business class emirates blog

I was in the boarding area waiting for my flight when an airport announcement suddenly called out my FULL NAME and was asked to approach any Emirates crew.

OMG. What have I done??!

I quickly went to the Emirates booth in the boarding area thinking of any possible problem regarding my flight. Whatever it is, I should settle it immediately or else I’m gonna miss my flight!

There was a short queue of travelers and I was fifth in line. They were probably called out as well, I thought. The airport was so busy at that time and I couldn’t clearly hear what the staff was saying. The person before me handed his boarding pass to the Emirates Crew. I tried to get really close to hear what’s going on. The Emirates crew gave him a new boarding pass. While smiling with their signature bright red lipstick, she said the magic words “Here’s your new boarding pass, you have been upgraded to Business Class.”

business class emirates blog

Gone are the days when you can ask an airline staff for an upgrade because it’s your birthday or you’re pregnant with your tenth baby. Although it doesn’t hurt to try! To make things easier, I’ve summarized the real juice on how to get a business class upgrade without asking! These tips are based on my own experience while having been upgraded to Business Class more than once!

The economy seats are overbooked

With huge airlines like Emirates, you wouldn’t think that they would overbook because of a glitch in their booking system, right? Well, I do think it is intentional to have their economy seats overbooked. Then upgrade some of the passengers to fill in the vacancy in Business Class. Simply because not everyone will pay the premium to fly Business Class. And the aircraft would still fly even there are vacancies, so better to have it fully occupied at a discounted price. It’s a win-win situation!

I was travelling solo

There may probably be one or two vacant seats in Business Class. You get a higher chance of being upgraded when you are travelling solo instead of flying with a group. I have flown with Emirates alot of times before with my parents or sometimes with just my mom and we never got an upgrade. It was only during my solo travels I was able to score an upgrade. My dad also received an upgrade to Business Class when he flew alone.

Member of Frequent Flyer Program

The first time I got a free upgrade, I wasn’t even a member of Emirates Skywards. I would assume it was pure luck although I was travelling solo. It was only after that unforgettable experience I signed up for their frequent flyrer program. During the second time I received an upgrade, I asked one of the staff the reason why I was upgraded. The staff told me that selection of passenger for the upgrade is based on the frequent flyer program points system. Note that my membership was Blue Skywards, the lowest among all the categories.

I had a long layover

Spending 6 hours or more in a layover might just be one of the reasons to get an upgrade. It happened to me, it could happen to you too!


Believe me. I was wearing a $10 shirt from H&M when I first got an upgrade. Whenever I travel, I make sure to wear something a bit loose to feel more comfortable in the economy seat. Had I known I was being upgraded, I would definitely wear something  nicer. One time, I was seated close to one of the most notable Senators in the Philippines and the passengers around me were in suits. I did definitely feel I was in Business Class.

My ticket is ‘Flexible’

This might be the biggest tip I could give you. Type of fare is something I never thought I should consider as long as I’m being loyal to an airline company. When booking online, you see the ticket options with terms like, Saver, Flexi, Flexi Saver, Ultimate Flex (if there’s such thing) and so on. Terms vary from airline companies. The thing is, buy a ticket that gives you flexibility. Having a flexible ticket may cost a bit more, but it allows you to change flight details with minimum fee or sometimes no additional charge at all. Plus, the airline company can easily upgrade your seat to Business Class in their system because it’s…flexible. Whereas, if you purchase a Basic or Saver Fare, all details are fixed and the airline staff won’t be able to move you up in their system.

Have you ever got an upgrade? If yes, we’d love to hear your tips and experience in the comment section below!

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business class emirates blog

business class emirates blog

business class emirates blog

business class emirates blog

business class emirates blog



  1. November 3, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    oh I wish! as it happens I have travelled business class on Emirates with a press trip – it was bliss! I will try your tips, but so far it’s never happened to me!

  2. November 4, 2018 / 2:07 pm

    What a great treat to get upgraded to Business Class. Especially when flying Emirates. I agree that a solo passenger has a greater chance. It is a bit like hotel upgrades. You will get a much greater one if you are only staying for one night! Glad to know that your dress does not seem to impact your upgrade potential. I dress ok when I travel. But definitely not dressed up! I would have to think about buying a flexible ticket though. Often the price increase is not worth it unless we really need the flexibility. Thanks for sharing your experience with Business Class upgrades!

  3. November 4, 2018 / 2:25 pm

    That’s a bummer then because I always travel with my husband!

  4. November 5, 2018 / 6:10 pm

    Good tip re the flex fares – I’d never thought of it like that! My sister used to be ground-crew for an airline, and she used to joke that they would upgrade based on the persons shoes! Which means I have no hope, as I always wear sneakers! My mom has been upgraded by flying solo, so I think that’s the biggest drawcard!

  5. November 6, 2018 / 1:45 am

    Great tips…gonna have to try them on my next flight. The biggest issue I can already see for me is the idea of traveling solo. I don’t travel solo, so I guess that eliminates my chances. The flexible ticket is a great idea. Something to keep in mind. Love how pampered you got on Emirates. Great pictures.

  6. November 6, 2018 / 3:45 am

    I have never been upgraded, i have never asked either. But i do travel solo often. Great tip to purchase a flexible ticket, it never occurred to me that would impact upgrades

  7. November 6, 2018 / 6:01 am

    Lucky you! This never happens to me. Every time I’m flying solo and the flight is overbooked, I hope I will get upgraded. Does not happen. The business class in Emirates looks amazing and the food of course!

  8. November 6, 2018 / 5:16 pm

    You were super lucky to get a business class upgrade on Emirates! It’s my favorite of all the airlines and even flying economy class is just a superior experience to most other airlines.

    I have been upgraded to business and most recently on a 12 hour flight from China to Paris. Having the lay flat seat definitely made that experience much better than had I been in economy.

  9. November 6, 2018 / 7:00 pm

    Lucky you! This never ever happened to me. I am flying solo sometimes and I travel with my husband with Emirates. Never ever I got lucky πŸ™‚ you should add another tip, be lucky πŸ™‚ I hope you get lucky in every flight πŸ™‚

  10. November 7, 2018 / 12:42 am

    I have gotten upgrades for being elite frequent flyer. I have also had upgrades flying with business tickets since they were purchased at a higher price point. One hint for corporate travelers is that my last company always offered preferred seating if you booked the ticket right. This should lead to more upgrades.

    Of course, it’s a big score to get upgraded with a long layover because you might get lounge access too.

  11. November 10, 2018 / 3:15 am

    I have not yet been lucky to get an upgrade and now after listening to this story, I think I need to take a few tips. Maybe then I can get a little treat. Fingers crossed for my next trip.

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