‘Sir Richard Branson promised me’: Virgin Atlantic reveals unusual upgrade requests

stefan-the-pilot-in-upper-class-while-en-route-to.jpg.500x400.jpgUndoubtedly the top wish of any traveler is an upgrade, but let’s face it: unless you shell out cash or miles, your chances are slim.

But that doesn’t stop some people from trying.

In a press release to spruik its Upper Class and how to pay to receive an upgrade, Virgin Atlantic has listed the most common and unusual requests, obtained through a survey, passengers have tried to pass on staff for a complimentary upgrade.

“Sir Richard Branson is my friend” and “Sir Richard Branson promised me an upgrade” were the two most common pleas, leaving our cheeky public affairs spokesperson to conclude that “Sir Richard Branson has a lot of ‘friends’ around the world.”

(On 8 June 2009 Branson was the guest editor for a day at Flightglobal. We hope during that time we became legitimate friends and not “friends”.)

The next three top justifications were:

3. We are on honeymoon

4. It’s my birthday

5. I am very tall and really need some more space

Some of the more quirky and unusual upgrade requests passengers made were:

1.    Manchester United lost today, I am really upset and need the space to get over it

2.    My wife is pregnant; I need an upgrade as it is a really stressful time for me (Virgin says this plea started an argument between the husband and wife)

3.    My newborn baby has claustrophobia, she is in counselling and we really need an upgrade so she has more space

4.    I am Sir Richard Branson’s dentist

5.    I have lost all of my money in Vegas but really need an upgrade

6.    We are getting married today (the couple turned up in full wedding attire)

7.    (At Tokyo check-in) I am a very tall Englishman and need some extra leg room

8.    It’s a Sunday, no one flies on a Sunday so please can I have an upgrade? 

Today’s lesson? If you’re looking for an upgrade, put your creativity to work, get extra cash, and pay for the upgrade. Or become one of Branson’s actual friends.


Photo: Flightglobal mascot Stefan the Pilot scored a seat in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class. He reports he had a lot of leg room.

2 Responses to ‘Sir Richard Branson promised me’: Virgin Atlantic reveals unusual upgrade requests

  1. Jaime 10 January, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    I am not surprised by these requests for upgrades. I once witnessed a traveler demanding (shouting even) he be upgraded because he was Sir Something-or-Another at a Continental counter in London. Sir Cheapo received little sympathy from those of us who had to pay for or earn our upgrades.

  2. RobRevet 10 January, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    I work at Lufthansa, the very same stories except they calim to play golf with Wolfgang Mayrhuber! ROLFL!

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