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The next time you're standing at the gate and really questioning your lengthy flight ahead (perhaps in a middle seat), remember TAP Air Portugal’s new partnership with the SeatBoost app, which lets travelers bid for a business class upgrade within 24 hours of departure.
How to bid on TAP seat upgrades with SeatBoost
To participate, you will need to download the TAP and SeatBoost apps so you can place and view bids. You will receive your new boarding pass via the mobile app if you are among the lucky winners.
In the TAP mobile app, you can check whether there is an upgrade auction available for your flight. You can click on “Bid for an upgrade” to be redirected to the SeatBoost app for bidding. Review the minimum bid amount and then proceed with your offer.
One hour before departure, the top 10 bidders are given the chance to make a final bid to win the premium seat.
Not all flights are eligible for this auction system, but for those that are, you will be notified within either the airline or SeatBoost app.
This is a great way for an airline to fill unsold seats close to departure. It is also a way to test your luck before your next long flight and avoid the cramped economy class cabin at a significant discount.
» Learn more: How to get cheap upgrades to first class
How low can it go?
According to reports, bids have been as low as $200 for business class upgrades. Prices will vary by flight and what other passengers are willing to pay for an upgrade, but it is more common to find bids hovering in the mid-$400s for a business class flight.
While TAP passengers can pay a flat amount at the ticket counter when they check in (one-way upgrades to the U.S. go for $559, if available), the SeatBoost auction can present a much lower price, depending upon how many other bidders there are.
Several airlines, including Lufthansa and South African Airways, already offer an upgrade bidding system before departure. These airlines will notify travelers within 24 hours of departure whether an upgrade bid has been accepted.
What’s TAP Air Portugal’s business class like?
TAP Air Portugal has been in high-speed growth mode, taking delivery of its first Airbus A321LR aircraft in April 2019. The addition of this aircraft was cited as an opportunity to explore new markets in North America. Two of its newest routes are between Lisbon and Montreal and Ponta Delgada and Boston.
The airline’s business class cabins feature completely lie-flat seats with ample entertainment programming, Portuguese-inspired menus and a wine list that highlights some of the country’s well-known vineyards. (Don’t worry, even if you are not upgraded, some of these popular Portuguese wines are available in economy class, too.)
» Learn more: Your guide to the Star Alliance
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Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: The silliness of using airline miles to go to Europe Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies Find the best travel credit card for you