Having watched it be done dozens of times in the world of film and television, we’ve all dreamt about being upgraded to first class on a flight for no particular reason.
As someone who’s only ever flown with Ryanair their entire life, I’ve spent my time in the sky being squashed by the snoring man sitting next to me or desperately turning up the volume of my music to block out a screaming baby.
Apparently though, it doesn’t have to be this way as there’s a whole other peaceful world on a plane – first class.
Many of us don’t even try asking for an upgrade as we know the answer will inevitably be ‘no’ but according to one frequent flyer, there are only two words you need to say to get your luxurious ticket.
British author and ex-pat, Tilly Bagshawe, claims she travels up to 100,000 miles a year, going between her home in Los Angeles and the UK.
According to Bagshaw, uttering the words ‘revenue management’ is an easy way to get bumped up to first class for free.
‘Revenue management’ is actually a little-known department all airlines have, which makes sure flights are earning enough money. As a result, they’re in charge of telling travel agents what they can and cannot say.
All you have to do is ring up the reservations agent for the airline, name-drop the department – making sure you sound like a VIP frequent flyer – and if you’re lucky, you’ll soon have a ticket to peace and quiet.
Bagshawe explained to Bloomsburg:
Not everyone knows this department exists and by mentioning it, you reveal yourself as someone who knows how things work and understands how seats are released.
Say to the agent: ‘Have revenue management released any first-class seats for miles upgrades yet?’
When they say no, ask them to check or just be put through to revenue management so you can ask when they will release some, as well as how many seats are left.
Politely respond like this: ‘You have 20 seats unsold? Why aren’t you releasing them?’
Often by the end of the conversation they say, ‘OK, we’ll release one for you,’ or they might tell you to call back tomorrow. Doing that, we’ve had a pretty much 100 per cent success rate.
If Bagshawe has used this trick to never pay for a first class seat, well surely we can too?
She claims it works with the airline she travels most with, Virgin Atlantic, and so Business Insider thought they’d give it a go.
Contacting Virgin to ask if the trick really works, a spokesperson said:
Each year we release thousands of reward seats for our Flying Club members and customers can check availability online and through our contact centre.
Well that sure sounds like a yes to me!
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.