It’s possible to get bumped up to business class mid-flight — without causing a scene.
It’s possible to get bumped up to business class mid-flight — without causing a scene.

$5 trick to scoring an upgrade

DRESSING to impress, flirting with the cabin crew and signing up for airline loyalty schemes can all better the chances of bagging an upgrade on a flight.

But it turns out there is a much simpler way to get into first class, according to The Sun.

According to one flight attendant, all it really takes is a $5 Starbucks gift card.

The cabin crew member, who was speaking anonymously to keep her job, told Vice: "Make sure you have something to give your flight attendants - we're bargainers.

"If there're seats open in business class, and it's not going to affect me negatively, or there are first class seats open and I can still eat my first class meal if I put you up there, I'll put you up there.

"There are some attendants who get off on the power trip of saying no, but if you've got bargaining chips, usually in the form of candy or Starbucks gift cards, you're pretty much set."

It's all in the timing, though.

It’s possible to be bumped up to the point end of the plane after you’ve boarded the flight.
It’s possible to be bumped up to the point end of the plane after you’ve boarded the flight.

According to the flight attendant, there's no point in bargaining until all passengers on the plane and the doors are shut.

"Wait until you're on the plane because gate agents don't care - [wait until] you're on and that door is closed," they said.

By the time you've even got your boarding pass out to ask for an upgrade, the crew member will have a pretty good idea of what kind of passenger you'll be.

On the discussion in the knowledge-sharing forum Quora, two flight attendants say they can often clock what nationality you are and whether you're likely to heavily indulge in the drinks trolley in a matter of seconds.

So what exactly do you reveal when you board a plane and how?

WHAT NATIONALITY ARE YOU

Sjaak Schulteis, a flight attendant for 30 years as a cabin attendant for Lufthansa said: "We pay attention to their language and check if they hold a magazine or newspaper.

"I know their language I try to welcome the guests and hope I guessed right."

ARE YOU A DANGER

Sjaak said: "Do I smell something? Alcohol? Drugs?

"If a guest coming aboard is drunk or intoxicated by any drug, they might not allowed to enter the plane."

Flight attendants are good at sizing up passengers in a single glance.
Flight attendants are good at sizing up passengers in a single glance.

Sjaak said the first impression was often the right one. "We do refuse passengers who might be a danger for the safety of that flight.

"So far I have refused four passengers and was luckily backed up by the purser and captain."

CAN YOU SPEAK ENGLISH

"If a person cannot understand English, they cannot understand shouted commands," said Janice Bridger, who has worked as a flight attendant at several airlines.

"Nor can they read the instructions on how to open the exits. That may disqualify someone from sitting in the exit row."

ARE YOU PHYSICALLY FIT

"I watch for disabilities that may disqualify someone from sitting in the exit row," Janice said.

"They need to be able to physically lift a heavy hatch (up to 27kg) or open a heavy door (several hundred kilograms)."

COULD YOU PROVIDE MUSCLE IN A TOUGH SITUATION

"If I see someone who is muscular, powerful, strong and physically fit, I memorise their face and make a mental note of where they are sitting," Janice said.

"If a situation looks like it could develop, I'll privately and discreetly ask one of these people if they would be willing to help us if necessary.

"Help might involve subduing or restraining an unruly passenger. We hope it never happens, but we will prepare just in case it does."

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.


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