A frequent flier reveals the two words that will always get you an upgrade to first class

Hollis Johnson
  • British author and expat Tilly Bagshawe told Bloomberg she flies around 100,000 miles a year.
  • Bagshawe says she has never paid for an upper class seat.
  • Instead, she has a tip for using air miles to score an upgrade, and it’s to drop two simple words: ‘revenue management.’
  • Claims to have ‘pretty much 100% success rate’ this way.

British expat and New York Times best-selling author Tilly Bagshawe knows a thing or two about flying.

She told Bloomberg that she typically flies around 100,000 miles a year, and has often managed to get herself bumped up from economy class without paying by deploying a two-word strategy.

Even when you have airmiles, carriers are notoriously stingy when it comes to handing out upgrades. And the days of dressing smart at check-in the hope of a freebie are long-gone.

But, according to Bagshawe, there is still a way to get what you want, at least with her preferred airline, Virgin Atlantic.

Apparently all you have to do is utter the words: “revenue management,” a little-known department, which she likens to the “Flying Club’s boss,” that has responsibility for making sure a flight is profitable.

Bagshawe advises you call and ask the reservations agent: “Have revenue management released any first-class seats for miles upgrades yet?”

“When they say no, ask them to check or just be put through to revenue management so you can ask when they will release some, as well as how many seats are left,” she went on. “Politely respond like this: ‘You have 20 seats unsold? Why aren’t you releasing them?’

“Often by the end of the conversation they say, ‘OK, we’ll release one for you,’ or they might tell you to call back tomorrow.

“Doing that, we’ve had a pretty much 100% success rate,” she added.

Business Insider contacted Virgin to find out whether this trick is actually likely to work. A Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman responded with the following: “Each year we release thousands of reward seats for our Flying Club members and customers can check availability online and through our contact centre.”

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