How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

Traveling in first class provides you with the highest level of comfort, privacy and service quality as well. In the world of air travel first class is the most expensive air travel class and that’s totally understandable given the variety of high quality services and amenities it offers.

First class flights provide you with the ultimate level of comfort and privacy. The variety of premium quality in-flight and on-ground services first class flights offer you will definitely give you a sense of exclusivity.

If you are a frequent air traveler, you will agree that it’s worth it for someone who flies often to wish to get a great deal and have a comfortable seat on a premium class cabin. Getting an upgrade to a first class seat is a great way to guarantee yourself a comfortable flight.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

It’s worth trying to get a first class upgrade especially if we are talking about international or long-haul flights with comfortable lie-flat seats and luxury environment and services. But for most people first class flights are rather an expensive option.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

But it can be achieved and you can afford it too. Everyone can travel in premium class. We present you a few ways in which you can score a seat on a first class flight.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

Ways to fly first class at a cheap price

Buy an economy class ticket

To get a seat on a first class or business class cabin you can use your economy class ticket. All you need to do is book a flight ticket for economy class and then buy an upgrade. This option is one of the cheapest options that are available.

You can upgrade your economy class ticket by using miles and points during the original booking procedure or after you have bought an economy class ticket from your airline’s online booking platform.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

Buy an upgrade

You can buy an upgrade either soon after you book your flight or choose the option for a last minute upgrade and make an upgrade as your departure date comes close.

Usually the ticket  prices for premium class flights decrease with the approach of the departure date. One way to check what are the upgrade available options for you, you can go to your airline’s website or check its mobile app. Or you can ask for available upgrade options to a seat on first or business class directly at your airline’s kiosk.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

Make a bid for an upgrade

Getting a flight upgrade at a discount is one of the possible ways to end up traveling on a first or business class cabin.

Some airlines organize something similar to an auction where passengers can bid for a better seat. So one way to upgrade your seat is to bid for an upgrade to business or first class.

To have your bid accepted you need to have a confirmed flight booking first. You should know that using this option doesn’t offer you a guaranteed upgrade. You may need to pay, if the airline accepts your bid.

So, bidding for an upgrade is a possible option but it’s not from the highly recommended ways to get a better seat. When compared to the option of using points or cash to pay for an upgrade, bidding for a flight upgrade is something more similar to a gamble.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

Use cash and points to buy a first or business class ticket

One of the best ways to get a first or business class seat at a discounted price is to purchase an award ticket. For example,  the standard price for a roundtrip business class fight which is booked with around 120,000 points usually costs $1,200. The regular price for the same business class flight that is paid in cash instead with points is $6000.

Compared to a regular economy class ticket which usually goes at the price of $600, the roundtrip business class deal may seem quite expensive but it seems like a good deal when compared to the full price business fare.

In case you don’t have enough points and miles to buy an award flight ticket, some airlines offer you the great option to buy an award ticket with both miles and cash. This option to combine cash and collected miles to get a discounted premium class deal is still a better option than paying the regular price of the flight by using only cash.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

Get an elite airline status

Another one of the best ways to get a flight upgrade that works every time is to obtain an elite status on a certain airline. However, to achieve this you need to do some things first.

Airlines grant frequent flyer status only to their loyal customers. So you need to fly for a while with a certain airline until it gives you an elite status.

If you already have an elite flyer status within your air company or you want to make a bid on a flight upgrade, one of the things you should pay attention to is the fare class of your economy class ticket at the moment when you are buying it.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

It’s a fact that airlines are more inclined to grant upgrades to some fare classes or classes of passengers than others. So for instance, if you decide to book a flexible economy ticket, you will have a higher chance of getting an upgrade than a passenger   who has booked a standard type of economy ticket.

Another possible way to get a discounted premium class fare is to sign up for your airline’s credit card. This option may provide you with a decent discount but it’s not something everyone can use.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

Give up your seat

If you want to get a flight on a premium class cabin such as first class, you may need to give up your seat. This means that you can volunteer to give up your seat if your flight is overbooked.

A common practice among airlines is to overbook their flights in order to avoid cases of no-shows. So they often search for volunteers to give up their seat on the flight and sometimes they need to remove passengers from an overbooked flight and move it to another flight.

If you get bumped from a flight or volunteer to give up your seat, you have the right to make a request for an upgrade. If you volunteer to give up your seat, in return you need to agree to move onto another flight. There are some cases in which airlines offer passengers a seat in first or business class just because it’s the last available seat in the airplane cabin.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

Request an  upgrade at the airline’s check-in counter

This option also doesn’t offer you a 100% guaranteed upgrade but it’s worth trying. There are some things you can do to increase your chance of success in scoring a seat on a premium class cabin.

Tips to score a free upgrade at a check-in kiosk

Fly during peak hours

If you choose to travel at peak times, you have a high chance of getting a free flight upgrade. So if you need to choose between a full flight and a half-full one, you should better choose to fly on the first one.

Fly solo

If you want to get a free upgrade to a first or business class seat, then it will probably be better for you to fly alone rather than in a company.

Dress in a nice way and act politely

This tip may sound like a cliché but polite manners can go a long way especially when you are trying to get a better premium class seat. And wearing a stylish airplane outfit will help you make a good impression upon the flight attendant staff.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

How to find cheap first class flight deals?

There is no doubt that buying a first or business class ticket outright guarantees you a seat in the premium class cabin. But there are actually other ways by which you can find a discounted premium class fare.

Subscribe to a flight deals newsletter

You can find  different newsletters for cheap flight deals on  the internet. Such newsletters can send you daily notifications about discounted flight deals and also mistake fares.

If you become a premium subscriber, you will get immediate notifications about flight deals and you are more likely to score a first class seat.

How to Fly First Class Without Paying Full Price

Look for Travel Tuesday or Cyber Monday deals for first or business class flights

Airlines often offer cheap flight deals during special dates such as Cyber Monday or during the New Year’s Eve festive period. During this time if the year flight bookings and air travel usually slows down.

Compare flight deals

When you are searching for affordable first or business class flight deals online, choose the option “see all fares”. In this way you will be able to compare the flight prices of all fare classes and first and business class will be also included. Sometimes there isn’t much difference in the flight prices.

Check your credit card details

If you want to  get a seat on a first or business class flight, then it’s good to read the fine print on your credit card. Travel cards sometimes offer deals and exclusive discounts that are available to their holder.

Make a Google search for flights

Google offers you the convenient option to search for the cheapest first or business class flight deals at a certain region or make a broad search for good flight deals. This option can save you valuable time.