How to get free flights and upgrades

Just about everybody enjoys the prospect of free flights , and there are several programmes around such as Avios points that allow people to do so in exchange for purchasing goods and services directly or through one of the scheme’s partners. Of course these schemes are very worthwhile, but they are not the only ways of flying for free, so here are a few additional fun ways of doing so.


If you have flown much in America you will certainly have come across the opportunity to be bumped form a flight. Domestic flights in the US frequently overbook flights in order to cover for the frequent number of no shows. This means that on occasion there are more passengers with tickets for a flight than there are seats. In this situation the airline will offer a free ticket on a subsequent flight along with a free flight voucher. Naturally by choosing the flight carefully you can maximise your chances of being bumped; when you arrive just let the airline staff know that you would be happy to volunteer.

Another good way to get free flights is to become a serial complainer. There is very little point in complaining to one of the budget airlines such as Easy Jet; after all everybody complains about and to them. However quality airlines have a different attitude; they tend to take customer complaints more seriously.

Naturally you need to have a valid reason for your complaint, and it needs to be about something within the ability of the airline staff to put right, so there is little point in complaining about things such as Air traffic Control problems and strikes in France causing delays to your flight, but for items related to poor standards of customer service either at the departure gate or on the flight complaining is worthwhile. There are good and bad ways of complaining. Getting emotional is certainly one of the bad ones. Your complaint needs to reasonable, set out in writing and sent to the customer services department, and it should include suggestions to the airline on how to prevent such a thing happening in the future. The chances are that you will receive a letter of apology along with a free flight voucher.


Although not quite the same thing as a free flight, getting a free upgrade from economy to business class or even first class is almost as good. Sometimes if a flight is overbooked you may be upgraded automatically, and your chances of this are maximised if you check in at the very last moment, but check in any later and you might not be allowed on the flight. There are some other strategies that can encourage the prospect of being upgraded too; one of the more popular is letting the airline know that you are on your honeymoon or are intending to get married at your destination; important wedding anniversaries often provide a good result too. Even if you don’t get an upgrade you may well be presented with a free bottle of Champagne. Another way is just to ask for an upgrade; the very worst is that you will be refused, so there is no harm in trying. If you are a frequent flyer with the airline then your chances will be better.