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.’


Carnival to spend £500 million on fleet review

Carnival Cruise Lines, a British-American owned cruise line based in Florida, USA, is to spend up to £500 million on an operational review of its fleet.

The company intends to review 101 ships across its ten brands following a number of reported technical problems and the widely publicised engine fire on the company’s ship, Carnival Triumph, in February this year. Improvements are already in hand for £200 million of improvements to Carnival Cruise Lines’ 24 ships, with emergency power capabilities, new fire safety technology and operating backup all benefiting from enhancements.

According to Carnival, the work should not affect its scheduled cruise itineraries beyond the cancellations that have already been announced for the damaged Carnival Triumph and delays to the rebuilding of Carnival Sunshine.

Micky Arison, chairman and chief executive of Carnival Corporation, said, ‘The investments announced today for Carnival Cruise Lines, and those we will continue to make, will reinforce our ability to consistently deliver the customer experience that 10 million people every year have come to expect from us across our fleet of 101 ships. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety and comfort of our guests and crew, and we will use the full resources of our company to meet that commitment.’

Gerry Cahill, president and chief executive of Carnival Cruise Lines, said, ‘All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships operate safely today. Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements. However, by applying lessons learned through our fleet-wide operational review after the Carnival Triumph fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations.’