There are a few common questions thrown my way, probably the most common one is “do you need an assistant to check out all the resorts for you?”

This is closely followed by “can you get me an upgrade?”

My stock answer used to be if you want first class then pay for it. Unfortunately you can’t even guarantee first class when you’ve paid for it anymore. You could get bumped because of some big shot.

Airlines rarely give upgrades anymore, even to their most frequent fliers. So a once-a-year annual holidaymaker has no chance. But you can try to stack the deck in your favour. Of course all these will work better if you travel alone. Space for one is a lot easier than for a family of 4.

1. Get those frequent flier points up.
Topping up your points once a year will take forever. So you could use an airline’s branded credit card, or even better, get people to ‘gift’ you their points. You can find people on auction websites, (yes, eBay) selling off their upgrade certificates. Buyer beware and all that, but try searching for ‘upgrade certificate flight’

2. School Holidays
The feeling behind this one is that less business trips are taken during peak school holiday season. Of course, only really handy if you are flying to business hubs, don’t expect to be able to get a cheap flat bed when flying to the Caribbean.

3. Fly Weird Airlines
Try a less popular airline (check their safety record first!). Also check out the reviews, will it really be worth the drop in quality for a slightly larger seat?

4. Buy a Package
Tour operators and travel agents have access to special fares (IT(X)) that have to be sold with a hotel or other ground element. Not much help if you’re staying at your Aunt Flo’s, but if you need a hotel room anyway an agent could be cheaper than a spot of internet DIY.
5. A Last Minute Try
Before you check in, walk up to the ticket deck and just ask if they have any posh seats left, and just ask how much.

Oh, and by the way, I don’t need any assistants at the moment…