Asking this one question has an almost 100pc success rate for getting a flight upgrade 10 months ago

Asking this one question has an almost 100pc success rate for getting a flight upgrade

We're about to say something very privileged but just indulge us; there's nothing worse than starting a holiday with a long-haul flight in economy class.

Yes, it's lovely to be able to go away at all but being squished in next to a window with your knees jammed into the seat in front and the breath of the person next to you in the air? It's far from ideal.

Getting a free upgrade is a rare but wonderful occurrence - but we've come across a handy trick that might help you get a better seat on your next flight.

British writer Tilly Bagshawe lives with her family in LA and so spends a lot of time flying back and forth across the pond for work.

She told Bloomberg recently that she always calls the airline a day or so before she's due to travel and drops the words 'revenue management'.

Revenue management's job, she explained, is to make sure a flight is profitable.

"Not everyone knows that this department exists, and by mentioning it you reveal yourself as someone who knows how things work and understands how seats are released," she said.

She advises that you ask the agent you're speaking with if revenue management "has released any first-class seats for miles upgrades yet?"

"When they say no, ask them to check or just be put through to revenue management so you can ask when they will release some, as well as how many seats are left. Politely respond like this: ‘You have 20 seats unsold?  Why aren’t you releasing them?’ Often by the end of the conversation they say, ‘OK, we’ll release one for you,’ or they might tell you to call back tomorrow."

The tactic, though ballsy, appears to pay off. Tilly claims to have had an almost 100 per cent success rate by using it.

It has to be worth a try, right?