In a poll of over 600 travellers, 14% of couples travelling would pretend to be on their honeymoon, while 7% would actually disown their partner if it meant getting the last free seat in first class. Almost half (46%) would dress up to look like a first class passenger to bag a better seat, while one respondent even claimed to have successfully got an upgrade by changing their title to ‘Lady’.
The news follows moves from several airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and Etihad, to offer seat-upgrade auctions to passengers booked on economy seats to fill unsold business or first class seats. While nine in ten of flyers would bid for an upgrade if an airline offered one, it seems most passengers aren’t willing to pay much for the privilege; only 8% would be willing to part with more than £250 to upgrade their economy seat for a long haul flight over ten hours, while the majority (53%) would not be willing to pay more than £100.
Despite being the Holy Grail of airline experiences, a surprisingly high proportion of travellers claim to have experienced a free upgrade from economy; 39% of passengers polled said they had been given a free upgrade at least once, with BA being the airline to have offered the most free upgrades, followed by Virgin Atlantic and then Air France/KLM.
Victoria Bailie, Skyscanner spokesperson commented:
“Everyone would like to get upgraded, but we were surprised at how far some passengers will go in their attempts to blag a seat in first class. However, airline staff are wise to it and have heard every story in the book before, so your chances of success are fairly slim. Generally, frequently flyers are most likely to get the coveted ‘golden ticket’, but anyone can get lucky.”
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