And that is why there is no shortage of advice on the web about how to score a free upgrade.
The main problem with this advice is that it is largely either absurd or works so rare that it is almost irrelevant.
Yes, be courteous to check the staff can not do damage.
Yes, a plan member can help frequent travelers.
Yes, in certain circumstances, a single traveler can be hit until the economy has been oversold.
But the sad truth is that these tactics are in a so rarely updated, you can forget them.
The only way to ensure an update is to pay for it.
Ask the right question To get a cheap flight upgrade
How to pay for it may be surprising, however.
"How can I get a free upgrade?"
It is the wrong question.
Try to think: "How can I get up-to cheap flight upgrade"
In August, he flew from Washington to London Heathrow, premium economy with Virgin Atlantic.
I got online and went to leave my luggage at the counter.
Once there, arms folded, I wondered how you the costs of cheap flight upgrade.
The response was more than US $ 1000 (1 573 $ NZ) and frankly not going to happen.
So out of curiosity more than anything else, I wondered if it was possible to upgrade with frequent flyer points.
The woman at the desk said yes, and entered into the computer to find out how to support me.
10,000 miles, plus $ 93 in taxes.
That's a ridiculously good deal I wanted to declare my undying love for the woman at the registration desk.
But there was a problem.
She was not allowed to make a transaction of this type - was to be done by phone.
So I called the loyalty club, I explained the situation, gave details of my credit card and allowed to take 10,000 miles in my account.
140,000-odd I was there, so it seemed a brilliant investment for a small part of them.
Within minutes, he had obtained the boarding pass recognizing top class in my legs.
The Boeing 777 flights Delta One business class "in Los Angeles.
Update on the cheap flight
The obvious lesson here is to always ask the cost of the upgrade upon check or leave your checked baggage.
The worst that can happen is that you get a ridiculously high price he descends into a laugh.
But it can be surprisingly cheap - and it has to do with how frequent air travelers whose work plans.
This instance was Virgin Atlantic, but most systems operate in a similar manner.
A limited number of places in each category are reserved for loyalty redemptions in most places.
Sometimes they are made very quickly, sometimes remain available until just before the flight because of lack of demand.
At other times, additional seats are released later.
Again, this tends to happen when the plane is not full.
So when you book, there can only refund the economy seats available - but the seats in the upper classes can be released closer to your departure date.
And the recently released update these often can be strangely cheap seats - it's a whim of the most frequent traveler schemes that the update tends to be much cheaper than paying a first class flight.
The check-in agent may be able to warn if you ask about it, but it is also possible to investigate independently or two days earlier.
Simply log into your frequent flyer account and go make a reservation for the flight to be exact fictitious.
If there is no availability in the higher classes, there is a good chance that you will be able to upgrade for a pittance in comparison.
Some airlines will allow you to do so online - others have to phone.
It may take a couple of minutes while check-in is done online, but if you turn left without emptying your wallet, this is by far his best chance to get there.