I genuinely thought this was a myth. I had spent years standing behind my mum, as she used every trick in the book, to try to get an upgrade at the airport. It was always someones birthday, anniversary, graduation, job promotion, you name it, she tried it! Every single time she was met with a resounding ‘no’!
Then came that one day in my life when it was no longer a myth! It was true; normal, everyday people do genuinely get upgraded out of the blue! The only downside of having experienced fancy class? It makes it much harder to return to cattle class.
We arrived at Manila airport, very sad to be leaving the stunning Philippines. It is true what they say, it really is more fun in the Philippines! We were queuing up at the Premium Economy check-in section, when we were waved over to check-in at Business Class, as there wasn’t anyone waiting there. This has happened before and so I didn’t think anything of it. Then, out of the blue, the check-in lady asked how we would feel if just one of us got upgraded. My stomach flipped and my heartbeat started increasing with excitement, could this be THE moment? Then, after a pause, I caught the eye of my boyfriend and realised he was thinking the same thing. We sadly had to say no, we were travelling together and it would be unfair to choose which one of us gets upgraded! We did blame each other for a while for preventing the other from getting upgraded! we have a healthy relationship, I promise!
The check-in lady smiled and said she would put us on the waiting list for an upgrade. Hang on, yes, there is indeed an upgrade waiting list and we were on it! I wanted to squeal with excitement then and there but my boyfriend being the sensible one (although at the time sounded like the voice of doom) soon put me back in my place and took away my excitement. He was right, the chances were pretty slim but I was still secretly hoping for an upgrade miracle!
I am not going to lie, Manila airport is not an airport you want to spend any time in, there is nowhere to sit, except for at the gates, which were constantly full and no air conditioning. It was roasting! To make matters worse, we were hungry but nowhere accepted card!!! It was the end of our holiday so we pretty much had small change left over. We managed to scrape together enough for a noddle bowl (they have boiling water stations throughout the airport to cook these) and we found a couple of empty seats at one of the gates and shared our teeny noddle bowl.
Eventually it was time to go to our actual gate and board the plane. As our names had not been read out over the tannoy, we assumed our luck wasn’t in and we headed to the gate feeling a bit low. Then came the best, most amazing moment, they scanned my boarding pass and it came up with ‘seating error’ what could that mean? I started feeling my heart speed up with excitement, could this be the moment?
Sure enough, the lady smiled at us and said, congratulations, you have been upgraded to business class. I wanted to squeal and do a happy dance right there! However, it didn’t seem appropriate and I was terrified they would realise they made a mistake and take it off me! Especially if I was dancing around like a loon!
We headed down the tunnel towards the plane and there was a separate entrance for business class passengers. the man at the entrance asked ‘business class?’ and i pretty much screamed at him ‘YES!!!!!!’- I think he knew then and there that I was an upgrade but I didn’t care, I was on cloud 9!
We were shown to our seats and then greeted, by name (even though we were an upgrade) and handed a glass of champagne each as we settled into our huge seats. I was grinning from ear to ear and taking pictures of the seat from all angles, taking selfies in the seat and then asking my boyfriend to take numerous pictures of me in the seat drinking champagne. (Please excuse the quality of the pictures, I was shaking with excitement and only had my phone at the time). It was so obvious we weren’t meant to be there but do you know what, I didn’t care, I was in my element. It was possibly the first time that I didn’t feel on the verge of pre-flight panic attack. The novelty of the situation had completely taken my mind off where I actually was. This was what I was most grateful for about the upgrade. It meant I could actually enjoy the flight like other fellow passengers.
I was originally going to do a review post but as I have never flown fancy class before, I don’t really have anything to compare it to. I was also in my absolute element at the fact I had been upgraded so everything they did, the food they offered and the seat itself was just THE BEST THING EVER! So I don’t feel I could actually review the Cathay Pacific business class experience fairly.
However, what I will say is that I am so grateful to Cathay Pacific for the upgrade. It made leaving the Philippines that bit easier and it felt like our holiday had been extended. The service was fantastic in business class, the food delicious, the constantly flowing champagne was just incredible and to top it all off? They had Bend It Like Beckham available on the in-flight entertainment.
The whole experience was just perfect and if I could afford it, I would without a doubt fly business class again. Unfortunately though, my budget at the moment does not quite stretch that far, but one can dream!
Have you ever been upgraded? Did you ask or was it out of the blue? Do you have any tips for maximising your chances of an upgrade?
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