Comfort in the skies

Is the kind of clothing that makes longhaul flight comfortable going to prevent an upgrade?

Etihad’s A380 business class seating. Courtesy Etihad
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One of the old tropes about air travel is that dressing well is the key to getting a free upgrade to business class. In pursuit of this elusive chimera, thousands of hopeful travellers have turned up to airport check-in desks dressed as if they were going for an executive job interview rather than for the rigours of long haul in economy class.

But, as The National reported this week, that ploy might be counterproductive. Our writer Michael Barnard said it was the business clothes that inhibited his ability to sleep, despite being in one of the lie-flat beds in the new Etihad A380 business class travelling to London. He recommended that all those who follow him into the upper deck of the A380 wear pyjamas instead.

Etihad is already aware of this. Had he been in first class, pyjamas would have been provided as part of the package. But that poses the question: would arriving at check-in dressed ready for bed prompt the staff to deem him suitable for an upgrade?