Culture Lifestyle Travel

Travel: Tricks for Getting First Class Seats on Airlines for Pennies


By Zac Ferry

Since the deregulation of the airlines, flyers are paying more than ever before for tickets and hidden charges that seem to escalate. So, when do those of us get out of coach status and see how the other half lives in first class!

There are ways to move up to better seats if you know how to do it. The airlines did figure out how to get passengers to pay for all individual unbundled services. If you can take advantage of some and pay the fees, you can get those coveted seats!

For Example; An American Airlines flight from New York to Los Angeles, Sunday through Friday, will cost $483 round trip in coach and a whopping $5,373 in First-Class. OK, so the upside, you can change over with no additional fees and check your bag for free. That said, it really doesn’t leave too many of us jumping up and down for joy!

But if you play your cards right, you can get those seats by using a little bit of creative strategy.

Obviously, the most common way to make this happen is to earn upgrades with frequent flyer deals and even then, in the long run, that’s not cheap either. How many flights would you have to book to earn enough bonuses?

Check-In Online 24-Hours Before Your Flight:

Set your alarm or do whatever you have to, get online and check-in 24-hours before your flight is due to leave. The reason is, this is a window of opportunity for cheap upgrades that the airline will make available. These cheap upgrades do not last long, they are swept up pretty quickly, so be in the check-in system and be ready to grab!

Check-In Again At The Airport Kiosk:

This might sound redundant, but let’s say you didn’t find any cheap deals last night. The airline might not have gotten rid of all their first-class seats and now they are really getting antsy! That means, now that you are at the kiosk, you will probably see even cheaper offers that you might be able to afford! Go ahead and check-in again, you have absolutely nothing to lose!

Be Aware Of Nervous-Looking Gate Agents:

The next time you are waiting for your flight, take a close look at the gate agent! Does she seem a little nervous? Does she have a pencil and a pad of paper in front of her? This is how it works; they have premium seats to fill and it’s getting a little late in the day. She will write a figure on the pad of paper, show it to a passenger standing in front of her and wait for a yes or no! The passenger might offer their own price – it’s like bartering. At some point, the passenger is going to get a great first-class or business-class seat for pennies on the dollar!

Become An Elite Member:

This might not be the best avenue unless you fly thousands of miles every year. But this might actually work out. American Airlines came up with the Miles Club idea along with an almost unknown Hush-Hush program! You will not see this program anywhere on the internet or their website. This is a really easy way to get elite status when you earn extra miles and know you’ll be flying a lot over a short period of time.

If this sounds like something that will work for you, get with seasoned flyers on forums such as FlyTalk and they can give you valuable advice to get started. Then call American Airline’s Advantage Customer Service, sign up and start earning those really special status miles.

Lastly – Go To Southwest:

I know, they do not have first-class seats, but they do have their EarlyBird Check-In which offers a great bargain. For $10 to $20 dollars you can be offered a seat way in the front or any other place you wish to sit.

Check around, talk with seasoned travelers and learn as many tricks you can. You could get a really great first-class airfares for a matter of pennies!

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