How to get a free first-class upgrade (And avoid getting laughed at)!

Welcome aboard Flight Attendant Nation! In this blog post, get ready to experience two incredible stories that revolve around the elusive world of free first-class upgrades. From a hilarious encounter in the business class lounge to a heartwarming tale of kindness, courage, and love in the cabin, these stories will leave you entertained and inspired and answer the question:

How to get a free first-class upgrade (and avoid getting laughed at)?

So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for takeoff as we unravel the adventures of some unforgettable passengers and flight attendants.

The ultimate strategy to get a free first-class ticket! Nope!

On one of my flights, I was attending the business class lounge on an A380. That´s my favorite operational position! It always reminded me of my old bartending days in Ibiza with a lot more hair and loud music around! I served a first-class customer who came over to the business class lounge for a drink. We started small talk and, as we settled into a comfortable conversation, he leaned over the lounge and said:

“You would not believe what just happened to me!”

The gentleman, clearly still amused, recounted what just happened to him during boarding. He had been settled into his luxurious first-class seat when a woman tapped him on the shoulder. She was seeking a seat swap so she could sit beside her husband in the first-class seat next to him. Curious, he asked which seat she was assigned to. “45E!” she replied with a sheepish smile. That’s right! The middle seat at the back of the plane, in economy class. And she was proposing an exchange for his 15,000-dollar first-class seat!

While the gentleman was telling me the story, still amused by the audacity of the request, he couldn’t help but burst out laughing. He laughed so hard that the customers seated in the lounge immediately looked at us in an inquisitive way.

Then he said:

“Sorry, I´m about to pee myself!” And he ended up in the restroom trying to regain his composure. The image of the woman’s face, so determined to sit in first class, had him on the floor! And me too to be honest!

But it´s not over yet…

When he finally returned to the lounge, he kept with the story. “I told her that the person sitting beside her in 45F or D might be thrilled to swap with her husband and experience first class for themselves, while the woman’s husband would move to economy class and enjoy the all 11 hours flight with her lovely wife in economy class!”

“But I want to sit in first class!” the woman insisted. “Me too!” he replied, still chuckling. “But I bought a ticket for it, you didn´t!”

Unbelievable: the lady just wanted to get a free first-class upgrade and she thought to just ask…I envy her courage!

We kept the conversation going for a while. At some point, I realized he was preparing to return to his first-class seat. So, before he could leave, I asked: “Just one question, out of curiosity: which car do you drive?”

He replied: “Oh, my beauty, a black Ferrari, why?”.

“Oh, could we swap our cars?” I asked. After looking at me he asked: “What do you drive?”

“A Toyota Corolla, but I want to drive a Ferrari too!!!” I said.

“Sure! Let´s do that!” We burst out laughing again!

That was definitely not how to get your free first-class upgrade. But if you want to increase your chances of getting a free first-class experience, I suggest you read this next story! This is what happened to our ex-colleague José from Emirates!

Karma Pays Off: How to get your upgrade and find love in the sky!

José worked for 5 years as a flight attendant at Emirates Airlines. Although he had encountered numerous unusual experiences during flights, we requested him to share the most epic one. And boy, did he deliver! Get this!

I was working as an economy class crew in an economy cabin on a half-load flight. Shortly after boarding a customer pressed the call bell. I went to check his request and the customer, without much introduction, asked me for a free upgrade because his screen was not working and he couldn´t follow the safety demo video. I gently suggested to him to watch the demo from the empty seat just next to him, but he told me that that was a bridge of the GCAA aviation regulations. Of course, I knew that it was not true and the passenger was just trying to get a free business class upgrade.

How not to get an upgrade?

So I reinstated that he could change his seat and move on to the seat close to his and watch the entire safety video again from there. He categorically refused and said: “No, you should upgrade me to first class because I couldn´t watch the safety video. I will report the company and you to the GCAA and get you fired! I want your name and batch number!” Right!

After complying with his request, I offered to perform the full demo video live in front of him just to show him all the safety procedures and leave him with no more excuses. And I added that he could also consult the safety card present on each seat and if he had some questions or doubts, I could answer them for him!

Of course, he denied it and insisted on being upgraded once more, saying that he was not feeling safe and that I was performing terrible customer service. I was not really touched by any of his behaviors, having experienced similar situations in the past, but what came next was incredible!

The Unexpected Hero Intervention

The customer seated in the row behind the complaining customer, a beautiful French woman with a great smile, around 30 years old, after witnessing this interaction, looked and me and said: “Hi, I heard everything and I just wanted to tell you that you are doing an amazing job, really professional and polite. I´m glad you are working in this cabin, and I feel safe and secure here! All of you guys are doing an amazing job!” referring to all the cabin crew working in Economy class.

I couldn´t hold a smile and I said: “Thank you, ma´am!”. But that was only the beginning. She kept going! Looking at me, she said: “I know what you are thinking right now and I know that you can´t speak your voice in this situation, so I will say it, and I´m sure that all the people around here will agree with me!” Then she turned her attention to the complaining customer and, looking straight in his eyes, she said: “Let the crew work and if you want an upgrade, pay for it! You just want to get a free first-class upgrade! If you can´t pay for the ticket, just seat tight, shout up and follow their instructions!” Then she turned at me again and said: “Don´t listen to this cheap ass midget! Great work!”

Woooow, the few customers around started clapping! That was amazing, and yes, I couldn´t say to the passengers all that, but that was exactly what I was thinking about…Well, to be honest, I was also thinking that the lady was really pretty!

This is how to get an upgrade!

My cabin supervisor, noticing the confusion in the cabin, approached me to ask for an explanation. So I excused myself from the customers, went into the aft galley, and told him what happened! The first thing that the Purser said was:

“We need to upgrade her to business class!” And that´s how the hero lady got her free business-class upgrade!

So, I go back to the cabin with a complaint form. I gave it to the passenger saying: “I believe that the service has not been up to your expectations! So please feel free to make a formal complaint using this form or you can do it online!” . And I added my name and staff number to the form. “For sure I will!” he replied.

Then I approached the beautiful lady seated behind him and I asked:

“Ma´am, could I please have a word with you? “

I asked her to follow me and I upgraded her to the business-class cabin. She said: “Thank you! I just couldn´t handle the flight close to that man!”. And I answered: ” I understand, me too!” with a huge smile. After take off all the crew was aware of her kind gesture. Now every cabin crew on the plane wanted to do something nice for her. We even invited her to enjoy some drinks with us in the galley and she was ecstatic!

See, karma works, and kindness too!

Aaaaaand that is how I met my WIFE!

She was heading to Madrid for a job interview, and we kept in touch. A few months later I resigned and joined her in Madrid and we lived happily ever after. How about the complaining guy? Well, during the flight he came in the galley to complain a couple of more times about unrelated issues. Cold meal and cold temperature in the cabin, but kept quiet for the rest of the flight. And don´t worry, his complaint didn’t affect me at all. He disembarked with a grumpy face but well, we can´t make everyone happy all the time!

What do you think about the story? How would you get a free first-class upgrade? Does something like this ever happen to you? Comment on the post and let us know!

And if you’re interested in exploring more of our unusual, weird, and crazy stories, feel free to visit our blog section ‘FLIGHT ATTENDANT´S CRAZY STORIES‘.

Take care guys, and let love and karma guide you in your journey through the sky! Happy flying and see you in the next post!

José from Flight Attendant Nation

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