Cabin crew secrets: Ex BA flight attendant reveals what to never do if you want an upgrade


Flights – and indeed the rest of the holiday if you’re jetting off on a trip – can be made infinitely better with an upgrade. Flying in Business Class or First Class makes for a very luxurious experience that sees travellers thoroughly pampered. However, with such plane tickets often hugely expensive, a free upgrade is all many people can hope for. There’s no denying that flight upgrades can be tricky to come by – but there’s one thing you should never do if you want one, a flight attendant has explained.

A former British Airways cabin crew member has revealed how your behaviour can make all the difference.

“Don’t act like a spoilt child, a demanding infant or as rude and obnoxious!” ex BA cabin manager Simon Marton, now 49, told

“There is still a lot of snobbery involved in this subject, even from some airline employees themselves!”

The flight attendant pointed out that it’s vital not to get cocky if you’ve previously managed to nab an upgrade.

“I have also had more problems with people who have booked themselves as economy customers before on prior flights, and have successfully been upgraded, who then act as if it becomes a right on subsequent flights!” Marton said.

“So, don’t come over all bolshy and expectant if it has happened before and then doesn’t happen again.

“It completely depends on what happens on the day. Even airline employees are subject to seniority and years in service when being left until last, hoping to board a flight on a standby basis.”

If you believe there is a real reason you should be upgraded then it is worth voicing it – but don’t assume you will be successful.

Marton explained: “If you have a request that is reasonable and there are circumstances which you believe may make it meritorious to allow an upgrade to be considered, then present the reason(s) but bear in mind, that it is at the complete discretion of the airline staff to do this.

“Officially, if you want an upgrade, you will have to pay for it, and there is paperwork onboard to accommodate this. I never used it, but I was supposed to record it.

“If you get turned down, hey – at least you bothered to ask. I never minded people asking.”

However, you should never let the situation get heated if cabin crew reject your bid for an upgrade.

“Don’t start an argument in full view of others,” warned Marton. “It’s only you who’ll look foolish.

“Plus you’ll get our backs up and ruin it for the other customers who deserve a great experience.

“If the plane is full, the plane is full, and no amount of persistence will change the fact.”

It’s also worth looking at the booking code on your plane ticket to see if you’re eligible for an upgrade. 


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