How to Upgrade to Business Class at the Last Minute

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    • 1). Join the frequent flyer club for the airline you are traveling, and if you have enough miles, join their elite class club as well. On many airlines, these passengers are the first to get an upgrade if one is available. (see reference 1) Airlines love to have you join their frequent flyer club - all you have to do is ask when you make your reservation.

    • 2). Dress nicely when you fly. Unless they already have a first-class or business class ticket, the person wearing cutoffs and flip flops is not going to be the first to get the upgrade. Wear business casual clothing to up your chances of getting an upgrade.

    • 3). Know your ticket class. If your ticket has a "Y" as part of its identification, that means you have an economy class ticket that is fully refundable. Holders of those tickets are more likely to be given an upgrade when they become available.

    • 4). Ask about possible upgrades when you check in at the ticketing counter. The ticket agent may be able to put you on a list for any last-minute upgrades.

    • 5). Ask about upgrades at the gate. The gate agent may have a better idea whether economy class is overbooked, and whether they need to move some people around. If you are frequent flyer club member, and you have a "Y" class ticket, you may be in luck. If you are really determined to get a business class seat (and who wouldn't want one?), you can pay for the privilege as well. Ask the gate agent whether there are any seats to purchase in business class, and use your frequent flyer miles or a credit card to pay for them.

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