Should Economy Class Passengers Upgrade to Empty Business Class Seats?

Walking through empty places is always enviable business course The cabin has been changed to full economy class, hoping that the airline can easily give some passengers a free upgrade. So why don’t operators do this? Is there a way to get the upgrade?

just not enough space

The biggest problem for airlines is the difference between the total number of seats in business class and economy class. Business capacity is usually 10-20% economy class, the operator will not be able to provide a seat for everyone. Airlines would then have to choose between which passengers “deserve” seats, sending them down another rabbit hole.

Simple video of the day

That’s why airlines would rather leave seats empty than offer them free to economy class passengers.Instead, airlines often offer frequent flyers the opportunity to use miles or cash upgrade, before flight, on the ground, or even on board. This allows them at least some income from a seat that should ideally be sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars.

A business-class seat on a long-haul flight is usually four to six times the price of a seat in the back.Photo: Swissair

In some exceptional circumstances, airlines may upgrade passengers, such as those who have medical issues and need assistance. In most cases, however, the inability to choose between passengers and the fees paid to passengers mean airlines won’t upgrade economy-class passengers, even if the seat is free.


How do you score upgrades?

But it’s not true that no one gets a free upgrade from economy to business class.Airlines will always seek to upgrade their most Elite Flyer to the front of the plane. That’s because it’s important to retain their customers, who often spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on premium travel.

Sadly, this is usually only achievable by business travelers or those who splurge on flights. For most regular passengers, it’s best to ask for a paid upgrade or bid for a seat at check-in or at the gate. Remember, airlines want to maximize revenue without being seen as too liberal with upgrades.

The best way to think about upgrading is to ask if there is room for an upgrade.Photo: Getty Images

In fact, airlines have established clear procedures for those interested in upgrading applications. Virgin AtlanticFor example, upgrading from Premium Economy to Premium Economy on a long-haul route costs £650 ($820) if you choose to fly. But without passengers, airlines are content to let paying passengers enjoy an empty cabin.

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breakeven price

It’s important to know that for airlines, each route has a break-even target. This means that even if business class is empty the day before, a full flight the next day can easily allow them to achieve their route’s target revenue. For now, airlines will avoid creating a system of free upgrades and passenger expectations.

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