Bag yourself an upgrade from €300 this summer

Aer Lingus introduces upgrade auction allowing passengers to bid for a business class seat

Flying first class on a transatlantic flight has long been an unrequited dream for many, but few have been in a position to fork out the €2,000 or so a reclining seat a safe distance away from the riff-raff costs. Until now perhaps.

This summer Aer Lingus is offering passengers on its transatlantic routes the chance to bag an upgrade to business class from as little as €300 extra each way, which compares favourably with the typical cost of a such a seat. For example, a flight with Aer Lingus from New York to Dublin on August 22nd is today priced at €530.95 - opting for a business class will set you back €1,976.95 however if you book today. If you take a chance on an 'upgrade auction' you might be able to bag that seat for less.

Once you’ve booked a transatlantic flight, you will be invited to make a bid to ‘upgrade yourself’ by paying a sum in addition to the cost of your original ticket. Bids start at €300 and go up to €900, and the airline ranks your bid from ‘weak’ all the way up to ‘excellent’, depending on how much you offer. If your offer is accepted, you’ll be notified by email one day before the flight and billed for the upgrade. If it isn’t, you pay nothing and keep the seat you have. The offer window closes five days prior to the departure date of your flight.

Aer Lingus' new auction service is powered by Plusgrade, which also provides the service to other airlines such as Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, Austrian Airlines and Air New Zealand.


Upgrade auctions are a trend that emerged a couple of years ago, but now appear to be gaining traction as airlines look to generate extra revenue on seats that would otherwise be unused, while at the same time ensuring that their regular business class clients aren’t disenfranchised.

Some airlines are said to be advancing the concept by allowing passengers to bid for an extra seat beside them - and therefore avoid any annoying in-flight neighbour.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times