How to Upgrade Your Airline Seat in a Cost-Effective Way

With champagne service, lie-flat seats that convert into beds, and other luxe amenities, it’s no surprise that flying in first or business class is one of the best seats in the sky. And with the abundance of in-flight experiences that keep coming into play, it’s no surprise that it’s an incredible way to experience long or short-haul flights. However, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars when it comes to securing a highly-coveted airline upgrade. Read below for a few strategies to upgrade your seat without breaking the bank. 

Use Your Resources

For starters, you can utilize credit card points or airline miles to sit in business or first class. Being a frequent flier and having elite status with a dedicated airline is another way to receive a complimentary upgrade. If neither is an option, you’ll want to head to the airport early,  dress nicely, and kindly ask a gate agent. Some travelers can upgrade with check-in, and usually, the flight will be heavily discounted since it’s so close to the flight. 

Pay for Extra Legroom

If all else fails, you can pay for extra legroom. For example, United’s Economy Plus class seats have up to six inches of extra legroom, and the fees start at about $20. If you’re a frequent flier, the airline has a subscription to Economy Plus, which costs $599 and allows unlimited upgrades on any flight for a year. Travelers with frequent flier numbers have similar options on American Airlines as well. Note a few other air carriers: Delta has Comfort+; Spirit offers The Big Front Seat; JetBlue has Even More Space seats; and American has the Main Cabin Extra available. 

Book Premium Economy

Booking premium economy is another great alternative if you can’t secure an upgrade using points or miles. Since the seats have more legroom than regular economy seats, they are much more comfortable for long-haul flights. On average, the seats are also an inch or two more wider. In addition, many of the seats recline and have footrests, which helps on longer flight durations. 

Regardless of which strategy you utilize, all will lead to you having a more comfortable flight—especially if it’s a long haul.

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