As traveling picks back up, flights have gotten popular again. While economy class is manageable for a couple of hours, if you’re anything like me, you might appreciate a little bit of extra leg room for an overseas flight. Upgrading to business can make your overseas flight much more comfortable, but getting a cheap flight and getting a business upgrade is a multistep process. However, getting cheap flights for young adults isn't impossible; that's for sure.
Read on to find a few quick tips for increasing your chances!
Stay Flexible On Your Dates
If you are interested in traveling overseas and have some wiggle room on your dates, choose the flight first, then structure your travel adventure around it. If you need to travel for business, consider getting there a bit early so you can capitalize on the better price and do a bit of sightseeing.
The days of the week can also make a huge difference. If you have a Friday meeting, fly on Tuesday or Wednesday, play tourist for a couple of days and fly back on Saturday to get the best deal on your flight price. Additionally, flying on Saturday may mean a smaller crowd.
Pack for Mobility
If you have to check a bag anyway, go ahead and make it a big one. Depending on where you go overseas, you may be dealing with cobblestones, so try to get something with decent sized wheels to avoid breaking anything. A bag with four wheels may work great in the airport, but many cities overseas have challenging terrain, so try to also get a bag that offers durability as well.
For those skilled at light packing or well versed in camping gear, load what you can in a soft backpack you can strap down tightly to avoid getting anything caught in the carousel. Once you get to your hotel, you can unload your gear and use your soft pack, strapped even tighter, as your day pack. If you choose to use a soft backpack as your personal item on the flight, grab something in a subdued color to increase your chances of getting an upgrade to business class.
Wait for airline Sales
If you have saved up...
credit card points
...and are in need of some travel, get in the habit of checking for short term discount offers. These are the sales that flash up fast and disappear quickly and often times they're the best bet for cheap overseas flights. If you have any flexibility in your schedule, you can quickly reserve your ticket, confirm the vacation time and cancel if you must without losing any money. You can also use tools like Skyscanner to set up flight alerts for destinations you are considering.
When signing up for travel points, make sure that you monitor your expiration dates. Additionally, if you have spent the past year avoiding credit card usage, make sure your cards points don't expire in the meantime. Consider setting up expenses like utilities and your gym membership or your music and book subscriptions on your cards for miles until you can travel again. Just make sure you pay those off each month. ;)
Dress the part
Just like they say you should show up to an interview dressed for the job you want, dress for the flight you want. Getting cheap flights for young adults can be a bit of a game. If you show up in an oversized sweatshirt and yoga pants, you might not be the first pick for an upgrade. However, if you can dial up your look a bit, such as...
slacks or nice jeans
a button up shirt instead of a ripped tee
a sweater or lightweight jacket
...your chances of getting into business class in the event of a cancellation will go up. Instead of looking as if you just rolled out of your bed, try to look more tidy and organized. Men can trim their beards to look more decent, while women can put on a bit of makeup to look classy. Opt for subtle colored outfits that make you look elegant.
Travel Alone or Be Willing to Sit Alone
It's very rare that business class seats will open up in pairs, but finding a single seat for upgrade is entirely possible. If you need a bit more legroom and can't get a bulkhead or escape row seat, being willing to sit alone can improve your odds of getting an upgrade.
Even a center seat in business class offers more space than an aisle seat in economy. Be prepared to self isolate when you ask about an upgrade. Carry an eye shade, e-reader or a laptop so you can "work" in your new chair and enjoy the comfort and isolation.
Even if you are traveling with a friend or partner, splitting up can have benefits for the person remaining in the economy. Consider repacking your carry-ons to add bulk to the bag of the person getting the upgrade, as there is more room up there than in economy.
As long as the person in economy has the tools they need to stay entertained during the flight, not having all their carry-on gear will not be a burden and they will have more room in bag storage or in front of their feet.
Check the Calendar
Avoid travel on major holidays for both your departure and arrival destination. For instance, you wouldn’t expect to find cheap airfare within the United States at the end of November or around July 4th. If you need a trip to Europe, check flights to nearby destinations and find a route that might be cheaper and leave time to take the train or domestic flight.
You don't have to be a business traveler to enjoy a spot in business class. With a bit of planning ahead, your overseas flight can be much more comfortable than you expected and still be cheap. Be ready to dress up a bit and be sure to ask politely and be patient. You may not get an upgrade immediately, but you can get on the list with the right attitude.