Any experience with upgrading Qantas seats at the airport check-in counter?

I just found out that the tickets for our holiday are on non-up-gradable tickets! However, we have over 140k of Qantas FF points.

My plan is to request if we are able to upgrade our seats when we check in at the airport. However, do Qantas staff at the checking counters have visibility of points?

We are flying on a Tuesday afternoon flight in September which I am hoping is off-peak.

Hope someone has some experience with the same sort of issue?


The check in staff have no idea about your points balance, so sort of a moot point that one. If you have non-upgradeable tickets, which are usually the discount economy ones, your points balance is in no way able to get you upgraded.\r\n\r\nThat being said, the check-in staff do have a certain amount of power when it comes to dishing out upgrades on the day. If there are seats in premium cabins available, the first thing that will happen is anyone participating in the bidding system for an on the day upgrade will be offered it first. If you’ve got non-upgradeable tickets you can’t do this sadly.\r\n\r\nAfter that, any Qantas staff passengers who are standby for this flight will be offered their choice of seats in whichever cabin they have listed for. After that, Qantas will often recognize the status (gold, platinum, platinum one) and offer a complimentary upgrade, just to keep favour with the people they know travel a lot and spend lots of money with them. Not sure what status you or your partner is, but if you’re gold or better it’s a possibility depending on how full the flight is.\r\n\r\nAnd finally, just be nice to the check-in people. They have a certain amount of discretion to dish out upgrades as they like once their staff, high frequent flyers and everyone are taken care of. Strike up a genuine, friendly conversation with the check-in staff member and make them like you. Pick your moment obviously and don’t do it when there’s 300 people lined behind you cause they’ll get annoyed and tell you to sod off, but it’s worth a try all the time.\r\n\r\nMy favourite tactic is you go to the gate staff and really genuinely say “Hi, sorry to be a bother but the girl over at the front desk mentioned that I should check about the possibility of an upgrade at the gate, she said I should come and let you know I’m here”. Often the agent at the gate will go along with it, and although it’s far from fool-proof I have gotten upgrades on several occasions using this method. They don’t want to publically call out their colleagues as full of it by saying “I’ve got no idea why she’d say that, no, sorry” so often they’ll go along with it and then if a seat in a better cabin is available once check in is closed and boarding starts atleast he/she remembers you, knows you’re around and know’s you want one. If you’ve been nice enough sometimes it works.\r\n\r\nBest of luck!

If you hoping to upgrade on the day with points on a non-upgradable airfare that’s almost impossible. they would give upgrades to higher classed airfares or unless you’re Gold or Platinum. the more points you have, does not mean higher change of upgrade.

sorry I meant higher change of upgrade

sorry again “higher chance”. bad typo!

Thanks Jimmy & Mark for taking the time to respond.

situation looks bleak! I just hope that it’s a quiet flight (Tuesday arvo - mid sept) and our charm works!!