The Day I turned down an upgrade to Business Class

I know.  Can you believe that?

Getting upgrades on flights these days are about as rare as hen’s teeth.  Smiling sweetly to check in staff or wearing a posh frock is not enough anymore to get you bumped up to the next class of flight.   Believe me.  I have tried.   Six years flying backwards and forwards to the middle east.  Not one.   Trips within the middle east?  Not a chance.   My boss at the time was a relatively  senior member of the Royal Family whose private jet happened to be an old South African Airlines 747.   Alongside the 727 and the Cessna sea plane.   I had more chance of flying on one of those than I did getting an upgrade from Economy to Business Class with British Airways.

Which is why it is surprising then that the one time I did get offered an upgrade I turned it down.  All in the name of friendship.

Just before our flight to Ghana with Comic Relief last year Mr B happened to mention what his mad wife was up to, to one of his colleagues.  “Oh my mum works at the airport, I will see what she can do” he replied.

At the gate we realised we were flying with Davina McCall and Jonathan Ross, as well as the team from Comic Relief and we had one of those really surreal moments of chatting to these two uber famous people like we were best mates.   In fact as we walked to the aircraft Jonathan told me how been asked to remove just about all his clothes at security and had forgotten his belt and had then had to dash back (I had a visions of his trousers falling down as he ran through the airport, but enough about that).   I could feel the people behind us in the queue trying to work out if we were famous as well.  After all, we must be if we are hanging out with these two stars at 9am on a Sunday morning.  Right?   Oh so wrong.

No sooner had my backside hit the chair then I had a member of the cabin crew kneeling beside me in the aisle:

If you would like to collect your bags, Mrs Barrow and follow me?

Sorry?  Is there a problem?

No, not at all, but if you could just follow me

At this point I had visions of my visa having been revoked.  Or the whole Comic Relief and Africa thing being a dream.

I queried it some more and the member of the crew said

We have a seat for you in Business Class, Mrs Barrow, if you could just come with me

I nearly punched the air.   My first ever upgrade.   In 41 years of flying.

And then I looked at Annie and Penny on the other side of the aisle and realised I couldn’t do it.   I just couldn’t bring myself to leave them behind.   Mr B’s friend’s mum had managed to get my name on the list but there was only one seat.

And we were Team Honk.  Off on the adventure of a lifetime and I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t go and leave them behind.

However, I have not let them forget this fact.   Oh no.  And I have also told them that if it EVER happens again, I will be through that curtain and up the front of the plane before you can say “doors to manual and cross check”

This is a partnered post

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  • not quite the same but I was once offered a seat with oodles of legroom at the front of the plane on a transatlantic flight ,and my husband was not at all happy that I accepted it & left him further up the plane with squashed knees – well I was pregnant (albeit only 3 months!)

    • hahaha. Love that.

      I know somebody who arrived at the gate in the midst of a blazing row with his wife. He was a frequent flyer and she wasn’t, he got upgraded, and she didn’t. He could have done the chivalrous thing and said “here you go, love, you have it”. But didn’t. He left her in economy and went to business. 🙂

  • How difficult a decision was that! I’m torn between leaving them and enjoying the extra room (and the two celebs) too or staying? Arrghh.
    Well done you for passing it on

  • Love you Barrow! I’ve only ever been upgraded to Business – who would pay for that madness even if they could? But each time I’m DEEPLY uncool as I glug the champers and test EVERY setting on the chair like a kid on Christmas day! I may as well have “UPGRADE” tattooed on my forehead! I ONCE got upgraded to 1st Class and had that grey velour “complimentary” sleep suit on before we’d even left the runway! At 10am! Ah – good times! The yin to my yang of luxury is that tomorrow I’m on a 14 hour flight from hell, with transfer and TWO KIDS – to Texas. On my own! *rocks & mutters “it’ll be ok, it’ll be ok”….

  • Ahhhhh imagine all the conversations we wouldn’t have had if you would had upgraded!
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