Upgraded by wearing "newly wed" attire at the airport?
Is it true that you can upgrade people at your own whim? Is it important to dress nicely if we want a free upgrade?
On an oversold flight, we can definitely move someone up to first class, and yes, the better dressed you are, the more likely you are to nab that seat. I am not going to put someone wearing flip flops up front with our best customers. It also pays to be courteous, to smile, and to be patient. I would rather give the better seat to someone who makes my life easier.
If the flight isn't oversold, it's a different matter. In the old days, we had a lot more leeway on who we could upgrade. These days, the process is entirely automated, and the computer dictates who gets upgraded based on elite status, fare paid and if there have been other travel disruptions during your journey. We just assign the seats once we clear upgrades off of the standby list. Even if we did manipulate the system, we are constantly audited so would have to explain why we upgraded someone for no reason.