Background: Free Lie Flat?!

A long long time ago back in the olden days (circa 2014) I had Delta Silver Medallion. At the time, they just announced complimentary medallion upgrades from the Mainland to Hawaii. I was really happy with this announcement because my family and I absolutely love going to Hawaii.

During the early summer, I started looking at LAX-HNL flights. I noticed that the 8am flight was operated by a Boeing 767-300 that was internationally configured. The flight would continue on to Nagoya, Japan. I then studied the flight for a couple weeks, and noticed that over half of the time, the day before the flight would still have a handful of Delta One (Previously Business Elite) seats available. That means I would have a good chance at an upgrade! A factor that helped was that this 763 was the one with 9 rows of Business Elite, not the one with only 7 rows.

I then figured out that middle of the week seemed to have more open seats, which makes sense as business travelers with status probably won’t be taking 8am flights to Hawaii on a Wednesday.

Booking the Flight:

I told my parents about my discovery and convinced them to take the risk for a little last minute summer Hawaii trip! Hopefully, we would be upgraded to First!

Our flights were booked in V, so pretty low on the upgrade totem pole :P. I booked the same 767 on the way back home, but first class always looked full, so I knew we probably wouldn’t get upgraded. It was the 12pm-9pm flight, personally the perfect Hawaii-Mainland flight (and many others feel the same, hence the packed flight).

Turns out dad couldn’t fly mid-week because of work. So the trip became mom and I flying Wednesday on the 8am lie flat 767 to Hawaii. Dad would be on the late Thursday flight (no lie flat…). Thankfully he still agreed on this trip (thanks dad!)

24 Hours Before the Flight:

I was super anxious the two days before the flight, as their was a still a good number (14) of Business Elite seats left. Fingers crossed!

Then, the day of the flight I got an email:

Free Lie Flat

Best feeling ever!

SO, my first time in First Class Domestic (or Business, whatever you want to call it) was going to be on a lie flat! Free lie flat upgrade? Oh yesss! I was SO stoked!

Mom and I decided row 8 would be best as we could talk to each other during the flight!

Free Lie Flat


It was certainly a memorable flight experience, and that is how I scored a free lie flat upgrade. On a very specific route that happened to have an internationally configured plane with not a lot of elites flying on it 🙂

Free Lie Flat

My plane! I’ll review this flight soon!

Aren’t You Missing Someone?

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about dad! I did warn him before booking the trip that his upgrade was a bit more unlikely compared to mom and I’s. It was a night flight on Thursday which I thought had a higher potential of elites as it was approaching Labor Day weekend.

But, after mom and I checked into the hotel, I received an email that he GOT UPGRADED TOO! Wooo! Course, it wasn’t on a lie flat, but dad appreciated the extra space and he got served a dinner while we only got a omelet breakfast.

On the flight home, we were 20th on the upgrade list….. fighting for 1 seat. Saw that coming sadly.

The following year I made sure to make it up for dad. On a $1,600 business class fare sale from LA to Madrid we all flew Delta One on the same plane type, so he got to try it out, just a year later. 🙂


Anyone get upgrades on Lie-Flat Domestic Routes? Or fun upgrade stories?! Share below!


Happy travels,