We're sorry to break it to you, but your carefully crafted plan for bagging yourself a guaranteed seat upgrade is total crap. Utter nonsense. Not a thing.
Not our words, but rather the sentiment expressed by Gilbert Ott - a travel expert and creator of travel site GodSaveThePoints.com.
"Airlines use pretty comprehensive software that knows who’s been delayed or inconvenienced," he told the Metro. "They also in general have fail safes in place to keep the 'Average Joe' from getting an upgrade, so the chances of a nice person working the check-in desk to say 'let’s uproot the whole system' and give this nice couple on their honeymoon an upgrade is pretty slim."
Well THANKS Ott. Cheers for piloting our hopes of living like a king for one eight-hour flight into a nose dive of death.
However - Ott does have a recommendation on the best way to get an upgrade, based on his extensive years of flying.
"Opting for oversold flights is really the only practical tip to get an upgrade," he said. "One thing that’s consistent with oversold flights is that someone will need to be bumped, and when someone is bumped, they are owed compensation, an upgrade or both."
"That compensation can make a paid trip into a free flight, or provide a future free flight, and assuming there’s room up front on the next flight, it’s not at all uncommon to get the upgrade as a 'thanks for being flexible'."
Actively hunting down an oversold flight could leave you stranded - quite literally - until a seat can be found for you on a later departure, during which time the airline may put you up in a hotel. There's no guarantee of being offered compensation for being flexible, but Ott explains that he find he's most successful when travelling in peak seasons like the winter holidays, or summer and spring breaks.
"Sometimes you can get lucky during peak business travel – Mondays and Thursdays when elite flyers are flying and airlines are happily booting a one-off paying customer to accommodate one of their 100k miles-a-year flyers," he added.
Failing this, you should just be sure to collect your air mile points. "If you collect miles for your online shopping or for switching mobile phone plans, or signing up for a magazine subscription (just a few of the many ways I collect miles from home), you can have the one tool necessary to guarantee an upgrade in advance on many flights and enjoy the whole experience from the accelerated check in, to the lovely lounges chock full of free food and drinks beforehand!"
The travel pro also added that people who take to the skies regularly should use ExpertFlyer.com, which shows how many seats are left in each cabin on any given flight.
And good luck explaining to your boss that you're two days late from your holiday because you took a voluntary plane bump in order to get more leg room.