Traveling to new places and exploring foreign cities can be pretty damn awesome.
The process of getting to your destination, however, can often be an adventure you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy.
Spending 15 hours on a plane as you fly halfway across the world can definitely be a special type of hell, especially if you're sitting in the back with the rest of the economy peasants.
If you've ever wondered how the other half flies in the front of the plane, but aren't balling enough to splurge on an expensive AF first-class ticket, you might want to pay attention.
It turns out, you may be able to get a free upgrade without using a single frequent flyer mile.
That's right, travel expert Gilbert Ott recently figured out a clever way to get that glorious first or business class upgrade free of charge.
Ott revealed his traveling secrets to Metro.co.uk, saying,
Despite the (urban myth) advice, opting for oversold flights is really the only practical tip to get an upgrade. 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.'
Apparently, flying at the right time can also help out your chances of scoring that roomy seat up in first class.
According to Ott,
My biggest successes were always during peak travel periods – the winter holidays, summer and spring breaks, times when planes are flying full and it's chaos. 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.
If you're not flexible enough to deal with travel delays for the sake of an upgrade, Ott recommends using air miles to get an upgrade on your flight.
In fact, Ott also proved that racking up miles is a lot easier than you may think.
He also told Ott,
People don't realize that they can earn miles from home, without an airline credit card and without even flying. If you collect miles for your online shopping or for switching mobile phone plans, or signing up for a magazine subscription, 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!'
As far as simply getting lucky by asking for a comped upgrade at the check-in desk, Ott says you shouldn't waste your time.
Apparently, the airlines use some pretty intelligent software systems that keep the average flyer from getting a free upgrade.
But hey, if all else fails, you can always try to pull off some of the sneaky traveling hacks Justin Ross Lee has up his sleeve.