Jo Why Lee

London - United Kingdom

    Business Trips to The Far East & Getting a Great Late Deal

    October 29, 2013

    Business trips to Far East are getting more and more common as people get global with thier business  with places such as Marraketch being popular places to import from (here is some travel information to Marrakech) and China to produce good for sale in Europe.

    Everyone wants to buy a cheap economy class ticket and get bumped up and upgraded to business class or first class.

    Who doesn't want more comfort, more legroom, better service and the lounge access which come as standard for first and business class passengers. The current generation of flat seats in premium cabins of major carriers makes flying long-haul much more comfortable than ever before.

    Every so often airlines will give out free upgrades for operational reasons. Here are a few basic tips for increasing your chances of getting that elusive upgrade and rubbing shoulder with the first class jet-set.

    1. Become a member of your airline's frequent flyer program. If you can reach 'elite status' then you will greatly improve your likelihood of getting upgraded if there is any availability on the day you fly. Airlines will give upgrade priority to their top-tier members.

    2. Avoid flying from your carrier's main hub if it is a large airport. You will be competing against masses of frequent flyer members so your chance of a free upgrade is minimal. For example it is difficult to get upgraded with British Airways if flying out of London Heathrow. You will be up against many top-tier BA Gold flyers - and possibly a few more with the even higher Gold Guest List or Premier VIP status.

    3. Consider choosing one of the smaller frequent flyer programs with fewer members to reduce competition. The biggest programs in Europe are those of Lufthansa, AirFrance-KLM and British Airways with literally millions of members. US programs are massive - the top 3, United, American and Delta probably have well over 100 million members between them! A good option is to join a quality Asian based carrier like Thai Airlines or Cathay Pacific or smaller, flexible programs like Alaska Mileage Plan which has many redemption partners.

    4. Book a flight that is likely to have a full economy section. Try to fly on wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 777 with plenty of available first class and business class seats. A few days before your flight, check the availability of business and first class seats by doing a pretend booking on your airline's website or use one of the class availability tools on the web.

    5. Pay for a full fare economy or premium economy ticket on your flight which will also give you upgrade priority from the airline.

    6. There is no harm in dressing well in 'smart casual' or business attire on the off-chance you are pre-upgraded and the airline is happy you will blend into its premium cabin. Note however, this is not a serious upgrade strategy today - it may have worked in the 1970s!

    7. Look for cheap cash upgrade opportunities with your carrier at check-in - either online or at the airport.

    8. Try and stay informed and up-to-date with airfare strategies and upgrade tips from industry experts and forums. The inside track can help you save both money and frequent flyer miles.

    Read Jo's other blog entries >

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