You can’t sit in first or business class unless you pay a lot of money.

I’ve done several contributions with InsideFlyer Magazine over the past few months, both of which you can see on my press page. I really enjoy writing these articles, and have a lot of fun sharing my knowledge with folks new to this hobby. Over the summer, I wrote an award trip report from my visit to Spain to see the running of the bulls in Pamplona, and December, had the chance to chime in on the best (and worst) travel industry news in 2014.

The latest article I had the chance to write in on was 7 Frequent Flyer Myths Debunked.

My myth? You can’t sit in first or business class unless you pay a lot of money.

False. In fact, most times when I travel, I sit in first class or business class for free, or on a greatly reduced fare and you can too. First off, let’s delve into talking about how to sit up front for free–there are really two main ways to achieve this (there are others, but these are the biggies): complimentary or elite upgrades and mileage upgrades. If you have status with an airline, you may be able upgrade for free or a greatly reduced amount, depending on the airline. Some airlines will also give you free international upgrades, like American’s Executive Platinum program which awards eight systemwide upgrades to top tier elites.

The other way to get upgraded for free is by using miles. Often, if there is upgrade space available, you can use the miles in your frequent flyer account to pay for an upgrade, sometimes with a small co-pay. On domestic flights I find the best upgrade to be on American’s A321T product where you can upgrade from the main cabin to business class (and a lie-flat seat) for only 15,000 AAdvantage miles and a $75 co-pay. The other way I’m able to sit in front is by looking for cheap fares.

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Airlines will often try to compete with each other and if one puts a certain routing on sale, then you’ll often find the others following suit soon thereafter. This past Thanksgiving, I was able to fly Los Angeles-London-Amsterdam-New York-Los Angeles all in business class for under $2,000 on a mix of American and British Airways. I was able to do the same last year from New York nonstop to Amsterdam for less than $1,500 on KLM in business class. If you keep your eye out on blogs, forums and other sale sources you’re bound to find a good deal and be guaranteed a seat in the forward cabin.

You can read the rest of the myths here.


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