Instagram influencer resorts to fake foot injury just for free Business Class upgrade

Instagram influencer Jamie Zhu is facing criticism after he pretended to have a fake foot injury in order to get a free business class upgrade on his Cathay Pacific flight

An Instagram influencer from Australia has sparked outrage after faking an injury in order to get a free Business Class upgrade on a flight.

How to Fly Business Class for free?

The blogger, identified as Jamie Zhu, has more than 1.1. million subscribers on Instagram, and 700,000 YouTube subscribers shared a video titled "How to Fly Business Class For FREE!" on YouTube last week. In it, he brags about how he plans to bag a free upgrade from economy to business class on a Cathay Pacific flight by pretending to have an injury.

Jamie Zhu
A screenshot from Jamie Zhu's YouTube video. YouTube / Jamie Zhu

The three-minute clip shows Zhu putting on an orthopaedic boot purchased from an airport pharmacy and pretending to have a broken ankle for his flight. He can then be seen pretending to try and fit the boot in his economy seat and requests the flight attendant to find him another place to seat.

The plan worked, and Zhu is moved to business class, where once seated, he removes the boot and enjoys all the perks of an upgrade, including a superior meal, free wine, and a fully reclining seat. "I had an amazing eight-hour sleep, I just woke up," he later says in the video. "That was such a relaxing flight."

Before leaving the aircraft, the flight attendant says, "I hope your ankle gets better, to which Zhu, who is no longer wearing the boot, responds," Oh yeah, I forgot about that." Watch the full video below:

YouTube /Jamie Zhu

Backlash over "fraudulent" act

The video, which has garnered more than 129,000 views, has been criticized by viewers with many calling out Zhu for being a "fraud" and taking advantage of the situation.

"The title should be 'how to scam people in order to get more attention on social media'. Loser," wrote one viewer, while another commented: "Shame on you! My daughter is a flight attendant and you are taking advantage of their good will to try and help those in need."

Zhu responds to criticism

Despite the negative comments, Zhu defended the video and told Insider that the stunt was nothing more than a "cheeky, clever, and lighthearted prank."

"Some other people felt the need to criticise 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 added. "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, light-hearted, and entertaining content and the video really showcased Cathay Pacific's high standard of customer service on their flights."