My name is Laura Schofield and I am the world’s biggest blagger. Ask any of my friends or colleagues and they will tell you. I’ve blagged a leather chesterfield club chair, backstage passes at The Black Eyed Peas and skipped countless nightclub queues. This year I’ve been upgraded on flights no less than FOUR times.
The above has got nothing to do with luck. It’s about spotting an opportunity, acting fast and — in some cases — knowing what to do with what God gave you. I don’t mean batting your eyelashes and showing off your boobs. Sometimes your height is the greatest tool at your disposal.
If you think that being tall makes travelling uncomfortable, awkward, and significantly worse for you than your shorter counterparts, then it’s time for an attitude overhaul. Follow these simple steps and blag the upgrades that your little friends can’t.
- Don’t go in all guns blazing. Straight-out asking for a business class upgrade is what short people do. You’ll appear rude and grasping. Smile sweetly and say “I just wondered if it’s possible to get fire exit seats, because I’m really tall and struggle with the shortage of legroom”. I tried this line when I flew to Dubai with Emirates, and since the fire exits were already full, they bumped my colleague and I up to business class. If they can put you in the fire exit seats, they will, and it’s worth asking just for that.
- There’s usually someone guiding you to the right check-in desk. If it’s a tall woman, lodge your request for fire exit seats with her first and you’ll have a more sympathetic ear. One female attendant at Gatwick replied, “Gosh, you are tall aren’t you? I thought I was tall and I struggle with the legroom. I’ll see what I can do…”
- If you’re in a foreign country, ask your driver/ representative to put in a request for you when they drop you at the airport. In Hanoi, our rep said something in Vietnamese and bagged us fire-exit seats on our internal flights. He could well have said “Look how stupidly tall these crazy British people are”, but it seemed to do the trick.
- Dress conservatively. This doesn’t mean you have to look super posh, but messy hair, lots of cleavage and neon tops all scream “I’m going to get rowdy on the free-flowing champagne,” so think about what image you’re putting out there.
- Make your feelings known. ATTT reader Emma says,“I had a legroom situation on a Cross Country train and tweeted my general displeasure about it. Later on, the train manager from that actual train saw it, and sent me a lovely message back that he would have found me a better seat if he’d known! Lesson learned- speak up”.
- Your moment at check-in is brief, but a well-timed compliment or conversation starter with the staff-member on the desk will help your cause considerably. As I strolled to the Emirates desk last week the girl sat there was rubbing her eyes (clearly through tiredness), but I asked “Are you ok? If it’s a man he’s not worth it.” Super cheesy, but it got her smiling and on our side.
Shameless. But the endless champagne cocktails, five course dinners and massage chairs will make you sleep so easy 😉
Have you managed to bag yourself a good freebie or upgrade? By exploiting your height or otherwise? Please do share your stories… I’m always after new tricks!