an airplane seat with a seat belt

If you ever want to spice up your life a little bit, try telling people you’re a “blogger” when they ask what you do for a living. Even better, let someone else tell the other person you’re an “influencer” and see how that goes down. It can be…. amusing.

But I love blogging, in fact – I live for it, and I really believe it can play a positive impact on the world, from how to make quick and easy meals to seeing more of the world for less.

Nothing makes me happier than sitting at my computer and trying to add value to the audience I’m lucky enough to have curated over the years, one bad joke at a time. I’m honestly happiest at home, doing what I do in the purest form. It’s for this simple reason that I find the fake injury business class upgrade influencer/blogger story from the past week appalling.

Even in a world of special a-holes, you have to be quite a piece of work to do what this guy has done.

an airplane seat with a seat beltThe Backstory

An Australian “influencer” video’d himself getting “upgraded” on a Cathay Pacific flight. The upgrade is in quotes, because some believe that the entire story was manufactured, and in fact the person in question always had a business class seat and simply faked the upgrade method to gain traction.

The premise was that the influencer bought a medical style foot boot, claiming that he was injured. He then boarded and said he could not fit in his “economy” row, and was upgraded to business class on medical grounds. He then proceeded to write about how faking an injury is the way to get a free “upgrade” to business class. You can read about the stunt here.

I’m Utterly Furious

People assume bloggers are just freebie seeking freeloaders spending hours disturbing other guests by the hotel pool in hopes of the perfect Instagram shot. Those exist, sure, but that’s a unique group and not one that those who do this as a legitimate living tend to consider colleagues.

They’re also the ones who tend to call themselves “influencers”, though I highly question whether they have any actual influence, trust or sway over anyone, at all.

I think that most bloggers who add value to readers, actually go to great lengths and expense not to accept freebie offerings, so that there’s no conflict when an opinion is offered. Further, they try and highlight offers and concepts which others can duplicate and learn from, such as actual ways to get upgraded that do work.

What grinds my gears with this story is not the typical wannabe shenanigans, those are everywhere, but the doubt this person will create for those with legitimate medical issues in the future. Read as: I don’t care about this person at all, but I care about the impact their selfish shenanigans will cause on others.

If you’ve ever travelled under medical duress, or know someone who suffers from real life conditions which make elements of travel borderline unbearable, you can’t help but be irate. No one will ever see someone with a boot in the airport and look at them the same. That’s horrible and makes the world a worse place to be. Bad Vibes

Of course I’m not naive enough to believe others haven’t pulled similar tactics for an upgrade before, but to have the audacity to encourage others to do it, and say that you blatantly, willingly, knowingly chose to do this, when there are things like miles, cash upgrade bid offers and airport walk up offers out there is unconscionable.

Even some of the most audacious other stories, such as sneaking into business class under the cover of darkness have very little long term impact. Crews are trained to lookout for this, and if someone is indeed successful, it’s not the end of the world. The airline is kinda the only one who loses out there, not everyone on earth with a legitimate medical problem, who may one day really benefit from a kind crew showing compassion.

I think it’s always important when writing a story to say: what will the impact be? Will someone be negatively impacted by this and is this doing more good than harm?

If it were my mom, dad or anyone I love, I’d hope for an airline to do what they could to make their journey more comfortable, should they be in real pain. Knowing that this bellend has put the bad vibes on this is just disgusting. It makes people hate “influencers”, “bloggers” and others in ways that they may have no part of, further developing a pre-conceived bias, which may not be fair at all.

Whatever you do, just don’t watch his YouTube video. If you do, you’re feeding someone whose career in “influencing” should be rather short lived…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Here is what is going to ruin blogging as an occupation for bloggers:
    1. Posting fake stuff to get “viral” publicity like this guy did, Pyramid guy did last week, etc.
    2. Lying to people. Most social media consumers have little knowledge of affiliate marketing but they are slowly learning. Once that cat is entirely out of the bag it will be game over for many bloggers that make a living (honest or otherwise) in that space.
    3. Getting off-topic. If you are a food blogger don’t preach to me about global warming. If you are a car review blogger don’t preach to me about LGBT issues. If you’re a travel blogger don’t preach to me about politics unless it directly involves travel like say Hong Kong currently. This issue goes back to #1 it might drive a spike in traffic but it will push away long term readers.

  2. How is this different from all the bloggers like you that rave about bogus business Credit Card Applications (and other bogus credit card applications, applying, getting the bonus, and then never using the cards), forcing banks to be scrutinize more and possibly denying credit card applications to legitimate small business owners in the future…

    In addition, in a world where bloggers promote and elevate business class flying to new Holy Grail levels (despite the fact that most flights are a mere 12hr in still a very uncomfortable seat/bed, using the floor space of 3 economy seats, and thus polluting for the equivalent of three economy travelers), shouldn’t people do what it take to reach this have/have not ‘status’. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

      1. Minos is not high. He’s just a loser of low intelligence who cannot comprehend the difference between people like you and scum like that Ausie guy you wrote about. It’s unfortunate that scammers and crooks take advantage of so many things in ways that hurt the masses of honest users/people.

  3. These are the stupidest post ever! The bitch that wrote this has a fake but fun career flyIng around the world … fake travel blogging on Behalf of Amex & Chase, gaming himself into premium seats with real buz travelers. Now hes utterly furious that some kid gamed the system and got bumped to first class… kinda like hes doing with his blog… either this punk needs some sex or some integrity… furious? Really?

    1. 1) These typically refers to things in plural, whereas this is just one post. I believe you were looking for “this” and even as a superlative adjective, stupidest wasn’t likely the most intellectual choice for your savage burn.

      2) I am not a “b!tch” as you so eloquently remarked.

      3) I hold top tier status with 3 concurrent international airlines, all from paid business class flights. If that’s gaming, it’s not a very exciting game, but it’s quite an expensive one.

      4) If you are someone travelling and spending money who is not earning points to land yourself a first class seat at some point, you’re doing it wrong.

      5) I’m expecting a child on Friday, so I think that summarises your further points quite well.

      God Save The Points

  4. Gilbert, you gave me a new perspective on this guy’s antics, thanks. Has it been determined whether the video is legit (ie, did he really get upgraded or was it edited to make it look like he was)?

  5. Dude, haven’t read the comments for a while, but it has really become the Wild West down here. How do you attract so many idiots to post on your stuff?

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