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Flight upgrade criteria.


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Upon checking in on my recent trip, i had a nice surprise when i was told i had been uograded to business class on the Manchester-Dubai leg on my flight with Emirates.Im not sure what the reason was but i was chuffed to bits.

As it turned out the bloke sat next to me had also been upgraded too,just wondering what the criteria was for upgrades,the girl at check in may have said something about economy being full (i realise airlines overbook for no shows) but i wasnt sure.

Whats the general criteria for this privilege,i was dressed casually in cargo shorts, polo, and trainers so it wasnt because i looked like a business traveller,or is it just pot luck.

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Every airline does it differently, and even within the same airline they're not consistent across countries.


But let's say on average, things that work in your favour are (in order of importance):

  • FF status with that airline
  • Higher fare bucket ticket
  • FF status within the airline alliance
  • Luck
  • Appearance

Especially appearance is totally overrated in most articles about this. Possibly because they tend to be "written" by people who just cut and paste info from older articles on how this worked 20 years ago. As you clearly experienced :wink:

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Normally they upgrade frequent flyers from the airline. Sometimes they allocate upgrades to people who normally fly at the back to tempt them upfront in the future.

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