FANCY a flight upgrade but don't want to pay for it? According to one frequent flyer there are two magic words that you need to use - "revenue management".

Airlines prefer charging cold hard cash for upgrades, but some will release spare seats shortly before the flight for frequent flyers who want to pay with air miles, author Tilly Bagshawe says.

The trick is catching the flights before they get snapped up.

According to Tilly, calling the airline and using the phrase "revenue management" always convinces them to release any sets they might have early.

The writer told Bloomberg that ahead of her flight she rings the airline's reservation agents and asks them: "Have revenue management released any first-class seats for miles upgrades yet?"

Emirates first class.
Emirates first class.

She told the news organisation: "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.

"The reason is that revenue management's job is to make sure a flight is profitable, so they're the ones telling [reservation agents] what they can say; they're like Flying Club's boss.

"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."

Tilly reveals that by the end of the conversation she has nearly always been offered a first class flight - or is told to call back the following day about one.

Author Tilly Bagshawe.
Author Tilly Bagshawe.

But that doesn't mean it will work for your once-a-year summer a holiday though.

According to aviation analyst Henry Harteveldt, that trick will only work if you're one of the airline's top customers - and Tilly flies more than 100,000 miles a year.

Henry told Business Insider: "Asking a reservations agent to check with the airline's Revenue Management department will probably result in the agent muting her line while she laughs at the requests.

"Very few airlines allow their reservations agents to either contact Revenue Management or [transfer] a reservation to that department for upgrades.

This story originally appeared on The Sun.

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