George Hobica, USA Today’s “Fly Guy”, suggests that the way you dress may lead to a first class upgrade. He relates stories of being upgraded when he was wearing a nice suit and tie.
I have a story that suggests it’s not so much about being well dressed as it is about being adorable. Several years ago, Tom and I took a vacation to London and Paris. We flew out of Minneapolis on Northwest Airlines on the evening flight on Christmas Day (Northwest offered daily service to London back in the day). We arrived to the airport early, and we were adjusting our carryon luggage so we could access the things we would need during the flight, my book, our meds, and our stuffed pigs. I’m not sure whether it was just that we had that married couple “cute” vibe going on, or if the gate agent was a fan of stuffed pigs. About 30 minutes into our wait, the gate agent approached us with two new boarding passes and said “Merry Christmas!” We couldn’t believe it. We’d been upgraded!
It definitely wasn’t because we were dressed well. We weren’t. Our luggage was worn. We hadn’t had an opportunity to interact with the gate agent, since we used automated check-in. I don’t even know how they knew who we were!
But there you have it.
Would I wear a suit to get an upgrade? I don’t know. I may try it just to see what happens, since Tom and I are definitely in steerage on our next vacation.