Tilly Bagshawe, the writer of a New York Times bestseller, flies quite frequently and often gets free upgrades to business class.
She only has to use two words to get bumped up to the next class on her flights. Some people try to dress well so that when they’re at check-in they can try and get some kind of free bonus, but this does not work anymore.
For Bagshawe it is always possible for her to win over of the staff of her favourite airline, Virgin Atlantic.
To move into first class she uses the words ‘revenue management.’ This is the department that makes sure a flight is profitable for the company. She thus asks ‘Has revenue management released any first-class seats?’
Then a discussion can begin to find out how many unsold places there are. In this case, simply say ‘You have 20 unsold first class seats? Why not release one?’ More often than not the check-in agent will allow you to move into first class.