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Airline Upgrades

All my years of flying I have never asked for or recieved an upgrade. This year I am using American Advaantage miles for my trip to Europe. It took 60,000 of the 61,600 miles I had. Just wondered what procedure anyone uses for a chance to be upgraded or if it is even possible. Would love to fly over or back first class if possible. So, I am asking the travel experts for your input.

Posted by
1358 posts

As a long-time advantage mile member, I have read experiences in asking for upgrades from other travelers for years.

Most now agree that it is IMPOSSIBLE. If I were you I would call the AAdvantage number and ask about it. Try 1-800-882-8880.

Posted by
13839 posts

UPgrading is an art in itself and not as easy as it used to be.

It's doubtful you'll get FC. Business class is more likely.

It will depend on how crowded the plane is, whether or not elite FF travelers are also on board and have requested it, whether any member of IATA has requested, who else has requested...and how you look.

You will have a much better chance if you dress the part. No jeans or t-shirts. They want people who look as if they belong up there.

And then, you have to ask for it. It's really going to depend on who is at the gate. You will not get an upgrade prior to the gate. Simple reason. The airlines make money on business and first class tickets. They want to keep them open for last minute business travelers who will pay full fare. (We sometimes forget that not everyone flying to Europe is going on vacation.)

Now, I'm sure there will be people here who will contradict me and tell a story of how a homeless looking person got bumped up to FC but that is the exception the rule.

Posted by
9070 posts

While you can sometimes "charm" your way into an upgrade on a domestic flight, it's almost impossible on transatlantic flights. First class/Business fares range from a couple thousand to twenty thousand dollars. If a gate agent was caught giving something like that away, they could loose their job.

Posted by
5677 posts

You can upgrade with American Advantage, but you have to have purchased a ticket, use miles to do so and it can cost money if your fare is discounted as most fares are. Go to and look under the advantage program details and then click on awards. I often buy my ticket as cheaply as I can and use my miles for an upgrade. Pam

Posted by
264 posts

The one practical thing I can suggest is to be aware that as airlines try to lower costs and flights get more crowded the potential for overbooking is more real. Try to be in an advantageous position to take advantage of the situation as they try to accommodate the situation. Think who will most likely be moved up a class to free up a seat (assuming seats are available in business class)?