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Sure, you saved a boatload by booking a seat in coach—but what if you could have flown first class for free? Here, five ways to sweet talk move your way to the front of the plane.

RELATED: Why You Might Save Money by Flying First Class

first class plane bridesmaids
Universal Pictures

Avoid Flights That Take Off During “Business” Hours

For example, the 6:30 a.m. shuttle from Logan to LaGuardia. Here’s why: Flights that are frequently traveled by the business set (ahem, the ones on their way to work) tend to have the most competition for premium seats. A better plan for scoring a first-class upgrade? If you have travel flexibility, opt for a flight that takes off midday.

first class upgrades catchme

And Do Everything You Can to Prove Airline Loyalty

You love JetBlue, but if you haven’t enrolled in its frequent flier program—or better yet, signed up for a credit card—you could be shortchanging yourself a first-class (in this case, JetBlue Mint) upgrade. After all, gate attendants tune into these “status” symbols when you make an upgrade request. If you have physical evidence (like a branded credit card or rewards email in your inbox) of your devotion, your odds of getting a free first-class bump dramatically improve.

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Always (Always) Dress to Impress

If you look like you just rolled out of bed, gate attendants are much less likely to plunk you down next to Oprah (or some other VIP seatmate). Take a shower. Blow your hair out. Even if you’re wearing leggings, you can still look like you put some effort in. 

RELATED: Celebrity-Approved Airport Style You Might Want to Try

first class broad city
Comedy Central

Use an App to Keep Tabs on Seat Availability

Knowledge is power. Seat Alerts is an app that allows you to keep tabs on seat availability and occupancy for flights on over 120 airlines. That way, you’ll know when there are a bunch of empty seats still left in first class and can use that info to your advantage when you step up to request a free upgrade.

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Ask Nicely

Sure, it may sound like basic advice. But treating the gate attendant with respect and showing appreciation when they try to help you out can go a long way. 

RELATED: 12 Ways to Make Your Plane Ride More Comfortable

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