The sheer thrill of turning left when you board the aircraft and making your way into those dreamy first class cabins is enough to make anyone have a crack a chatting up the the check-in staff when they arrive at the airport.
But the chances of breaking free from cattle-class and getting yourself a golden seat in first, without forking out thousands of pounds in the process, isn’t easy. Nabbing a freebie with the gift of the gab is becoming increasingly rare.
However, according to one insider, there are some tips that mean that every Joe Bloggs can ‘hack’ their travel so they can too enjoy the spoils of the first class or business cabins.
Speaking exclusively to Mail Online, Gilbert Ott who runs money-saving travel website God Save The Points, revealed several clever ways of getting yourself an upgrade – and none of them involve taking out a credit card to clock up air miles.
Firstly, he advises fliers to buy their points instead of earning them. This is because buying flights with points often works out cheaper than buying them with actual sterling.
And while most people know that you can earn points by spending money on credit cards and frequently flying with an airline, not many realise that you can save yourself a lot of time and money by simply by buying points directly from the carrier.
“Every few months, airlines sell off their points in promotional sales which means you can purchase air miles without actually flying anywhere,” Ott explains. “You can then use them to book trips in upper class for significantly less.”
Another tip Ott offers is setting yourself a flight tracker of Google Flights or Kayak. That way, if an airline that provides the route you’re interested in suddenly has flash promotional sale, you’ll get an alert straight to your inbox.
“Don’t be afraid to set trackers for premium or business class too,” he explains, ”since sometimes premium or business class seats will randomly be cheaper than economy ones, especially over peak summer travel periods.”
The hacker also has a tip that people who get stressed easily won’t like to hear; He often deliberately misses his flight to save himself money.
The trick is known as ‘hidden city ticketing’ and works by booking a flight to a destination where your intended city is the layover, rather than the final stop.
“Hidden city ticketing is an opportunity to save money on flight prices by booking travel via a city you don’t want to visit – which for whatever reason is pricing out cheaper than the place you do really want to visit,” Mr Ott explains.
For example, you can get a premium economy flight from London to Los Angeles for £515, if LA is your layover stop onto a less desirable destination. Meanwhile, a economy flight direct to the West Coast city costs around £539.
Other tricks of the trade include downloading airline apps (as many airlines offer priority upgrades to passengers who use their mobile apps) and using ExpertFlyer.com to find overcrowded flights.
Booking yourself onto an oversold flight, he explains, increases your chances of either being reimbursed with compensation (which you can spend on a future flight) or getting bumped up to first class because economy is too full.
But one of his easiest tips means you can reap rewards every time someone you know goes on holiday. Hotel booking sites RocketMiles and Kaligo give people 1,000 airline miles or more for referring friends to their websites.
That means if you can get ten pals to book their next break using one of the websites, you’ll clock up 10,000 air miles for free – which is enough for a one-way ticket to New York.