An Influencer Just Bragged About the Laziest Travel Scam We’ve Ever Seen

PHOTO: Stor24 / Shutterstock

This cool guy did a cool prank. And people are, rightly, mad.

A travel influencer faked a broken ankle on a recent Cathay Pacific flight and it got him upgraded to a business class seat “as a prank.” In the video, titled, “How To Fly Business Class For FREE!” Jamie Zhu picked up a medical boot at Sydney Airport right before his flight to Hong Kong, put it on, and walked out of the store laughing and doing little hops in the boot while exclaiming, “Oh yeah, it’s definitely broken.” He then had his friend film him as he did cute little things—in the injury boot—like running around the airport and dancing around.

Then, after boarding the plane, the innovative trickster told the flight’s cabin crew that his booted broken ankle “wouldn’t fit in his economy seat.” This resulted in him being upgraded to business class, a ticket that routinely costs upwards of $4,700.

The so-called prank was met with conflicting reviews from the internet. Some people have praised him for scamming the airline, but most people call him out for being, as one user puts it, “a loser.” It was also suggested the title of the video be changed to “how to scam people in order to get more attention on social media.”

“I have had a mixed response but most of my followers loved it and thought it was a cheeky, clever, and lighthearted prank to play,” Zhu told 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.”

Completely missing the point of why those people criticized him in the first place (because it’s both immoral and caused disarray on the plane before take-off, to both other passengers as well as the flight crew), Zhu has a message to those critics. “I would say to these people that 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,” he said. “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.”

You see, his intentions are pure—he is merely trying to do a fun and cool prank for the internet, and not get himself free things by lying about an injury, which is a pretty lame and insensitive thing to do in general. His intention was not to cause an unnecessary commotion on a plane for completely selfish reasons, while encouraging others to do the same in a video posted online literally called HOW TO FLY BUSINESS CLASS FOR FREE, a thing that could possibly result in this idea spreading online and causing flight attendants or other passengers to disbelieve people with real injuries.

Zhu went on to say that he got the idea for this “prank” after remembering how he was treated when he actually was injured. “I once broke my ankle back in high school from soccer and at the time was getting all this ‘special treatment’ from everyone,” he said. “So I decided to put that theory to the test in the form of a flight!”

The grand finale of Zhu’s big plane prank ended as lazily as it began: As he was getting off the flight he forgot to put the boot back on. This resulted in a crew member saying, “I hope your ankle gets better.” To which he replied, “Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.”

Explaining this later, he said: “I actually enjoyed the business class service so much that I forgot how I got on the plane in the first place. Hence why I forgot to wear the boot on the way out of the flight.”

And there it is—the laziest “prank.” Claim you’re injured and can’t fit into a seat because of the boot, which you TAKE OFF ANYWAYS when you get your fancy new seat, then just straight-up forget about the prank mid-prank—and also forget about all of the inconvenience you caused to both airline employees and other passengers on the flight. We reached out to Cathay Pacific for a comment, but they politely declined to give one. However, we should note, Cathay has been known to ban upgrade-scammers in the past.