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  • Writer's pictureTamar Broadbent


Who are these lucky fuckers who manage to get upgraded to first class on their Honeymoon flights?!

Purchasing a first-class plane ticket seems absurd to me. Like the concept of caviar or owning a car that goes 200 mph – literally where are you going to drive it?!

I’m not a rich person and I have been a fairly faithful EasyJet flyer for many years. Need to get somewhere? Do it functionally and cheaply. Before I bought a car, I never minded the Megabus. I actually used to find the service station stops quite thrilling. Who knew what adventures could happen at a Moto M&S just outside Hull?!

I digress.

The cost of a business class ticket to our Honeymoon destination was roughly £4000. That’s two months’ rent. Or a four-year supply of wine.

Business class, I’ve always understood as something people only do when their company pays for it. (Big ones, like a bank or a firm… I doubt JustEat puts all their employees in pyjamas and reclinable beds). And yet, some people save up to fly business class on their Honeymoons. Which is impressive and enviable! Would I do it? No, because a) to reiterate, I’m not wealthy and b) did you read the bit about the wine?

Thus, my husband and I opted for Economy class flight tickets on the way to our Honeymoon. We have both travelled the world many times as economy passengers, we are no strangers to long haul flights and snug seats, bringing ear plugs in case of nearby snorers.

However, as the date approached… my husband dared to dream. Wouldn’t it be lovely, he thought, to have our own little booths… to be able to lie down without pissing off the person behind you… to get unlimited booze at your beck and call and not have to order two wines each time the cart goes around for fear it might never return!

We both had heard rumours, see, that if you tell the check-in staff you are on your Honeymoon, they might just be nice enough to bump you up! Bump us up?! From economy to business? A miracle! Like Cinderella’s pumpkin suddenly becoming a carriage! Or a rare available parking space in the ’20 minutes for free’ section at the shops!

Hmmm… I was skeptical. These things don’t just happen.

I don’t really believe in luck. Or, I don’t believe in relying on luck…

But I also believe in ‘don’t ask, don’t get!’ And what did we have to lose?!

Heading to Heathrow, we made an action plan – we’d casually bring up the Honeymoon, inquire about potential upgrades and smile LOADS to show that we are not objectionable people.

The first check-in person claimed that she had no power. She cutely deferred responsibility in the same way I sometimes do if a tradesman asks me a question and I can’t be bothered to talk about walls. ‘Oh, I’m sorry, that’s out of my control, you’ll have to ask my husband.’ I smelled bullshit.

She said we’d have to ask on the plane. So we asked on the plane…

…And THEY said that upgrades had to be done back at the check-in desk!

I gasped. Was it collusion? A conspiracy? Did no one know? Or did everyone know? Could one of them have done it for us? Or could none of them?! If no one can, then who can? TOUCAN?! You can?! No, I can’t.

My thoughts continued twirling like a salad spinner, until my husband asked me, ‘would you like the window seat, or the middle?’ and I gave him a look, because who ever wants the middle seat?!

Still, I took the middle, because I needed to feel centred after that episode. We had officially failed on winging an upgrade. Or luck had failed us. I’d already exhausted all the other possible options (I tweeted the airline and they didn’t reply) …so that was it. No first class for us. No champagne. No booths. No pyjamas.

I couldn’t believe it. I’d gone from being someone who knows this stuff never happens, to someone who dared to hope. I considered that if we hadn’t been flying to the Maldives, where basically every single couple on the plane is on their Honeymoon, perhaps we’d have stood a better chance of being upgraded. An argument, I suppose, for celebrating your love by flying off to somewhere really shit.

We actually had a very nice time on the flight because, after all, we are normal people who are not snobs, enjoy an in-seat screen and (controversially) don’t hate plane food. The woman next to me was very kind about me straddling her every time I needed to get out and go to the toilet – you don’t get free lap dances in business class now, do you?!

(You actually might. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never been past the curtain. But if they do, I’m glad I’ve never been. I’m secretly a prude.)

Later, we read an article with some tips on how to get a free upgrade. Apparently, you’re supposed to ask if there are any for purchase first. I now felt silly for asking if they had any ‘free upgrades’… it’s a bit like going to a restaurant and ordering a ‘complimentary tasting menu.’ (With wine pairings)

Another tip said that you should ‘look the part,’ i.e., look like you belong in first class. So I regretted wearing my boob tube and leopard-print slouch pants on the plane.

(I actually don’t regret it. It would have been worse to be rejected from a business class upgrade whilst wearing a ballgown.)

I fell asleep for most of the flight, which further highlighted to me the ridiculousness of paying £4000 for a business class ticket. It would be the world’s most extortionate nap.

But I was left to conclude that upgrades are an elusive thing that happen to a few very lucky people on Instagram every so often. After disembarking, my understanding of the world was restored – you get what you pay for. Life is what you make it. All that really matter is who you’re with – my husband, the love of my life… and that quiet, uncomplaining, frequently be-straddled woman next to us.


We arrived in the Maldives only to be told that they’d overbooked at our 4-star hotel and they no longer had a room for us there.

On our Honeymoon?!???!?!!!!

So they upgraded us to the 5-star hotel next door.

Whaddaya know?! Miracles can happen!

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