British Airways offers free one-way upgrade to limited time lucky passengers

British Airways is offering a free one-way upgrade to First over a limited time to lucky customers.

The special offer will be available to those buying eligible return flights in the airline’s Club World cabin, from now until March 13, for travel up to April 11, 2015.

Stephen Humphreys, British Airways’ head of UK&I sales and marketing, said: ‘For those who haven’t ‘turned left’ on an aircraft and flown in First before, they’re in for a real treat.

‘This is a brilliant offer that gives people the opportunity to fly in the understated luxury of First, enjoyed by the few sitting at the very front of the plane, for the cost of a business class ticket. We’re sure they’ll love the experience and want to fly in First again.’

Customers travelling in First can check-in through a dedicated area at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, and carry up to three 32kg bags. Once through the Fast Track security, they can access the airline’s separate lounges – Concorde Room at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 – as well as at other terminals, use all First facilities, and enjoy priority boarding.

The First class cabins provide mood lighting and special electronic blinds, and customers can dine from an a la carte menu with a selection of wines and champagnes delivered with personalised service. For sleep, the turn down service will transform the seats into full-flat bed, with quilted mattress, white cotton duvet, pillow, and cotton pyjamas to change into.

British Airways, the world’s first commercial airline to introduce a fully-flat bed in First class in 1996, offers flights in First to more than thirty destinations around the world. With the current frequency of flights, customers are likely to get their free one-way upgrade on routes including New York, Washington, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Johannesburg, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.


Cash-strapped Britain flocks to first class rail travel

The UK might be continuing to walk a tightrope of recession, and each day the news reports the latest privations and cutbacks that are being imposed on the nation, but first class rail travel has never been so popular.

The latest report from the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), which has compiled the figures for all of the UK’s regional operators into one total, reveals that more than 11 million first class or equivalent tickets were sold last year. That means that the luxury compartments are even more popular now than they were decades ago when rail was a far more prominent part of everyday travel.

However, according to the ATOC, the profile of the typical first class traveller has changed. With the recession having put paid to the bottomless expense accounts of travelling executives, the new luxury travellers include young Saturday night revellers on inter-city club visits, hen or stag parties making the same trip, and football fans wanting a little more comfort on away days.

A major contributory factor to the shift in first class rail usage has been a rationalisation of cost and the availability of special offers. By booking well in advance, a one-way, first class ticket from Manchester to London can be bought for under £40. Weekend and evening offers can see upgrades to first class costing as little as a £5 surcharge.

In the 10 years that the ATOC has been compiling ticket sales information, first class sales have risen to last year’s high from just over 6.5 million in 2003.

ATOC chief executive, Michael Roberts, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘Train companies have responded to the tough economic climate by offering a range of deals and investing in improved services to encourage more passengers to travel first class.

It is exactly this kind of commercial approach by operators that helps to explain why travelling by train has become more popular over a double dip recession, generating revenue to pay for services and sustaining government investment.’

The Ultimate First Class Experience: Emirates’ Private Suites Mix High Roller and High Flyer

For most travellers, long haul flights are an uncomfortable nightmare. From small seats to limited service, the average long distance flight is a task that few wish to repeat. Until last year, travellers had just one option to relieve the stress and discomfort of a long haul flight: buy a first-class ticket and simultaneously triple their fare – a solution that few were willing to pay for.

But Dubai-based airline Emirates Airways may have found the ultimate solution. Priced in excess of £9,000 and aimed at travellers with an eye for extreme luxury, the airline has introduced its private seating range – a collection of onboard private suites that offer travellers privacy and untouchable comfort. The suites are available on a limited number of long-haul flights and special charters.

With a £9,000 base price, they’re certainly not for budget travellers. But what they lack in frugality is more than made up for by the luxury features on offer. Standard private suites include a complete recliner-bed combination seat, a twenty-three inch television set, and over six-hundred channels of on-demand visual entertainment, radio programs, and satellite broadcasts to tune into.

If that’s not enough, they’re also a versatile business centre. Plug in your laptop and you’ll run into free onboard internet service and a private power supply. The suites are aimed at luxury travellers and high-end businesspeople, and it shows – alongside the reclining seat is a desk and small private workspace. While it’s unlikely passengers will be able to work, it’s certainly a nice addition.

It’s unlikely most travellers will step inside an Emirates private suite. It’s even less likely that they’ll even get to spend an entire flight inside one. But for the travel world’s true high roller class, it’s one experience that’s unlikely to be forgotten.

Free Upgrades: How You Can Fly First Class Without a Specific Ticket

If there’s one topic that thousands of travellers focus on annually, it’s achieving a first class ticket upgrade without shelling out for a full-price ticket. The elusive upgrade has been a popular target for travellers since its introduction, largely due to the perceived luxury of first class travel and the often ludicrous costs of upgrading a ticket manually.

But beyond strange theories and luck-based lines of questioning, there’s not much information on how to earn a first class upgrade. We met with some travel experts and asked for their opinions on the best way to gain a free upgrade to first class. Tired of travelling in cramped coach? Read on and learn how to upgrade that ticket without upgrading the cost of your flight.

Fly often? Use your miles for a ticket upgrade.

There’s no need to spend thousands of miles on a ticket upgrade – by asking the ticketing agent nicely, you may be able to gain a seat in the first class cabin simply by demonstrating that you fly with a specific airline often. Airlines have found that most of their business comes from a small selection of travellers – let them know that you are one and you might score a free upgrade.

See empty seats? Ask politely for a free upgrade.

Once a flight has left the airport, the cost of upgrading your seat to a more luxurious one is, quite literally, nothing. If you can see empty spaces in the first of business class cabins, politely asking one of the flight attendants could help you secure a free upgrade.

Alternatively, a number of airlines offer first class seats in exchange for shifting your business to a later flight. If you are seated on an overbooked flight and don’t mind waiting an extra hour or two, consider offering to be ‘bumped’ in exchange for a complimentary first class upgrade.