Let's face it: flying coach isn't exactly world-class travel. Of course, we all have to budget and it's not always practical to snag a first class ticket… especially on longer flights where you'd most like to sit first class, like to Hawaii or Asia. If you've never been bumped up to first class for free at the last minute, you've been missing out. Here's how to go about maximizing your chances of flying in luxury without paying an extra dime.

Dress to Impress

If you've ever heard the adage that you should dress for the job you want rather than the job you have, it applies to travel as well. You don't need to get done up in your Sunday's best, but keep it smart and tidy for a better chance of getting a bump up to first class.

Arrive Early & Smile Real Nice

It's a good habit to arrive early to your flight regardless, but when you're angling for a last-minute upgrade, even more so. The early bird gets the undersold first class ticket, after all!

And when you do show up, ask a flight attendant or agent at your gate if they have any upgrades available. Sometimes all it takes is a simple request and a smile. (But don't get too cheeky.)

Check Your Seat for Problems

As soon as you get to your assigned seat on board, check to make sure everything works as it should. Seat recliner? How about seatbelt? Fan? Tray table? If you're lucky enough to find something that's not up to snuff, there's a good chance you'll have a seat change—and that change could bump you up to first class.

Party Like It's Your Birthday

Well, not too hard. But if it is a special occasion, let a flight attendant know. If they do have any upgrades available, there's a good chance they'll take the opportunity to bump you up. And even if they don't, you might get a free drink or some extra peanuts out of it.

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