Recent figures from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have shown that flying Business Class is on the increase. This could be bad news for the 36% of Skyscanner users surveyed who have been offered a free upgrade, a highly coveted perk only available when Business or First Class sections are undersold.
So with more business class passengers leading to fewer upgrade possibilities, what can passengers do to increase their chances of getting this freebie, and what lows are people prepared to get this first class high?
A survey of over 1,000 travellers by cheap flights comparison site, Skyscanner.net, found that of the respondents who had been upgraded, a massive 42% of these were flying with British Airways. This was far and away the most likely airline to give upgrades amongst Skyscanner users, with a comparatively measly 17% upgraded with Virgin Atlantic, 8% with American Airlines, 6% with BMI and just 5% with Lufthansa. Iberia ranked the lowest with just 1% being upgraded on the Spanish airline.
The survey also disclosed the shocking lengths people were prepared to go to in order to obtain this coveted freebie.
Although the majority (60%) were only prepared to ask politely at check in, upgrades were such a lure that a cold-hearted 3% of respondents said they would be prepared to disown their partners if there was only one seat in Business Class available. Yet more surprising, almost 2% of respondents would sit separately from their children. One in five of those surveyed would opt for the less outrageous tactic of dressing up to look the part by donning a suit.
Commenting on the findings, Business Director Barry Smith said, “With the lure of extra legroom and other luxury perks, it is no wonder that free upgrades are so appealing, especially on popular routes such as flights to New York and on long haul flights to Sydney – however I am quite shocked by the lengths people would go to, to get an upgrade; it seems that the only thing they are not prepared to do is pay!”.