Flying is a chore for a lot of people. If you're flying to a hot destination for a holiday, you'll have something to look forward to. If you're hopping on a plane for work, you might not have anything but hassle awaiting you on the other side. Either way, you'll want the flight to be as painless as possible. Can you imagine making a phone call and getting your cattle-class tickets upgraded to first-class? It's possible if you're willing to chat a little and negotiate. You won't need to be a selling genius to get an upgrade just as long as you know the right things to say.
If you call reservations and us the words "revenue management" you'll be able to get what you want from the airline. The reason these two words have such an impact is that revenue management is the department responsible for making sure the flight is profitable. These are the guys that tell the reservation clerks what they can and can't offer passengers. As you might imagine, the existence of this department isn't something that airlines like to advertise so mentioning those two words when you call will make you sound like an insider. And if you're someone with knowledge of how the business works, you'll stand more chance of getting the upgrade you desire. If you say "have revenue management released any first-class seats for miles upgrades yet?" you'll start a dialogue. They will most likely say "no" but once the conversation's begun, ask when they'll release them, then ask if you can have one. Gather information. You might need to call back later. But it'll be worth it.
Flying is so exotic. It's so expensive. It takes up to foreign countries and it opens doors to new experiences. It is, however, a form of public transport. Never forget that. If you haven't been on the bus or used the tube for a while, the fact that you're shuttled around with a lot of other people in very close quarters for an extended period of time will be alarming. Even when you're waiting in departure lounges, you'll be physically close to other passengers, and you'll have to wait your turn. Even first-class passengers have to realise that they're using public transport so keep calm. Deal with the annoyance that sometimes comes with dealing with a crowd and don't make a scene, even if you'd really like to tell some family to behave themselves. Don't do it. First-time fliers will experience this more than seasoned passengers but it's definitely something to consider. Even if you've paid thousands, you're using public transport and having to deal with delays and overcrowding like tube and bus passengers do.