As a travel agent, I encounter many clients who would love to be able to fly first class without breaking the bank. Often times, the costs of upgrading to first class while booking your vacation can almost double your vacation costs. If you’re traveling and first class is not a need but a want, there are options for trying your luck at getting a bargain first class upgrade.
Check out the seat availability. Once you book your vacation and make your seat selections, check out the seat availability map on your flight to see how many first class seats are available. Make a note of it.
Check back. Depending on how many days are remaining until your departure date, check the flight availability maps periodically to see how the flights are booking up. If the economy seats are booking up and first class isn't, this increases your chances.
On the day of your departure, check the seat availability again prior to arriving at the airport. If economy class is sold out, arrive at your airport as soon as you can and work with an airline associate upon check-in to determine the availability of your first class options. Sometimes the availability isn't offered until you arrive at the gate, but by letting the associate know upfront you may be able to "catch the worm."
My fiance and I were taking our annual Jamaican vacation and while waiting at our gate for our connecting flight to Jamaica, the associates announced the first class option for a mere $80 per person each way for a total of $320 for two people round trip as opposed to the usual double expense if booked in the initial stages.
If first class is your strong preference, then this isn't for you, as you're definitely playing the odds of the flight selling out. However, for some it can be an added bonus to a vacation if you're able to capitalize on the discount. It can definitely be the icing on the cake for a fabulous vacation. Happy travels!
Ms. Oshana M. Brooks
GDS Travel Solutions