WHEN you’ve been on the road for a while, the worst thing in the world is clambering on to an aeroplane where you will sit breathing in recycled air and getting kicked in the back for five hours by the child in the seat behind you (when he’s not crying, that is). The best thing in the world is getting an upgrade. So how can you maximise your chances?

The first rule is the easiest for a business traveller: look smart. Staff are far more likely to take pity on you if you look like you’re travelling for business rather than pleasure.

Otherwise, be courteous – if you are nice to the staff, they sometimes write that next to your name, and that puts you closer to the top of the list when they come to upgrades. Arriving early helps, too. If you turn up late and start asking for perks, you will get a frown, and nothing more. Those travelling alone are also more likely to be shunted into first than groups or pairs.

Of course, the best way to get a boost is to be a member of that airline’s frequent flier’s club. Airlines look after their best customers the best.

Failing that, the thing that almost guarantees you an upgrade is wearing the uniform of the airline you are flying with. Pilots almost always get the best seats in the house. You can try it, but it could be embarrassing if you get found out.

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