If you're a ticketed coach passenger hoping for a free upgrade to business or first, there's one thing you should never, ever do according to experts — and it's not just "don't be a jerk," which is what you may logically be thinking. (Although that's a good rule of thumb, and it can work too, FWIW.)
Actually, the thing you should never do is ask for a specialty meal before boarding.
There simply aren't oodles of vegan, kosher, halal, and gluten-free meals just stocked and available on any given flight: Those meals are handmade and brought on board for passengers who request them, and earmarked for specific seats.
As well as the practical matters, there are the perception issues.
"Asking for a specialty meal and a free upgrade is an oxymoron," explains former pilot Yigal Alon. "You're going to be seen as difficult, and the last thing the hardworking plane staff needs is a hard-to-please passenger."
"Getting a free upgrade is more likely if you're traveling alone and seen as laid back and easy to please," explains Alon. "Travel solo, act super casual and like a veteran traveler with no need to ring your attendant bell every five minutes, and there's a chance a space in first just may open for you — not if you get up [and make endless demands]."
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