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I wanted to share a quick travel tip related to upgrades that many of you probably already know, but that may come as a surprise to others. There are lots of ways to find yourself sitting at the front of the plane ranging from paying full fare to lucking into an upgrade because they oversold coach or otherwise desperately need your specific seat. Most people sitting in first class probably fall somewhere in the middle of having paid full fare and benefiting from random luck. In fact, you may be surprised at how affordable it sometimes is to go from a coach seat to a first class seat, at least domestically.
Today I was helping my husband manage some of his upcoming trips to make them as easy as possible given a recent foot injury (in foot vs. moving heavy table, table wins every time). This included calling the airline to add an e-cart designation to the reservations so he can cruise in the cool golf carts at the airport, making sure his seats were as close to the front of the plane as possible, and ensuring extra legroom when possible.
On some of his flights the cost to go from economy to first class was just $1 more than to go to extra legroom seats. In this case, the cost to go to domestic first was just $23 (or 15,000 miles, but that is a terrible value). What this likely means is that his economy ticket was probably not far off from the price of a first class ticket to being with, but at just $23 it still makes sense to go from the back of the plane to the front – especially if you are 6’3″ with a foot injury.
Every airline handles paid upgrades differently, but if you want to sit up front it pays to periodically check your reservation online and see what it would take to upgrade. Sometimes you may have to call to find out that info, and sometimes the best deals won’t be available until T-24 hours from departure or less. Airlines give out upgrades to elite travelers, but they would basically universally rather get some cash by selling the upgrade to you rather than hand it over to an elite “for free”. The exact price to upgrade will likely often be out of your accepted range, but sometimes it might just be $23.
Have you scored some pretty inexpensive upgrades?