Choose a Wide-Body Plane
If you hold elite status and are looking to get upgraded, your best chance is to choose a wide-body plane, which will have a much larger first or business class section than narrow-body planes.
For example, my dad and I flew LAX to Miami on American Airlines (AA) two weeks ago. Most of AA’s planes on this route are narrow bodies, like 737s, 757s or A321s, but when I booked our tickets, I looked at all the planes and noticed that they also fly a few wide bodies. There was a 777-200, which has 37 business class seats—many more than a 737, which has 16. They even had a 777-300 with 44 business class seats and much nicer premium seats, but unfortunately the flight time was too early in the morning for my dad.
Bottom line: Because I booked us on a wide-body plane, we both got upgraded. I got upgraded for free (thanks to my Executive Platinum Status) and my dad got upgraded for $150 using my status and my upgrade certificates.
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