We have often heard of railway passengers getting their seats upgraded before or during their journey. They are seen leaving their current berth and move towards their auto upgraded seat, which one class higher than their reserved class. So what does an Auto Upgradation mean? Why are travelers given a seat of higher class for which they haven’t reserved their tickets?

Ticket Upgrading System

What is Auto- Upgradation of tickets?
The Indian Railways in 2006 started a win-win scheme through which passengers while booking their tickets can check/tick mark the option to automatically upgrade their journey class. Any passenger can opt for the service either online or offline booking via ticket counters at stations or by IRCTC online portal. As the passenger details are entered in the ticket generating software with the option to upgrade the class, the reservation system will consider it and make the passenger eligible for upgradation. The passengers are selected on a random basis and automatically at the time of chart preparation.  Passengers under this scheme can enjoy an upgraded class journey on the actual ticket price and the class they have selected while booking tickets. eg. If a traveler books his ticket in Sanghmitra Express, sleeper class which costs Rs. 860, and if upgraded, will get an AC3 tier accommodation. The good news is that the passenger will not be charged with an extra fare of AC class. Under this offering, Indian Railways upgrades full fare paying ‘waitlist passengers’ to the next higher class with the available vacant accommodation. This not only benefits the waitlisted passengers but also benefit Railways in terms of filling up of seats running vacant.

Aim behind Launching the Scheme:
The basic aim of Indian Railways to launch the scheme was to utilize the berth availability by allocating the vacant seats to the passengers under the scheme, which in turn will make seats available for the waitlist passengers. By the scheme, the waitlist ticket status can move easily leading to more number of confirming berths. So, wait for the final chart.

Rules for auto Upgradation:
Option for upgradation must be checked: The upgradation option is given to the passenger on the requisition form. The option is also available while booking tickets via IRCTC online portal. It is mandatory for the passenger to check the option, after which they are considered for upgradation. However, upgradation is automatically done by PRS (Passenger Reservation System) while preparation of chart.
Upgradation is done in one class above: If a passenger’s ticket is upgraded, it is done only for one class above which means, the sleeper class tickets will be upgraded only for AC 3 tier and AC 3 tier tickets will be upgraded for AC 2 tier and so on.
Only Waitlist tickets are to be upgraded:  Passengers who have waitlist tickets are only chosen for upgradation. If there is any vacant berth left, it is transferred for current bookings. If there are no berths available there is no upgradation.
Cancellation and Refund:  If a traveler cancels the upgraded ticket he/she is refunded with the amount paid during the booking. Cancellation charges will apply.
Six passengers can be upgraded: One can book a maximum of six passengers on a single ticket. All the six travelers will be upgraded at the same time. None of them will be upgraded if the berth availability is less than six.
Final check by the passengers: Since there is a change in the coach and berth number of the passenger, they are requested to check their PNR status regularly till the last minute of confirmation. Do not assume about tickets being not confirmed.

Sleeper Class Tickets Upgraded to AC 3 Tier

Who are not covered under the Upgradation scheme?
Not every traveler is covered under the scheme. There are some exceptions to it. The categories mentioned below cannot avail upgradation scheme even though the option is available while booking.  

Travelers under concessional ticket:  Any traveler who has availed any concession on the tickets like medical benefits, unemployed youth, women who are of 58 years etc. If the ticket includes any type of concessions, the passenger is not eligible for upgradation.
Free railway pass holders: Railway issues a travel pass to its employees and for their family members. Such employees when traveling through the pass or on any concession will not be eligible for upgradation.
Senior citizens traveling via Senior Citizen Concession:  Indian Railways offer a senior citizen concession to the travelers who have crossed 60/58 (Men/Women) years of age. Such tickets are booked concessional rates of 40%/50%.

Will the PNR number Change after Ticket Upgradation?
No! The PNR number remains the same.  Only the seating class, coach number and berth number will be changed. The passengers have to only change their coach and seats during journey.

Can I order food from the same PNR number?
Yes! There are e-catering companies which deliver food to the passengers traveling in train. Through efficient e-catering services in train, passengers can get food of their choice at any station they want to order. When the ticket gets upgraded the PNR remains the same and the passenger can order food in train with the same PNR. The food ordered will be delivered right at your seat. Order your food in four easy steps:

  • Enter the PNR number to check the list of stations, their restaurants and the cuisines available.
  • Choose your favourite food and order them instantly.
  • Pay online by debit cards/credit cards/internet banking or by Paytm/Freecharge or PayUMoney wallets.
  • Enjoy the tasty food at your seat.   

Tips to Travel in Train with Auto-Upgraded Ticket

  • Contact the TTE for any berth related confusion. 
  • Be attentive for your luggage while shifting from one coach to another. Take help of the coach attendant.
  • Keep checking the status regularly till the chart is prepared.
  • Avoid the untoward arguments and scuffles between passengers. Wait for the TTE who has the accurate information.
  • If traveling during the winter season, check the train running status. Usually, trains are late during winters.
Auto Upgradation Scheme of the Indian Railways: How it works?

Rohit Choubey


Rohit is an avid guest blogger as well an eminent digital marketeer. He has immense passion towards food blogging. His hobbies include travelling, cooking and watching movies. He is the content analyst at RailRestro.


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