A free flight upgrade is the holy grail of international travel, but they can be rare and hard to come by. Australian YouTuber Jamie Zhu, however, has found an effective (if highly dishonest) hack: simply pretend to have broken one of your limbs.
In a video entitled ‘How To Fly Business Class For FREE!’, Zhu checks in for his flight with Cathay Pacific and then finds a pharmacy in the airport where he buys a moon boot. He straps his right foot into the boot, and once he has boarded the flight, makes a big show of not being able to fit into his seat in coach.
“I’ve got a broken ankle,” he tells the flight attendants, and asks if he can be moved to another seat. The next shot shows him sitting victoriously in business class, where he removes the boot, puts his feet up, and then proceeds to document his entire flight, including dinner service, champagne, and eight hours of sleep in a reclining bed.
“I hope your ankle gets better,” an employee of the airline says to Zhu as he walks off the plane without his moon boot.
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” he laughs.
The video, which has had over 142,000 views so far, has drawn criticism from Zhu’s followers and other YouTube accounts. One user branded him a “scumbag,” saying: “It’s people like you that make the lives of honest people more difficult,” while somebody else commented: “So you committed fraud and posted the whole act here? This should be handy in court.”
“Loser,” said another. “I spent weeks in a boot for surgery. Disabilities are not something to prank about!!!”
Zhu has defended his video, telling Insider: “Some other people felt the need to criticize it, but at the end of the day, if they’re that upset over my upgrade, all they have to do is call me, and I can help them plan their next flight experience… I’m sure we have all tried to find a way to get something for free or for a discount and in this video I have done nothing but that. At the end of the day, my intentions for my videos are to make fun, lighthearted, and entertaining content and the video really showcased Cathay Pacific’s high standard of customer service on their flights.”