Influencer Under Fire After Faking an Injury to Get a Business Class Upgrade on Flight
An Australian influencer is receiving backlash after faking a foot injury in order to get a better seat on a flight. The controversy began when Jamie Zhu — who has over 1.1 million followers on Instagram — shared posted a video titled “How...
An Australian influencer is receiving backlash after faking a foot injury in order to get a better seat on a flight.
The controversy began when Jamie Zhu — who has over 1.1 million followers on Instagram — shared posted a video titled “How To Fly Business Class For FREE!” on his YouTube page on Jan 15.
In the three-minute video, Zhu puts on a fracture boot and pretends to have a broken ankle for his Cathay Pacific flight. When he fails to fit the foot brace inside his economy seat, he is successfully upgraded to a business class after asking a cabin crew member for another seat.
“Oh my God, guys, it actually worked,” he says, filming himself from his new accommodations.
The video then shows Zhu enjoying the luxe amenities from his business class seat. At one point, the social media star takes off his fracture boot and casually puts up his feet on the recliner.
He ends video strolling off his flight while a Cathay Pacific employee says to him: “I hope your ankle gets better.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” Zhu responds.
The video, which has received over 124,000 views, has been criticized by viewers — with many YouTube users calling out Zhu for being a “fraud” and taking advantage of the situation.
“So you committed fraud and posted the whole act here? This should be handy in court,” one user wrote.
While another commented, “Loser. I spent weeks in a boot for surgery. Disabilities are not something to prank about!!!”
“It’s people like you that make the lives of honest people more difficult,” a commenter posted. “Scumbag.”
A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific and Zhu did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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Despite the backlash, Zhu defended the video and told Insider that the stunt was a “cheeky, clever, and lighthearted prank to play.”
“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,” he said, telling the publication, “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.”