Whether it’s a honeymoon or family holiday, everyone loves an upgrade. Gone are the days that the more attractive, glamous or well dress passengers were selected by check – in staff for a complementary award to a superior cabin; of course it’s still worth an ask, but the truth of the matter is that the odds are better on Thunderball than they are for upgrade at the airline check -in desk.
Turquoise specialises in luxury holiday and honeymoons; we have decided to search for the best value upgrades whch don’t cost a fortune and we will continue to update the dedicated upgrade section of our website to keep you abreast of the best seats in sky at the lowest prices.
So here are our top facts and information on upgrades:
1. Business Class cabins have been historically for exactly that – business men and women whose companies were willing to pay a premium for them to travel in comfort to their choosen destination. In the past few years, however, there has been a massive shift, with more and more leisure passengers filling the premium cabins, particularly since the recession. The airlines would still prefer the historic Business traveller, who generally is a frequent flyer not just on any airline but that particular airline. Business men generally are less concerned about the cost because they are once again generally not paying – a good travel company will be able to find the best for the leisure passenger.
2. Remember business travellers are not flexible by nature, so if you can be you will benefit. Flights arriving early in the morning at your chosen destination are more popular than ones arriving later in the afternoon as business travellers can’t afford to waste the working day.
3. Think about non- direct service and secondary airlines whose hub is not your choosen destination. As a rough rule, national flag carriers are the most expensive to their home ports. Having said that, most of the major international airlines who fly direct to your destination offer 3 cabins, including a premium (Mid) cabin.
4. Think about upgrading for only one way or one sector of your journey, Most airlines allow you to mix cabins on a return journey, ie fly out in economy and fly home in Business class or Premium Economy or vice versa. Choose the sector you wish to upgrade on carefully – It’s great to have a flatbed on an overnight flight, but do you really need it for a day flight?
5. Premium economy (referred to as World Traveller Plus by BA, Pacific Premium by Air New Zealand for example) is a cross between economy and business class. Some people feel that this product is neither one thing nor the other and therefore not worth the money; in our opinion it really depends on the airline and the price we are able to secure for you. Air New Zealand’s Pacific Premium is superb and well worth the money – however this product is not available on all routes but is available on the main longhaul routes. You can upgrade for a supplement starting at £250 per sector – eg London Heathrow to Los Angeles, or London to Hong Kong.
6. On this note, check the route and the aircraft operating on the route you wish to travel. A good tour operator will do this for you – the newest aircraft will operate on the flagship routes of that carrier. Please note that due to technical or operational routes aircraft types may change.
7. Book your seats yourself. There is a difference between seats within class ( once again a good tour operator will do this for you where possible) some airlines will only allow you to do this directly and only 24 hrs previously.
8. Think about when to book – airlines operate very effective and complex yield management systems. You can beat the system by booking last minute but the odds are heavily against you. Our advice is to book early because the airlines’ systems are designed to release a few fantastic prices early to raise interest and stimulate the market, then slowly raise prices until departure.
9. Most airlines do allow you to upgrade once the ticket has been issued, however to secure the best deals and to save money, you would be better off upgrading before your tickets are issued.
10. Taxes – the UK departure tax increases by approximately £75 per person if your departure from the UK is in a Premium Cabin – so if you want to upgrade on only 1 leg, you may save money by doing this on the return journey.