If anyone knows what it takes to earn someone an upgrade, it’s the staff themselves
Whatever people try to tell you, there’s no good time to get a flight.
Getting up and going somewhere when you could just stay in bed? We know which of the two options is the best, and you’re not convincing us otherwise. And that’s before you have to think about cramming all of your stuff into a tiny bag.
However, if you are forced to go out and get on a plane, the blow can be softened with a juicy upgrade so you can at least move your legs freely for the duration of the journey.
How can you achieve this? Well, listening to flight attendants is a pretty useful first step, seeing as they’ve seen it all before and probably know what works as well as what doesn’t.
Sure, you could pay for an update like in the olden days, but who has time to play by the rules? It’s 2018, the year of corner-cutting.
Thankfully, Time has some advice from real, bona fide flight attendants to set you on your way.
The most obvious solution, it turns out, is greasing the palms of the staff - albeit not with money, but with treats.
According to flight attendant Oak Lynn Woods, she and her colleagues are so used to rude passengers that genuine acts of kindness will often be rewarded in kind.
“People don’t realize how rude passengers are,” Woods says. “I experience that every day at work.”
She says this won’t always mean a free upgrade - sometimes you’ll just earn a free drink for your troubles, and sometimes this will happen simply because there’s no space in first class - but it can’t hurt.
It’s not just about spoiling the flight attendants, either - when you’re waiting at the gate, it turns out the staff member in front of you holds much more power than you might think.
They’ll know whether or not first class is full, so a little gift or two might be enough to help you earn a little bonus. Of course it won’t always work, and some staff members might see through the ruse but it can’t hurt to try.
“The gate agents are the ones that handle the seating arrangements,” says Treasure Elise, a flight attendant. “I like to bring them little gifts or goodies, because they will look and go, ‘Okay, we have some seats open in first class, I’ll seat them.’”
After all, the price of a big bag of sweets or a cup of coffee is far less than the amount it’ll cost you to upgrade normally.
However, a word of warning before you get your Great British Bake On: flight attendants are told not to eat unwrapped or homemade food. Instead, bring something store-bought and in its original packaging.
And one set of people to not bother with? The pilots. “They get paid a lot anyway,” according to Woods.