his great hair, ubiquitous arm candy and adventurous nature – not to mention
his wide-ranging Virgin business success – Richard Branson is a very familiar
face. But claiming you’re his pal will not get you an upgrade on a Virgin
The cabin crew has
heard that one before. In fact, they hear it all the time.
surveyed its cabin and ground crews about the most frequent excuses they hear
from passengers seeking free upgrades to first class. The staff cited a
fictional friendship with the billionaire as a “popular tactic,” a variation on
the old “I’m with the band.”
Branson is my friend and Sir Richard Branson promised me an upgrade were the
two most common reasons passengers gave when requesting a complimentary upgrade
to upper class suite," VS stated in a press release.
most-overused attempts focus around birthdays and honeymoons. And tall
passengers often plead for the extra leg room of first class, though they don’t
want to pay for it.
staffers highlighted their favourite excuses, which range from the truly weird
to the pathetic:
My Baby: "My newborn baby has claustrophobia,
she is in counselling and we really need an upgrade so she has more
My Money Stayed
"I lost all
of my money in Vegas but really need an upgrade."
My Team Lost: "Manchester United lost today and I am
really upset and need the space to get over it."
My Wife is
"My wife is
pregnant. I need an upgrade as it is a really stressful time for me."
Do any of these
excuses work? In a word, no.
VS says free
upgrades are "rarely offered" and if they are, it would be to a
However, in the
spirit of fun the airline is encouraging passengers to post their upgrade pleas
on Twitter (
TWTR, Tech30) at #BestRequest.
Here’s one creative
example: "We'd love to be upgraded," writes one passenger, "to
see red unicorns serving unlimited amounts of champagne."