Tuesday, August 04, 2015

How to Upgrade Yourself for Free in Indian Railways

All of us love to indulge in a bit of luxury without it making a dent in our pockets. After all, who doesn’t like free upgrades or free goodies.

Well, our beloved Indian Railways offers that very luxury and it was something that I never knew happened. Technically, I knew that an upgrade facility exists and that there is a checkbox to select it while booking my ticket on IRCTC. Apparently, we can ask for that facility at the in-person ticket counter too. Recently, when I traveled from Bangalore to Tirunelveli, I got upgraded from 3rd Tier AC to 2nd Tier AC at absolutely no additional cost. This was the first time I experienced this and my excitement knew no bounds. When I shared this piece of information with my dad (a regular user of Indian Railways), he said that he has been upgraded a couple of times himself. So basically, this system works.

I was very curious how this works so when the ticket collector came to check my ticket, I asked him this question on how this free upgrade works. he says that generally, Indian Railways has higher waiting list in lower classes and in order to make additional revenue, they upgrade people to a higher class on a first come first serve basis. What this means is that you get upgraded to 1st AC from 2nd AC, to 2nd AC from 3rd AC and to 3rd AC from the sleeper class provided there are seats available in the higher class.

It is a pretty neat way for Indian Railways to make some additional revenue. Whoever recommended it in the Rail Budget deserves praise. Not only do they make more money, us citizens get some free luxury perks.
Get upgraded in Indian Railways

If you wish to get this free upgrade on Indian Railways try some of these tricks (based on personal family experiences and some analysis):

1) Book as early as possible. As the upgrade is based on a first come, first serve basis, it is always better to book early.

2) Book on days which are not weekends or holidays, thereby fewer people will be traveling.

3) Book on special trains. Most frequent travelers prefer regular trains.

4) Book a higher class. Your chances improve with increasing class.

5) It is difficult to find a not so popular train route in India as we have so many people, but for whatever its worth, your chances improve with such low traffic routes.

I hope you too get a lucky upgrade with Indian Railways.

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