British air travellers admit to cheating to get an upgrade

One in six British travellers admitted that they have cheated to get an upgrade on a flight or at a hotel, according to a survey by travel website, TripAdvisor.

The survey, covering over 8,000 Britons, revealed that nearly 17 percent admitted lying to airline or hotel staff to win a better room or seat. A separate survey of over 12,000 holidaymakers showed that one in eight had also pretended to be sick for a holiday extension.

Responding to the findings a spokesperson for ABTA, a UK-based travel association, said, ‘Treats and upgrades can be a real perk of travel but there’s a danger that we’ll stop seeing them if this goodwill is abused.’

Earlier this year Telegraph Travel reviewed airline upgrades and several carriers reportedly said that the best way of being selected for an upgrade was to join the airline’s frequent flyer scheme. ‘It is sometimes necessary to upgrade customers,’ a British Airways spokesman said, adding, ‘This is rare and will normally apply to frequent flyers who are members of our loyalty programme first.’

A spokesman for Germany-based carrier, Lufthansa, said, ‘Passengers who paid more for their tickets are more likely to be upgraded than passengers who bought a discounted ticket. The frequent flier programme status is also taken into account.’

According to many airlines, upgrades are mostly offered for ‘operational reasons’, like when the economy class cabin is full or oversold, but the premium cabins are not. ‘It never hurts to ask’ for an upgrade at the check-in desk, they said, adding that a genuine reason, such as ‘being exceptionally tall, pregnant, or even celebrating a honeymoon, birthday, or anniversary, would certainly improve your chances.’