TikTok user shares 'trick' for landing a flight upgrade

Can dressing nicely get you a flight upgrade? TikTok user shares ‘trick’ for landing a better seat – but flight attendants insist it’s ONLY based on airline status

  • Ceara Kirkpatrick, from Missouri, revealed on TikTok that an airline worker she befriended recently shared some secrets about the job
  • He said that attendants ‘will literally mark you as suitable for upgrade if you look nice and only if you look nice’
  • Ceara said ‘you’ll never get upgraded’ if you dress like ‘garbage’
  • Her video has gone viral, with some commenters backing up her claims 
  • But most flight attendants commented that this was ‘false’ and upgrades on U.S. airlines are based solely on airline status and loyalty
  • According to Ceara, another way to improve chances of getting upgraded is by bringing a small gift for your flight attendant, like candy or a gift card 

A TikTok user has shared the ‘trick’ she learned from a flight attendant for getting a free upgrade when traveling – but other flight attendants are warning that it’s bad advice.

Ceara Kirkpatrick, from St. Louis, Missouri, revealed in a recent TikTok video that an airline worker she recently befriended spilled some secrets he learned on the job.

The flight attendant told her that travelers can get a seat upgrade simply by dressing nicely, but that wearing sweatpants will ensure they never see business class without paying the full fare.

Ceara’s video has gone viral with travelers hoping for a surprise class bump, but other flight attendants have weighed in as well – and most say the only way a traveler is getting an upgrade on a US airline is by earning status. 

Spill the tea: Ceara Kirkpatrick, from Missouri, revealed on TikTok that she recently befriended an airline worker, so she asked him to share some secrets about the job


He told her: ‘You need to look nice on every single flight. When you check in they will literally mark you as suitable for upgrade if you look nice and only if you look nice’

‘I became friends with a flight attendant a few weeks ago and we had a three hour car ride together so I trapped him and I was like, “Tell me everything I need to know about being a good flyer,”‘ Ceara explained in the clip, which has now been viewed more than two million times.

‘I’m like, “What are the tips? What are the tricks? What’s the insider scoop?” 

‘He was like, “You need to look nice on every single flight. When you check in they will literally mark you as suitable for upgrade if you look nice and only if you look nice.”

‘So if you’re dressed in sweats and look like a piece of garbage, like how I usually fly, you’ll never get upgraded,’ she said.

‘He said sometimes they’ll literally upgrade you regardless of status, even if you’ve never flown with that airline before, just because you look nice.

‘Now I’m going to look way more presentable on my flights, just so I can possibly get upgraded.’

The TikTok quickly went viral, and commenters began to argue over whether or not this is true – and other flight attendants even joined in on the conversation.   

And although some backed up Ceara’s claims, many said that upgrades are purely based off of airline loyalty – not appearance.

‘I’m a flight attendant, this is not true at all,’ one person wrote.

Another added: ‘Uh, false. 99 per cent of upgrades are based off airline loyalty and status. The rare “random” upgrade is based off fares paid.’

‘I think it depends on the airline,’ someone else said. ‘I know for Delta it solely depends on status 100 per cent.’

‘We did not do this at American Airlines so stay lazy AA flyers,’ a fourth comment read.

‘As an airline employee, your friend did you dirty on advice, like [that’s] absolutely not true on U.S. airlines,’ another viewer commented, while one more wrote: ‘As a flight attendant I have never heard this in my life.’

In a follow-up video, Ceara explained that her friend worked for an international airline and that the rule may not apply to the U.S. airlines.

‘I guess U.S. airlines don’t really follow this rule – it really depends on your status for U.S. airlines for upgrades,’ she said. 

‘If you want to get upgrades in the U.S. I would say stick to one airline, be loyal to them, fly them all the time. They will prioritize you for upgrades.’ 

According to Ceara, another way to improve your chances of getting upgraded is by bringing a small gift for your flight attendant, like candy or a gift card

She said her friend always brings goodies for his flight attendants when he’s flying and not working, and in return, he’s received things like extra snacks, free drinks, and more

‘Obviously, no one owes you anything so if you do this you should do it out of the kindness of your heart but nine times out of ten, they will treat you special,’ she added

Many commenters agreed with this theory, and some flight attendants confirmed that they have upgraded people just for being nice

According to Ceara, another way to improve your chances of getting upgraded is by bringing a small gift for your flight attendant, like candy or a Starbucks gift card.

She said her friend always brings goodies for the crew members when he flies and he isn’t working, and in return, he’s received things like extra snacks, free drinks, and desserts from first class. 

‘Obviously, no one owes you anything so if you do this you should do it out of the kindness of your heart but nine times out of ten, they will treat you special,’ she added.

Many commenters agreed, and some flight attendants confirmed that they have upgraded people just for being nice.

One wrote, ‘I’ve upgraded people because they say hello and acknowledge me when they get on.’ 

Another person added: ‘If you give flight attendants gifts (candy, Starbucks gift cards, lotion, sanitizer, etc.) they will look out for you. Works best on long flights.’     

Ceara continued: ‘Being a flight attendant is such a thankless job, people are so rude all the time.

‘So when they get gifts it’s literally so shocking that sometimes it makes them cry and it’s really nice, so let’s just spread the positivity.’ 

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