrade, according to James.

He explained: “Being selective about check-in timing, whether checking in early to secure a top spot on the upgrade list or seizing last-minute opportunities, can prove fruitful.”

In most cases, however, airlines will typically reserve their upgrades for passengers who are frequent fliers or are members of loyalty schemes.

Airlines will typically reward passengers who fly regularly with them throughout the year rather than the once-a-year holidaymaker.

“Leveraging airline loyalty programs can be a game-changer,” James explained. “By actively engaging with your airline across various platforms, including social media, you can position yourself as a valued customer, increasing your likelihood of being considered for complimentary upgrades.”

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