What Are Operational Upgrades On Flights?

What Are Operational Upgrades On Flights?

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There are all kinds of ways to score a first or business class seat, aside from outright paying for it (either with cash or miles). Often you can use miles or upgrade instruments to secure a premium seat, while in other situations airlines offer complimentary upgrades to elite members.

There’s one other type of upgrade I don’t often talk about, which is arguably the most enjoyable kind of upgrade to get. Specifically, I’m talking about operational upgrades (often referred to as “op-ups”). In this post I wanted to explain what that is in a bit more detail, and talk about how you can get one of these.

The basics of operational upgrades

As you may have guessed based on the name, an operational upgrade is when you’re upgraded on a flight for operational reasons. This would be in situations where there’s no one left on the upgrade list, yet the airline still needs to move people forward to first or business class.

The most common reason for this is because airlines oversell flights. An airline may be willing to oversell economy by a significant number of seats, if the airline knows that there are a lot of empty first & business class seats on the plane. After all, the airline would rather have some revenue for a seat than no revenue.

This is especially common among the Gulf carriers, where some routes have very strong demand in economy, but weak demand in premium cabins. So it could be that an airline oversells economy by 50 seats. There’s usually going to be some number of passengers who don’t show up or misconnect, and then any remaining passengers could be moved up to first or business class, pending availability.

There are some other potential reasons you may see operational upgrades, including:

  • Sometimes people need to be moved around for weight and balance reasons; this is pretty rare on large aircraft, though
  • It could be that a seat is inoperable at the last minute and there are no remaining economy seats, so someone needs to be moved up so that the seat isn’t used
Operational upgrades are pretty common on Gulf carriers

How you can score an operational upgrade

While it’s nice to get an upgrade when you’re on the upgrade waitlist, it’s even nicer to get an operational upgrade, since it’s not something you’re usually expecting. The first thing to understand is that operational upgrades are generally only offered after everyone has been cleared off the upgrade list.

It’s very rare to see operational upgrades on domestic flights within the United States, since typically you have a lot of elite members on the space available upgrade list (the exception is American’s three cabin A321TS, which fly premium transcontinental routes).

Operational upgrades are common on American A321Ts

So, how do you score an operational upgrade? No, it’s probably not going to be because you dress nice, or because you utter the words “revenue management.”

Rather most airlines have very clear procedures in place for operational upgrades. While the policy varies by airline, generally speaking:

  • Operational upgrades are prioritized by elite status and/or the fare type booked
  • Some airlines go purely by elite status, while others will upgrade a full fare non-elite economy passenger ahead of an elite member
  • While it sometimes happen, you can generally expect that airlines avoid double upgrading people; in other words, if you already upgraded from economy to business class, you’d be unlikely to be near the top of the operational upgrade list for first class
  • In rare cases, operational upgrades might not follow this process — it could be that the person who checks in last gets an upgrade (because everyone else has already been assigned a seat), or it could be that you’re just at the right place at the right time, but it’s not something you want to count on (so no, don’t follow the TikTok advice that the key to getting a free upgrade is to check-in last without an assigned seat, because you’ll most likely just end up in a middle seat at the back of the plane)

As far as the timing for operational upgrades goes, it all depends on the airline and exact situation. Most commonly, operational upgrades happen at the gate shortly before departure. However, they can in some cases also happen at check-in, depending on just how oversold the flight is.

Operational upgrades most commonly happen at the gate

Bottom line

There’s a real satisfaction to getting an operational upgrade, whereby your seat on a flight is upgraded for operational reasons. This is most commonly when the cabin you’re flying in is oversold, and the airline has empty seats in a premium cabin.

Never count on an operational upgrade, though if you have elite status and/or paid a high fare, and if economy is oversold but a premium cabin is empty with no one on the upgrade list, you probably have good odds of scoring one of these.

Have you ever gotten an operational upgrade? If so, what was your experience like?

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  1. Nman Guest

    I flew to Mumbai with British Airways in Business Class. On the return flight, the plane was changed and the seating configuration changed. I was in seat 2A, which on the new plane was First Class, so I was automatically upgraded.

  2. Ryan R Guest

    Before the pandemic I got upgraded randomly on Swiss from ZRH to EWR from economy to business. It was an economy oversold situation. I have no idea why they picked me though -- I have no Star Alliance status and I already had an assigned economy seat. I didn't find out until they scanned my boarding pass (and I was among the last to board).

  3. John Guest

    On a Lufthansa A380 flight from Frankfurt to Shanghai, I had been trying to use United miles to upgrade, but the upgrade never cleared. However, when I checked in, they moved me upstairs to business since economy was oversold. So I got the upgrade anyway and kept my miles.

  4. Kyle Guest

    AA Platinum. Partner and I were upgraded a few days ago at the gate while scanning boarding pass on FJ flight AKL-NAN. They reprinted boarding passes for business class. Pleasant surprise.

  5. AE Guest

    I almost always get upgraded (80% success rate) on Qatar flying in and out of LHE (Lahore) to YUL via DOH, have no status.

    1. Sam Guest

      You get upgraded from economy to business? On both legs? Dang - what's your secret! Checking in early/late?

  6. EN Guest

    Surprisingly, I got a few opups last year on European airlines flying around Europe. My status is with UA so maybe my *G helped or it was just random. They were mostly short flights (1-2hrs) and "First Class" is just an economy seat in the front and Maybe no one next to you. I still got a decent meal on a tray though.
    My parents for an op up on ORD-LHR on BA once. In one year, they got ORD-PEK, HKG-SIN on UA and YYZ-ORD on AC. Nothing else for years

  7. Tanaka Guest

    My dad is a lifetime Gold card member on BA. While travelling with him, I received my first upgrade ever from J to F on BA 217 from LHR to IAD. That same summer, the entire family was "double upgraded" twice from Y to J (instead of premium economy) and once from Y to Y+. Interestingly, all the double upgrades were on flights originating in London (LHR-IAD & LHR-HRE).

  8. Austin787 New Member

    My op-up experiences. All have come on American 777-200ER, back when these aircraft were 3 class with angled seats in business. And all have come on Christmas Day or New Years Day.
    1) DFW-LHR, economy to business
    2) CDG-DFW. Booked economy, then used miles + copay to upgrade to business. On day of flight, op-up to first.
    3) BCN-MIA, business to first.

    1. JasonF Guest

      I had success on AC twice (YVR-NRT and YYZ-MUC) - had lowest Aeroplan Elite status (before they introduced Y+). Both cases I went to the gate 15 min before boarding and asked if there were any aisle or window seats closer to the front (of Y). Both times they asked if I was travelling alone - confirmed I was - and a new J class BP was issued.

  9. IrishAlan Member

    For years I’ve had a policy of being proactively nice to gate agents and asking them how they are, bemoaning all the nasty people they’ve had to deal with that day etc. most of the time it is just good karma. Sometimes it pays off!

    We were at LAX a few years ago and after flying in from SYD were tired so happily volunteered to be bumped off our flight to IAD for several hundred...

    For years I’ve had a policy of being proactively nice to gate agents and asking them how they are, bemoaning all the nasty people they’ve had to deal with that day etc. most of the time it is just good karma. Sometimes it pays off!

    We were at LAX a few years ago and after flying in from SYD were tired so happily volunteered to be bumped off our flight to IAD for several hundred dollars in UA vouchers. The gate agent ensured she got us the best possible hotel at LAX overnight and extra vouchers for their restaurant. It was only the next morning I noticed that while our seat selection was in Y she had reticketed us in J class. This was an internationally configured 767. I pointed out to an agent before boarding that we were ticketed in J and there were open seats in J and asked if we could please have 2. They said yes and we got our transcon flight in flat beds!

    1. EN Guest

      For a VDB, I usually just ask for the upgrade along with which flight I want, hotel, vouchers, taxi fare, etc prior to accepting. You're basically negotiating and they generally say Yes. Of course I've never done this in an intl flight so maybe it's harder but if always ask first. But none of this is related to opups. Actually, I'm not sure is a VDB would be considered an op up.

    2. Stannis Guest

      Would love a post on gaming VDB opportunities. Come on Lucky, the statute of limitations must have run out by now?

    3. Ryan R Guest

      When I flew Lufthansa MUC-EWR a few years ago, they were looking for volunteers to go the next day. I asked if I could be upgraded to business if I offer to go the next day, and she said absolutely not.

  10. frnklw Guest

    Was flying from ORD to BKK on American through LHR about 20 years ago, I guess. Flight delays and oversold put me on standby. After almost complete boarding, I heard my name called along with another. I was moving up to the desk when I got "bumped" out of position by a woman behind me. She got to the gate ahead of me where the attendant said there was only one ticket left, so the...

    Was flying from ORD to BKK on American through LHR about 20 years ago, I guess. Flight delays and oversold put me on standby. After almost complete boarding, I heard my name called along with another. I was moving up to the desk when I got "bumped" out of position by a woman behind me. She got to the gate ahead of me where the attendant said there was only one ticket left, so the woman turned and smirked at me with this air of smug satisfaction. When I got to the attendant, who had watched the whole situation, she said "We have no economy seats so I guess you have to fly business", much to the disappointment of the woman in front of me. I still do not know why, but I was upgraded to first on the flight from LHR to BKK and what impressed me, a serial economy flyer with no status, was the food was so good and served on china instead of plastic.

    I might have had gold status on AA about 15 years ago when I got two OpUps on a Cathay flight from Vancouver to HKG and again on the return. It worked! Since then I have flown the last 15 years in Business on Cathay and wouldn't want it any other way.

  11. George N Romey Guest

    Since AA moved away from stickers operational upgrades are basically a thing of the past on AA. Since the system auto submits all elites no one will be sitting in coach by choice. It used to be a nice benefit years ago when I was a PLT. Numerous times the GA would come onboard with a BP for F with my name on it.

    The only operational upgrades that might occur today are on RJs for weight and balance.

    1. George N Romey Guest

      BTW this is for domestic flights only. Might happen on occasion for International although I imagine there are few empty premium seats.

  12. JEC Guest

    One time when I was in college I flew from my then-home airport of Rhinelander (RHI) to Boston to go back to school, connecting at MSP, with a brief stop at EAU to pick up more passengers en route to MSP. My sister was also going to Boston, but she had to travel CWA-MSP-BOS, taking the MSP-BOS flight after mine.

    The RHI-EAU-MSP leg was delayed due to fog in EAU, so I missed my...

    One time when I was in college I flew from my then-home airport of Rhinelander (RHI) to Boston to go back to school, connecting at MSP, with a brief stop at EAU to pick up more passengers en route to MSP. My sister was also going to Boston, but she had to travel CWA-MSP-BOS, taking the MSP-BOS flight after mine.

    The RHI-EAU-MSP leg was delayed due to fog in EAU, so I missed my connecting flight to BOS. I was put on the next flight to Boston (my sister's flight) and given an operational upgrade (by coincidence half the RHI flight was heading to Boston). My sister was surprised to see me at MSP since I was supposed to leave on the earlier flight. She had forgotten her cell phone and needed to call someone after she landed in Boston. I told her I would wait for her after deplaning and she could use mine. She asked, "How do you know I won't be off the plane first?" And I smugly said, "Because I'm seat 1A."

  13. tebriggs New Member

    I’ve had two OpUp experiences. One normal, one that completely relied on my actions in the moment.

    1. Coming home from business in London on a Saturday morning departure in the summer. They’d clearly oversold economy as I (and every Delta status member on the flight) got bumped to business the night before the flight.

    2. Coming home from Shanghai. First row economy on a Delta 747. Empty seat between me and another...

    I’ve had two OpUp experiences. One normal, one that completely relied on my actions in the moment.

    1. Coming home from business in London on a Saturday morning departure in the summer. They’d clearly oversold economy as I (and every Delta status member on the flight) got bumped to business the night before the flight.

    2. Coming home from Shanghai. First row economy on a Delta 747. Empty seat between me and another US-based traveler. An older Chinese woman came to the empty seat with a 1-year old and was clearly concerned. The Chinese-speaking FA had her sit while they dealt with whatever the issue was. I figured I’d make the best of it and started smiling with the baby and letting him play with my finger. The other US traveler started loudly telling us all that he wasn’t about to spend 14 hours next to a 1-year old lap child. Within a minute the purser asked (loudly) for me to get my things and that they’d make room for the baby by putting me in business. Being nice is just the right thing to do anyway, but it paid off here very handsomely.

  14. Sam Guest

    My first ever experience of international long haul business class was thanks to an op-up.

    After a flight from London to Doha I was having my (cheap economy) boarding pass scanned at the gate area for my onward flight to Seoul when there was a beep, I was printed a new boarding pass and was told something like in order to accommodate a family sitting together my seat had been moved. I asked whether I...

    My first ever experience of international long haul business class was thanks to an op-up.

    After a flight from London to Doha I was having my (cheap economy) boarding pass scanned at the gate area for my onward flight to Seoul when there was a beep, I was printed a new boarding pass and was told something like in order to accommodate a family sitting together my seat had been moved. I asked whether I still had my precious window seat and it was only then I realized I was being upgraded (and still kept a window seat!).

    I had no kind of status and don't really understand how these things work but can only assume it was just blind luck - I happened to be in a seat they wanted for someone else and the easiest option was just to upgrade me.

    Would love to know what I could do to increase chances in future, but am just happy for it to have happened once in my flying career.

  15. Srini A Guest

    I've gotten such upgrades from Emirates.. It's an amazing feeling when you get upgraded on a 16 hour flight. This was back in the day when I was younger and flew coach. I traveled alone and I don't know if this has something to do with it but it was when I was connecting and was rushing to the gate and was among the last to board.

  16. Eric Guest

    Used to travel to Taiwan from Fort Lauderdale using one of the finest airlines in the world, Singapore Air. I and 2 other engineers would rotate with a 2 week assignment and go home for 4 weeks, and always Business Class so we were valued customers. On a return flight I got to the counter when it was just opening. The lady at the counter said, "I am so sorry (my name). Please accept our...

    Used to travel to Taiwan from Fort Lauderdale using one of the finest airlines in the world, Singapore Air. I and 2 other engineers would rotate with a 2 week assignment and go home for 4 weeks, and always Business Class so we were valued customers. On a return flight I got to the counter when it was just opening. The lady at the counter said, "I am so sorry (my name). Please accept our apologies. But would you mind flying in First Class instead of Business Class". Obviously oversold Business. Most airlines, you are in Coach at that point. Not Singapore Air. And they apologized??? Almost fell down laughing.

  17. Jim Guest

    I've been "involuntarily upgraded" a few times on DL JFK-ACC. It was attributed to a combination of need for economy seats, elite status, and that I hadn't already boarded when they were looking for someone to bump up. Rushing onto the plane isn't just silly, it's bad for perks! Haha

  18. DENDAVE Member

    I think being a solo traveler is another key, eluded to in other comments. I've had multiple upgrades due to economy being overbooked, but only when traveling alone (and no status at that time with those airlines). Once, a friend and I were traveling together, paid to select seats together, but had booked our tickets individually. We both got upgraded and I'm pretty certain they didn't know we were traveling together until we both came...

    I think being a solo traveler is another key, eluded to in other comments. I've had multiple upgrades due to economy being overbooked, but only when traveling alone (and no status at that time with those airlines). Once, a friend and I were traveling together, paid to select seats together, but had booked our tickets individually. We both got upgraded and I'm pretty certain they didn't know we were traveling together until we both came up together when called in the gate area.

  19. JB Guest

    I flew Qatar Airways in late September from Miami to Islamabad, Pakistan (ISB) through DOH. I got an Op-Up to Business on their 77W on the DOH-ISB leg.

    I'm 18 and this was my first solo international trip. I have AA Gold status (OW Ruby), which is the lowest, so I was not expecting this to say the least. I was at the gate and one of the last remaining passengers to board....

    I flew Qatar Airways in late September from Miami to Islamabad, Pakistan (ISB) through DOH. I got an Op-Up to Business on their 77W on the DOH-ISB leg.

    I'm 18 and this was my first solo international trip. I have AA Gold status (OW Ruby), which is the lowest, so I was not expecting this to say the least. I was at the gate and one of the last remaining passengers to board. I was extremely exhausted having been awake for the past 24hrs. As the agent scanned my boarding pass, an alarm went off. I was extremely tired so I didn't think much of it. But then the agent said the magic words, "you've been upgraded to business class". Economy was way oversold, and the flight ended up going out full in all cabins. I said thank you, too tired to fully comprehend it. But then I suddenly asked the agent if there were any window seats available. She responded, "you just got upgraded to business, I can give you back your economy window seat if you really want it" (In a jokingly sarcastic manner). I laughed and said "no thank you". She looked but there was only an aisle seat available. It was one of QR's 777-300ERs with their old business class. But I'm not complaining. It was amazing for the 3hr flight. And this was the exact aircraft I first flew QR J in 4 years ago (A7-BAB in the OW livery)! The guy ahead of me in the line also got upgraded, so there were quite a few people this happened to. And this is pretty common on the Gulf Carriers flights to Pakistan. It's just that I've always traveled with my family, so it's rare that they upgrade 4 people (since they might not have seats all together).

  20. Daniel Guest

    10 years as a Delta DM and I've only gotten one op-up--rerouted due to IROPS (mechanical) and lost my Comfort+ seat on DTW-AMS. Asked agent at MSP if they had anything blocked/unassigned in C+ and she said "you're a Diamond with IROPS? I'm going to make your day," printed out a DeltaOne boarding pass and said "we had to move up a Diamond anyway--IROPS wins!"

  21. Ben Guest

    When I was 4 or 5, my mom got an operational upgrade on Kuwait Airways. She was nursing my little brother and dealing with me and I suspect the gate agents took pity on her. Oh the days when agents had more discretion!

  22. Brian Guest

    I have received operational upgrades on Cathay Pacific three times when booking Premium Economy connecting to Shanghai on an airplane that didn't have PE. Was a nice surprise when checking in. This was pre-2020 so don't know how it would go nowadays.

  23. Jana Guest

    Happened to me many years ago when I had a very cheap paid business class fare on British Air with my husband. I was Platinum Executive with AA at the time while my husband had no status. While trying to board, my pass wouldn't work and was told to wait for a reissued boarding pass. Much to my surprise and delight both of us were upgraded to first.

  24. John Guest

    I was once in line at the gate to speak to an agent before boarding a United flight. Lady in front of me was incensed that the agent would not give her a complimentary upgrade reason was because her status had expired the week before. She was adamant about the upgrade and was not very nice to the agent. No upgrade for her. She moved aside to the left, still at the desk, repacking her...

    I was once in line at the gate to speak to an agent before boarding a United flight. Lady in front of me was incensed that the agent would not give her a complimentary upgrade reason was because her status had expired the week before. She was adamant about the upgrade and was not very nice to the agent. No upgrade for her. She moved aside to the left, still at the desk, repacking her purse.

    I stepped up and said good morning to the agent. Agent said loudly "Do you mind if we move your seat? We are kind of full in the back and I was wondering if you would mind sitting in Row 2 instead."

  25. Omar Guest

    Some of the more common carriers to op-up that I've heard of anecdotally are Iberia, Emirates, and Turkish.

    1. VladG Member

      All carriers op-up when overbooked. The only difference between airlines is what criteria they use to select the passengers.

  26. Andy Diamond

    I think operational upgrades have become less frequent because Business Class is usually very well booked. I usually check the booking situation one day before a flight and very often all Business fare buckets are 0 (e.,g.: J0C0D0R0IO) whereas Economy is not full yet (e.g.: Y9B9M4H2L0).

  27. Daniel Guest

    I guess it also helps not to order any special meal, as that will already be prepared for you in your assigned class.
    At least that's what I expect, or would they still serve you your Economy meal in Business? Never had an upgrade myself yet, so anyone with more insight might clarify.

  28. beachmouse Member

    There are also very rare occasions where someone has fallen so far down the service recovery rabbit hole that their ticket gets flagged as ‘put this person into any available seat regardless of cabin or fare class to get them to their ultimate destination’. I got talking to ones of those folks once when she had spent multiple extra unplanned days in IIRC, Indonesia because of airline issues and ended up getting put into premium cabin space to get her home.

  29. Guest Guest

    I once received an op upgrade LAX-SMF on AA because they oversold coach. I was told I was given the upgrade because I was an AA credit card holder. I appreciated it!

  30. Nicks__adventure Guest

    EK A380, Shanghai to Dubai, gate upgrade to business from a dirt cheap economy ticket. No EK status and barely any EK flights in the previous year. Cabin crew knew I was upgraded and advised me to make sure I enjoyed the bar and the service. Which I did! Guess that was just luck and being a single passenger!

  31. STR Flyer Guest

    I’ve been the lucky one in 2022 by getting 3 operational upgrades. Reason for the upgrades seem to be in line what you describe: I hold Miles&More Senator status equivalent to Star Alliance Gold, all flights were on Star Alliance carriers, two were overbooked and in one case my assigned seat was broken.
    First upgrade happened on a Turkish Airlines flight from Stuttgart to Istanbul. After I had taken my seat in Y and...

    I’ve been the lucky one in 2022 by getting 3 operational upgrades. Reason for the upgrades seem to be in line what you describe: I hold Miles&More Senator status equivalent to Star Alliance Gold, all flights were on Star Alliance carriers, two were overbooked and in one case my assigned seat was broken.
    First upgrade happened on a Turkish Airlines flight from Stuttgart to Istanbul. After I had taken my seat in Y and boarding was almost completed, the gate agent approached me with new boarding pass and told me I got upgraded. Flight seemed full in Economy. Nice one, as TK has a „real“ business class on their narrowbody fleet in Europe.
    Second upgrade was during boarding for a Swiss Air flight from Sao Paulo to Zurich. I was booked in Business Class, but the boarding pass scanner turned red and indicated „issue with seat“. Smiling Agent handed me a prepared first class boarding pass in the silver cover. Felt like winning the jackpot to get upgraded to first on this 12h flight. Flight was completely booked, eben in first, not sure if there were more upgrades
    Third ugrade I got on Swiss too, flying from Valencia to Zurich. Boarding pass scanner turned red again and I got a new boarding pass for Business Class. Flight was overbooked in Economy. Except enjoying an empty seat next to me, the experience on this intra-european flight was nothing to write home about.

  32. A380 flyer Guest

    Also if you book premium economy you have a better shot since it's a relatively small cabin and can often be oversold.

    BA does this quite a bit. Some companies only let their flyers book premium economy especially east coast to London. So they oversell the heck out of it then upgrade elites to Club World

    1. Ralph4878 Guest

      Yep!
      Got three op-ups between LHR and IAD pre-pandemic...booked cheap Y then did discounted paid upgrades to PE online a few days out...at check-in, found I had been bumped up to J. Always on an A380 to backward-facing seats; twice out of LHR, once out of IAD...always used my Alaska Mileage Plan number on the booking (booked directly on BA's website), and this was before they were in One World, so had nothing to do with BA status on fare bucket...

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tebriggs New Member

I’ve had two OpUp experiences. One normal, one that completely relied on my actions in the moment. 1. Coming home from business in London on a Saturday morning departure in the summer. They’d clearly oversold economy as I (and every Delta status member on the flight) got bumped to business the night before the flight. 2. Coming home from Shanghai. First row economy on a Delta 747. Empty seat between me and another US-based traveler. An older Chinese woman came to the empty seat with a 1-year old and was clearly concerned. The Chinese-speaking FA had her sit while they dealt with whatever the issue was. I figured I’d make the best of it and started smiling with the baby and letting him play with my finger. The other US traveler started loudly telling us all that he wasn’t about to spend 14 hours next to a 1-year old lap child. Within a minute the purser asked (loudly) for me to get my things and that they’d make room for the baby by putting me in business. Being nice is just the right thing to do anyway, but it paid off here very handsomely.

3
JB Guest

I flew Qatar Airways in late September from Miami to Islamabad, Pakistan (ISB) through DOH. I got an Op-Up to Business on their 77W on the DOH-ISB leg. I'm 18 and this was my first solo international trip. I have AA Gold status (OW Ruby), which is the lowest, so I was not expecting this to say the least. I was at the gate and one of the last remaining passengers to board. I was extremely exhausted having been awake for the past 24hrs. As the agent scanned my boarding pass, an alarm went off. I was extremely tired so I didn't think much of it. But then the agent said the magic words, "you've been upgraded to business class". Economy was way oversold, and the flight ended up going out full in all cabins. I said thank you, too tired to fully comprehend it. But then I suddenly asked the agent if there were any window seats available. She responded, "you just got upgraded to business, I can give you back your economy window seat if you really want it" (In a jokingly sarcastic manner). I laughed and said "no thank you". She looked but there was only an aisle seat available. It was one of QR's 777-300ERs with their old business class. But I'm not complaining. It was amazing for the 3hr flight. And this was the exact aircraft I first flew QR J in 4 years ago (A7-BAB in the OW livery)! The guy ahead of me in the line also got upgraded, so there were quite a few people this happened to. And this is pretty common on the Gulf Carriers flights to Pakistan. It's just that I've always traveled with my family, so it's rare that they upgrade 4 people (since they might not have seats all together).

2
John Guest

I was once in line at the gate to speak to an agent before boarding a United flight. Lady in front of me was incensed that the agent would not give her a complimentary upgrade reason was because her status had expired the week before. She was adamant about the upgrade and was not very nice to the agent. No upgrade for her. She moved aside to the left, still at the desk, repacking her purse. I stepped up and said good morning to the agent. Agent said loudly "Do you mind if we move your seat? We are kind of full in the back and I was wondering if you would mind sitting in Row 2 instead."

2
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