I’m a flight attendant — why showing up late could be a win

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By Dan Sears

These upgrade hacks with make your spirits soar.

A former flight attendant has revealed the lesser-known tricks for securing a seat upgrade on a flight, which include the perfect day to travel and airport arrival time.

Kamila Jakubjakova, who worked on Emirates flights for years, offered some questionable advice to The Sun, encouraging travelers to arrive late to the airport.

“Sometimes, airlines oversell tickets and don’t expect everybody to show up,” she dished.

“So if the flight is overbooked, and everyone shows up, they’ll have to move economy passengers into business class, and maybe the last passengers who come to check in for the flight will be chosen, as they’re the extra ones.”

She also recommended hitting the skies on your birthday, one of the only times flyers might get lucky — to land a free upgrade.


Kamila Jakubjakova
Jakubjakova, a former flight attendant, has revealed the ultimate upgrade hacks.
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Kamila Jakubjakova with waterfall in background
Jakubjakova advised flyers to arrive to flights late and boast birthdays or honeymoons to staff.
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“It’s pretty random how it’s chosen,” she said, “but if somebody has a birthday, they might get it!”

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Honeymooners, she added, also have a better chance at snagging a treat — if not an upgrade, at least a celebratory glass of bubbly.

“If I saw honeymooners, I would bring them some extra treats from business class — like, for example, a dessert or a glass of champagne, and try to make their flight more special, even if they’re flying economy,” she said.

“So if somebody has a special occasion, make sure you tell the flight attendants.”


Kamila posing for a photo
While free upgrades are chosen at “random,” someone with a birthday or special occasion might be more likely to snag it.
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Emirates flight attendants
“We would always try our best to get passengers their preferred meal choice, but sometimes it’s just not possible,” she said.
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If all else fails, complain.

While she doesn’t normally advocate for it, voicing dissatisfaction could at least get passengers in economy a better meal.

“Sometimes, if someone maybe didn’t get their preferred meal choice and then complained and made a big fuss about it, we would bring them a meal from business class instead to soften the blow,” she explained.

But it depends on what mood the flight supervisor is in — some might be “lenient,” while others might say to get lost.

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“We would always try our best to get passengers their preferred meal choice, but sometimes it’s just not possible,” she noted.


Man sitting in airport
She encouraged travelers to pack carry-ons with essentials and stuff pillowcases with extra things.
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On the other hand, treating stewardesses with kindness could earn you some brownie points.

“It always pays being nice to flight attendants,” said Jakubjakova, adding that attendants are more likely to “go the extra mile” for customers who arrive for flights bearing gifts.

After her many years in the skies, the former flight attendant encouraged frequent flyers to bring a reusable water bottle on board, stuff a pillowcase with extra belongings and pack a spare change of clothes in a carry-on — just in case.

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