Passenger outfits that can ‘improve chances’ of a free upgrade

First class travel: How do people get upgraded?

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Free seat upgrades onboard a flight are not common, but according to travel blogger Jessie Moore, there are still times when they are given out and what you wear could help improve your chance of being selected. Jessie is the founder and director of the luxury travel and adventure blog PocketWanderings (@PocketWanderings), where she frequently shares tips and stories of her adventures around the world.

Speaking to, Jessie admitted it is “definitely harder than it used to be” to get a free upgrade. She added: “However, I do think it’s possible and although there are steps you can take to improve your chances, there is still a hefty amount of luck involved.”

According to the blogger, if you are already in the running for a free upgrade, how you look onboard could make an upgrade more likely.

She explained: “I do think that what you wear to travel can affect your chances of an upgrade – to an extent.

“It doesn’t mean that you have to dress formally, it’s more about not looking too scruffy, not wearing a niche slogan t-shirt, or leaving the hoodie at home.”

While looking smart is favourable, comfort is also crucial.

Jessie told “For ladies, consider wearing a loose-fitting long dress for the best of both comfort and style.

“A long, loose dress is comfortable, stretchy and allows room for expansion.

“For gents, opt for comfy chinos over tracksuit bottoms. Of course, none of this guarantees an upgrade, but it can go some way to improving your chances.”

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Speaking previously to, Cairo Ferguson a travel expert from the blog JourneyJunket, urged holidaymakers not to “overdo it” with their in-flight ensembles.

Cairo explained: “If you’re dressing up, consider whether you’re overdressed. If you’re getting a lot of stares, you could be overdoing it.”

While flip flops and heavily branded trainers can make an outfit look sloppy, more formal shoes, such as high heels, can be considered dangerous in the event of an emergency.

Cairo said: “You should definitely wear comfortable shoes. That’s the one place where you can’t compromise.”

Though your outfit might help, passenger status is ultimately the most important thing.

Most often, airlines will offer upgrades to frequent flyers or those who carry a membership card.

Jessie explained: “The best way to increase your chances of a free upgrade is to join a Frequent Flyer programme.

“It will give you priority over other flyers if an upgrade does become available.

“Some people swear by simply asking, but I suspect that check-in staff could find this irritating given how many people they deal with on a daily basis.”

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