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Former flight attendant claims dietary choices influence upgrades

There are plenty of tips and tricks available for savvy flyers on the lookout for a free upgrade to business or first class, but the Holy Grail of air travel is something that remains an elusive dream for most.

Now passengers trying to increase their chances of getting premium quality treatment, fine dining level food and drink, and all the leg room and even bed space they can wish for, need to consider how their own dietary choices might nix their chances.

A former Qantas flight attendant has claimed that those who express a preference for a vegetarian, kosher or other special meal request are harming their chances of an upgrade as they are unlikely to be moved up a class.

Impact on upgrades

Nik Loukas, who is also the author of the plane food blog InflightFeed, explained: “If there’s a special meal request in your booking, the airline won’t even look at you (for an upgrade).

“Because you’ve got a dietary requirement, they might not be able to cater for you if they upgrade you.”

However, Qantas and Virgin counted his claim. A Virgin spokeswoman said: "This isn’t true - dietary requirements have no impact on upgrades." She added: “If a customer orders a special dietary meal we can serve it in any different cabin.”

Qantas also said there was no truth in the suggestion and that the type of meal customers order has no bearing on their ability to be upgraded.

Upgrade classics

Some classic moves to help with bagging an upgrade to the expensive seats on a flight include being a frequent flier with the airline. Travelling alone and perhaps most importantly being nice to staff along the way.

Most upgrades are offered for what airlines call “operational reasons”, which usually means they've oversold economy class. Travelling on a busy route means this situation is more likely to occur and being a member of a carrier's loyalty card scheme will always give you a better chance.

If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your Single Trip Travel Insurance in advance.

Date Created: 20 March 2017

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