How to get an upgrade: Open Jaw

Where readers write back

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The Independent Travel

As someone who's worked for a couple of the world's biggest airlines for well over a decade, I can tell you free upgrades such as those described are virtually non-existent. Airlines are watching every penny and generally only upgrade free when economy is overbooked, not because someone asked nicely or happens to be a frequent-flyer card holder.

"Billy 74"

'Quantum of the Seas'

Looks great. Spent many a year on old oilers as an engineer going around the world ... usually breaking down in the Indian or Pacific Oceans in the middle of nowhere. A ship like this could get me back.

"Terry McManus"

What a hideous ship.


48 Hours in Barcelona

Absolutely make the Sagrada Familia a stop in your 48-hour itinerary but do not just turn up. You will spend up to four hours queuing. Book in advance at, and aim for a slot between 9 and 10am. If the day is sunny you will be rewarded with a spectacular lightshow as the early sun strikes the altar and you will have space to move around unencumbered by the crowds of later in the day.


China revisited

We have just returned from a fortnight in China. The people are so friendly and helpful. Our guides were excellent, friendly and knowledgeable. I was last in China in the 1970s with my last husband. We were based in Xian. I didn't realise that when we used to go to see the Terracotta Army that it had not been made into a tourist spot and we could wander in among the figures. It was a surprise to see now.

Maggie Luscombe

Secret Canaries

You can visit the observatory on La Palma, but mornings only – the astronomers are busy at night. On the other hand, you can go out for a night-time stargazing excursion with a guide.


Why airlines must pay out for flight delays

Yes, many in aviation may believe the compensation levels are disproportionate to the air fare. However, people would be less inclined to claim if they were treated with respect. Explain to passengers what the problem is and how long it will take to fix. Look after them properly when delayed and answer them when they contact the airline after the event. The airlines' arrogance and lack of respect means a lot of people see the pursuit of financial claims as the only way to express their annoyance.

"Harry C"