Want to score a flight upgrade? It can be hard to do without miles, status, or cash — even if you just won Olympic gold. But there are plenty of tips for how to score first-class upgrades out there. And here's one more that you could find very helpful next time you're at the airport.
According to bestselling British novelist Tilly Bagshawe, there are two “magic words” that guarantee a first-class upgrade every time: revenue management. In an interview with Bloomberg, Bagshawe (author of popular English so-called "bonkbusters" like Adored and Scandalous — think sexy paperbacks) explained that she flies about 100,000 miles per year on Virgin Atlantic and frequently gets bumped up from economy by employing a savvy trick.
Say the magic words.
"Call reservations and drop the name 'revenue management,'" Bagshawe said, explaining that the department is "like Flying Club's boss."
As a department unknown to most people, by name-checking revenue management, "you reveal yourself as someone who knows how things work and understands how seats are released."
How are seats released?
According to the article, revenue management is responsible for making sure the flight is profitable by optimizing seat costs and will release unsold first class seats for miles upgrades. Bagshawe claims she has "never bought an upper class seat," and has had “pretty much a 100 percent success rate" scoring seats in Virgin Atlantic’s swanky, amenity-laden upper-class cabin.
However, a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic told Jet Set, "We've heard some pretty tall tales from people trying to get a sneaky upgrade over the years — and this is certainly one of the most creative! As helpful as our lovely revenue management team are — they don't handle upgrades, and customers can check the latest availability of our reward seats by calling our contact center or via our website."
Bummer. Looks like we might have to go back to our boring old standby method: Just ask. But we still think it's worth a shot!
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