First of all, I want to say how fascinating I have found your articles. I hopped online today intending to be here for a few minutes, and have been here a few hours, mostly because you reminded me that I owe my FF program a thank-you letter.
I have also realized as I started reading today, that although I have not read your book (I live in Japan), I have read almost all of your online articles, but I didn’t realize until today that they were written by the same author.
I have a question about upgrading with Singapore Airlines. I always fly with them because they have the best in-air service—bar none. I have been an Elite Gold Flyer with them for three years and have never bothered to ask for upgrades, because they informed me once that it is their policy never to give away what they can get their members to pay for.
That was fine, but recently, they upgraded me and my traveling companions free of charge, without even informing me that we had been upgraded.
I was very happy when I found this out, particularly since one of those companions was a cancer sufferer, and the extra space made for a much more comfortable flight for him (my 8-year-old brother).
They also upgraded my younger siblings on their continuing leg, where they travelled alone. I was delighted for them, and have written the FF program a letter thanking them, but I was wondering how are the complimentary upgrades allocated? This is the first time in over 200,000 miles that I have been upgraded, and I would certainly enjoy repeating the experience. Have you any advice?
Thnak you in advance for your reply. I appreciate that you are very busy!
Answered by The Penny Pincher
Thank you for your very nice comments. I apologize for the delayed response.
As a rule of thumb Singapore Airlines does not upgrade passengers because they do not want someone paying $6,000 U.S. to get upset when someone is upgraded for no charge.
Unofficially, they do upgrade passengers when coach is full and under circumstances such as your younger brother having cancer. When coach is full they will upgrade loyal passengers such as yourself. The best way to get an upgrade is to quietly approach the lead gate agent and introduce yourself, telling him that you chose Singapore Airlines for their high quality standards.
Advise them that you are willing to take one for the team and be upgraded if they need to move passengers forward due to over-capacity in coach. Joke with them subtly. This will put you first in their mind if they do have to upgrade someone, which is about 60 percent of the time.
If you’re flying with your younger brother you can also advise them of his situation, and if possible they will move you forward.
Thanks for reading and for the question.