Cathay Pacific Passenger Fakes Leg Injury And Gets Free Business Upgrade

What would you do to get an upgrade on your next flight? Most of us work on the basis of improving our status or accruing miles. Heck, sometimes we even just straight up pay for it. But one Cathay Pacific passenger came up with an ingenious means of securing a place in the premium cabin. And he got away with it too!

Here’s how he did it (please, don’t try this at home).

free upgrade on cathay
Want to know how to get a free upgrade on Cathay? Photo: Cathay Pacific.

How to get a free upgrade on Cathay Pacific

According to a video posted on Instagram, one cheeky long hauler came up with an ingenious way to snag a free upgrade to business on his Cathay flight. In the video, the young man can be seen arriving at the airport, seemingly of sound mind and body. Well, body at least.

Wishing to fly in a more comfortable seat than he’d paid for, the guy enters a drugstore at the airport and requests a ‘moon boot’. The assistant happily sells him a type of leg brace, intended for victims recovering from broken ankles. Wearing the device and adopting a fake limp, he heads for the gate.

Upon boarding the plane, the passenger finds his seat and attempts to sit down. However, the moon boot is too big to fit between the seats. Or, at least, that’s what the passenger makes out. He flags down a passing flight attendant and requests an alternative seat.

Moon boot upgrade
The passenger made a meal out of trying to fit in the seat. Photo: Jamiezhu/Instagram

The Cathay crew, exemplifying the great customer care that the airline is known for, pulls out all the stops and allows the man to take an empty seat in the business class cabin. There, he proceeds to enjoy all the lavish food, lie flat comfort and large IFE screens that others in the cabin would have paid substantially to experience.

As he departs the plane, the purser (who originally moved him) wishes his ankle a speedy recovery. The passenger, no longer wearing the moon boot or the fake limp, responds with, “Ah, I forgot about that”. Cheekiness to the point of ridiculousness. You can watch the entire thing on the video below:


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Fake news?

Although the chap in the video is clearly pleased with the outcome of his endeavors, the frequent flier community has responded in anger. Posters on the Flyer Talk forum have called for Cathay to ban him and to send lawyers after him. However, many are actually calling into question the legitimacy of the video.

Some are of the opinion that the passenger would more likely have been moved to an exit row or bulkhead to give him space for his injury, rather than being upgraded to business. Also, the majority of airlines do their upgrades at the gate, so it’s unlikely that there would have been a spare J class seat by the time he was boarded.

Cathay Pacific Business Class
Cathay Pacific Business Class. Photo: Cathay Pacific

Most are of the general consensus that the video is fake, and that the passenger was ticketed in business anyway. Some have even called out that the sleeping passenger in the adjacent J class seat looks a lot like his dad (who apparently features in other Instagram videos by the same person).

It’s hard to know which way to go on this. There were certainly other options available before an upgrade would have happened, but if the video was wholly manufactured, it suggests that the Cathay crew were in on the stunt. With several having their faces clearly visible in the video, would they really risk their jobs like that?

Real or fake? What do you think?  Let us know in the comments.