Upgrading the Non-Upgradeable

Upgrading the Non-Upgradeable 2016-01-31T19:41:55-08:00

Dear Penny Pincher,

I have a very cheap discount class ticket on Virgin Atlantic for a late summer flight. I am a silver club member. Any recommendations for possibilities of upgrading this “non-upgradeable” ticket?

My flight record has a lot of miles accrued by member programs and a mix of first class, premium, and (majority) economy partner tier points.


Answered by The Penny Pincher

Dear Rhume,

Although, it has become tougher to upgrade “non-upgradeable” tickets (after all they are called non-upgradeable for a reason), it is not impossible. To successfully upgrade your flight I suggest the following. Arrive at the airport early, and politely speak to any gate agents willing to listen to you. Tell them about your past history with their airline and within their alliance group. Let them know that you have been fortunate enough to fly in first class on past flights, enjoying very much the fine and gracious service. Than ask if there is any way they might try to accommodate you on this flight. If they tell you that the first/business class cabins are full ask to be placed on a wait list. If you are on a wait list do not board the plane until the boarding process is nearly complete. After most passengers have boarded the plane go back to the gate agent and ask if they have room for you in an upgraded class.

You might be interested in my new book to aid with your trip pre-planning. In this book you will find valuable tips for upgrading your travels. You can order a copy at Penny II.

Thanks for your question, and let me know how it works out for you.

All the best,


edited answer