‘I know so many tricks’: How to fly in First Class for free – insiders share best tips

Flights: Student discusses how he 'fast-tracked' to first class

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Student Raj and former cabin crew Amy shared the secrets to getting into First Class for free – as well as showing behind the scenes of First Class on luxury airlines Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. The pair appeared along with other travel enthusiasts on Channel 5’s Upgrade Me: Secrets of First Class.

Letting viewers in on his secrets, Raj revealed: “How can you fly in First and Business Class as an 18 year old, as a student?

“I was determined to find a way where I could fly First and Business Class without the premium price tag.

“To New York, and back – for free.”

He explained: “For my 18th birthday, I knew enough to apply for my own credit card.

“I’ve been spending every single pound I have ever spent since my 18th birthday on airline credit cards and it feels incredible, because every time I spend, I’m getting air miles for it.

“Be really clever with your sign up bonuses. I’m at University, I don’t spend a huge amount of money, but what I do is I apply for these cards just before my rent is due.

“So I spend £1600 a term, and I’ll be £400 away from the sign up bonus.

“The sign up bonuses can be excellent, for example this term I got a 26,000 point sign up bonus which, as I said, can get you a return flight from London to New York just from paying my University accommodation rent, which I would have to do anyway.”

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Amy, former cabin crew, backed this up, and said: “I know so many tricks.

“Get the Avios credit card, put everything on it, but obviously pay it off – don’t want you getting into debt.

“My friends got two tickets to Barbados return in Business Class for free, because they’d spent everything for a year on their Avios credit card.

“I do find that in First Class, a lot of people are there thanks to their miles. so make sure you collect them.”

As well as collecting points for flights when you spend, the other way to get into the rarefied air of First, Business, or even Premium Economy is to get an upgrade.

These days, most airlines do offer passengers the option to bid for a last minute upgrade at a much cheaper price than they would have paid upfront – but paying to be upgraded will never beat the thrill of getting it for free.

However, with security tighter than ever and profit margins squeezed in recent years, getting a free upgrade is no easy task.

So, how can a keen traveller bag that move up a notch on the plane?

According to the insiders on the Channel 5 show, “people upgrade passengers when they are better looking, I don’t know why that is.”

So sadly, only extremely good-looking passengers get to turn left when boarding for free – everyone else must pay for the privilege.

Some just simply splash out the cash, and they get the luxury treatment for their investment.

Apparently, some people believe “economy seating is such a struggle” and first-class “makes your life much easier” so see it as a worthy spend. For the rest of us, economy will just have to do.

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