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Man gives first-class seat to 88-year-old stranger. What to know about first-class upgrades


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Man gives first-class seat to 88-year-old stranger. What to know about first-class upgrades

David Oliver, Christopher Elliott USA TODAY Published 10:57 AM EST Dec 19, 2019 A man who gave up his first-class seat to an 88-year-old stranger has captured the Internet’s heart. A Virgin Atlantic flight attendant wrote about the moving incident in a Facebook post  Dec. 10 that has since gone viral “Jack and his family…

Man gives first-class seat to 88-year-old stranger. What to know about first-class upgrades


David Oliver, Christopher Elliott


USA TODAY

Published 10:57 AM EST Dec 19, 2019

A man who gave up his first-class seat to an 88-year-old stranger has captured the Internet’s heart.

A Virgin Atlantic flight attendant wrote about the moving incident in a Facebook post  Dec. 10 that has since gone viral

“Jack and his family purchased seats In our upper class cabin for a flight home from New York, but when he got onboard, Jack went and found Violet in economy and swapped seats with her,” Leah Amy wrote in the post. It had more than 3,200 shares as of Thursday morning. USA TODAY has reached to Amy for more information; Virgin Atlantic declined to comment. 

“Violet is 88 years old, has been a nurse in both the UK and over in America. She travels to New York to see her daughter, but hasn’t been able to for a while because of a knee replacement. Her dream has always been to sit at the front, and Jack made that come true,” Amy added.

Like Violet, many travelers daydream about flying first class. Though you may not meet a kind stranger like Jack, there are other ways you can wind up in first class – or at least a better seat than the one you paid for. Here are some tips on how you can get a seat upgrade:

  • Find a flight with empty seats. Certain flights, like the first flight of the morning, or the red-eye (overnight flight), tend to be emptier.
  • Learn how to bid for an airline upgrade. After you’ve made your economy-class reservation, log in to the airline site to see if you’re eligible. Often, the airline also sends you a notification. 
  • Don’t be afraid to let the flight attendants know about any issues. “Try politely telling a flight attendant and asking if there are any other seat options,” says Molly Cowen, travel expert at the travel site TravelPirates. “If you’re lucky, you might be moved to a more premium seat.”
  • Just move to a better seat. Nathan Segal, a professional speaker from Calgary, Canada, waits until the flight reaches cruising altitude and then moves. It never hurts to ask (Segal does), but flight attendants can’t police every seat in economy class, so if you see an empty seat within your class of service, you have my permission to claim it.

Contributing: Anika Reed

First class for free? Try these innovative tactics to get an airline upgrade

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