Flight attendant reveals 'trick' to get free upgrades and extra legroom on a plane

plane seats
Being kind and polite to airline staff goes a long way -Credit:Photothek via Getty Images

Everybody dreams of being able to travel in comfort and style, but for many, constantly forking out for the best seats on a plane isn't financially possible.

However, according to one flight attendant, you can really bump up your chances of getting a free upgrade if you simply behave in a certain way - and the most important thing to consider is how you ask.

Cabin crew member Miguel Munoz has lifted the lid on how you can secure free perks on a flight, including extra legroom, and what techniques don't tend to work as well.

Speaking to the Express, he said: "Sometimes people come to me asking for an orange juice or a snack because they say they are dizzy or have low blood sugar. We [the crew] automatically think they are lying just to get something for free. And probably some people lie."

He added: "But I always think if you're lying karma will come back for sure. But if they are not lying and I don't give them anything it's even worse.

"I have to, just in case. On the plane, the crew is in charge of helping passengers, so we have to trust them really."

Miguel noted that claiming to feel unwell is a surprisingly effective tactic to receive complimentary items onboard, as flight attendants are obliged to assist and cannot challenge a passenger's health claim. However, he emphasised that success often hinges on "how you ask".

He explained: "Most airlines don't give anything for free, not even water, so when passengers come saying they are very thirsty, they need to take medication or they just ask for a glass of water, I officially have to say no.

"First, I always tell them that we sell bottles of water. I'd normally give it for free but it all depends on how you ask really."

"For example, if after I say we charge for water they [passengers] get all upset saying things like 'but the law says you have to give me free water' or ' it's a human right' automatically I'm not going to give them any."

"Now, if you say you don't feel well or you ask very nicely then definitely I will be giving that to you," he said.

Inside of plane
You could get a seat upgrade simply by being polite, according to the flight attendant -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

In terms of upgrades, Miguel said "it's about being nice and honest" and revealed what passengers should and shouldn't say to get better seats on the plane.

The flight attendant explained: "If passengers come to me and say they need more space for some reason I move them to the overwings [seats by the emergency exit with extra legroom].

"But you have to be careful with what you say! Because if you say you have a bad knee, for example, I have to be careful with these people as passengers seating by emergency exits are the ones who have to assist the crew in case of an emergency.

"If you can't operate the emergency exit because you have a bad knee, I can't move you to the overwings. So it won't work."

And for passengers who are keen to be moved to the emergency exit row, Miguel suggested: "My advice is to be honest, don't try to be dramatic. If it's true that you have a bad leg, fair enough (although you won't be seating in the overwings! ). But don't lie about it because probably you don't know it but it won't benefit you.

"The other day a passenger said he had hip pain and he wanted to have extra legroom.

"Unfortunately, because of that, I couldn't move him to the emergency exit but I moved him to the last row which was completely empty."

"Just be honest. If you don't have any pain, simply say 'Hey if you guys had any seats available in the emergency exit row could you let me know? ' and I will."

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