Can you think of anything worse than getting stuck in a middle seat during a long-haul flight? What about a middle seat that is next to a crying baby? Sounds like you’re in for a bumpy ride! Luckily for you, I know of a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting a better seat. Yes, I’m talking about (possible) free flight upgrades.
Side note: None of these things are guaranteed to work. This is just what I have experienced being a flight attendant. Your stewards can make almost any cabin decision at their sole discretion.
1. First, Be nice.
When you first step on the plane, thank them and be chatty. Try talking to all the flight attendants. Make yourself memorable in a good way! If you make yourself seem like a person they can have a good conversation with, then you are laying the foundation for a good conversation later in flight. They get just as bored as you do! So, if you find yourself chatting them up in the back galley (giving them a friendly distraction during their downtime), many will start offering you freebies.
2. If you’re really looking for that better seat; bring your flight crew candy or food. If you walk on board, hand your crew a bag of chocolate, and thank them, they will most likely take note of where you sit and come by often to talk/offer up goodies in return. I know it sounds silly, but bribery totally works.
3. You could also luck out with a better seat if you’re willing to give yours up if the crew needs to move people around. It’s common that people will be shuffled around during boarding due to duplicate seating or law restrictions. Many people make a fuss and aren’t willing to help-out. But those people who eagerly offer to give up their seat, usually end up with a better one.
4. Since I’ve already shamelessly talked about bribery, I may as well not leave this one out. Tell them you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or an engagement. Pull at their heart strings. They work in customer service. They are supposed to make these occasions special. Not only does this normally qualify you for a free drink or two, but you also have a solid topic to talk with them about. And as I said before, befriending the crew is the way to go. But be warned: You could possibly get a celebration shout-out over the PA system. If you’re lying, double check that anyone in your party can play along.
5. I’ve saved the worst for last. But it works, damn it. Flirt with your crew. Doesn’t matter your gender, just try it! Men, you may even have better odds flirting with the male crew members. Don’t go overboard, though. You don’t want to be that creep in 29C who won’t leave the crew alone. But it doesn’t hurt to try! I once dropped off a free drink to a guy just because I thought he was beautiful. He didn’t order it, and he hadn’t even spoken to me the entire flight. I just wanted an excuse to talk to him.
You may think some of these ideas are totally loony, but they work. I have experience with these methods as both a crew member and a passenger. If you use these flight hacks, there’s a solid chance you’ll find yourself with some free flight upgrades. The main idea to remember is that your flight crew are people too. If you can help make their flight more enjoyable, then they’ll do the same for you.