Everyone likes getting something extra for minimum efforts. Getting a last-minute business class upgrade is always on the cards, you just have to play them right. Nowadays, every "upgrade" costs a lot; therefore, the option is far less utilised. Also, the chances of getting an upgrade nowadays have gone down, but that does not mean you shouldn't try. Here are some tactics you can utilise to get yourself a flight upgrade:
1) Request: Ask and shall be given - works at the airport too! All you have to do is ask your airline, and you might receive it! If you don't ask, you won't or rarely get it. Be upfront and smart rather than being shy and apologetic. There's no reason why it shouldn't be you that gets the upgrade.
2) Check-in talk: Some upgrades are confirmed at the boarding gate too, where the airline has the complete picture of check-ins and no-shows. If you can engage with the person at the check-in desk, who knows, you might be able to find yourself upgraded with your banter. Your speech abilities can get you a flight upgrade, so get talking.
3) Ask your travel agent: Sometimes, a flight upgrade is just one smart move away. If you can get hold of an influential corporate travel agent, you can land up in the upgraded aisle without much hassle. Travel agents have an influence within the airline to land such deals for you. You can also get travel agent discounts on your flight.
4) The lone traveller: When there are not many seats available for upgrade, those seats get allotted to people travelling alone. Therefore, if you don't mind getting separated from your companion in the flight, try booking individually, and you both might land a chance of a flight upgrade!
5) Loyalty card: Are you a loyal customer or a card-holder? Your airline knows a lot, as they store all the information required of their passengers. Bear in mind that card-holders almost always get priority when there are seats available for upgrades. So your flight upgrade might just be contested by someone with a loyalty card. So, get yourself one!
6) Look for last-minute business class upgrade: Major airlines often offer business class upgrades. You can avail this by entering your details and making an offer. If you are lucky enough, you might get the upgrade of your choice for the price you want!
7) Occasion deals: Honeymoons and anniversaries are great occasions to ask for an upgrade. You can make the most out of your special day, only if you let your travel agent know in advance for what occasion you're booking. You might want to take some proof to the airline to cement your special day and increasing a chance on your flight upgrade.
8) Find Buy One Get One Free deal: There might be many exclusive airline deals out there, and you need to be eagle-eyed about it. Often you can find deals where you can buy one business class ticket, and you can get yourself one extra business class ticket for free! Such deals make flying worth every penny.
9) Travel during specific periods: Travelling in August or during the Christmas or new year has a bigger chance of you receiving a flight upgrade. Since business travel is low during these times, the seats might be vacant for an upgrade. Airlines sometimes overbook the economy class and bump up the people to the business class to ensure everyone gets on the flight.
10) Special deals: The gap in price between economy and premium economy is far lesser than the premium economy and business. When you are offered an upgrade to premium economy, take it. Because there's a chance, you might get an upgrade to business.