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Best economy flight from LAX-London? British Airways? Virgin-Atlantic? United? Air New Zealand?

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Message: I would like to book a flight from LAX-London in the next day or two and I have my choice of flying on numerous possible carriers on a nonstop flight.

These carriers include Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, United and Air New Zealand.

I am a frequent flier member of only Virgin Atlantic but don't actually have any miles. Is there any way that I could buy a flight other than the very cheapest seat and possibly get an upgrade to business class for a low price at the gate, if available? If so, what class does the ticket need to be and what is the best way to approach the subject at the gate?

Thanks in advance.

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