News, Culture & Society

Instagram influencer Jamie Zhu fakes broken ankle for free business class upgrade on flight

Genius or criminal? Instagram influencer divides opinion after faking a broken ankle to score a free upgrade to business class on his overseas flight

  • Instagram influencer films his free flight upgrade by faking a broken ankle
  • Jamie Zhu wore moon boot to convince Cathay Pacific staff of granting upgrade
  • He then films himself enjoying the perks, including a good night’s sleep 
  • Video has gone viral within days and sparked a divided reaction from viewers 

An Australian social media influencer has publicly boasted how he scored a free upgrade to business class on a long haul flight by pretending he had a broken ankle.

Jamie Zhu was originally booked to fly economy class on a recent international flight with Cathay Pacific, but came up with a cheeky idea to score a better seat.  

The 26-year-old shared a divisive video clip titled ‘How To Fly Business Class For Free’ to his 1.1 million Instagram fans and almost 700,000 YouTube subscribers.

The three-minute video begins with Zhu buying a moon boot at the airport chemist, which he immediately puts on and is filmed limping through the terminal.

He convinced staff to give him a free upgrade

Jamie Zhu bought a moon boot in the airport chemist and convinces crew he has a broken leg

After arriving at his allocated seat on the plane, he insists to fellow passengers and airline staff his moon boot can’t fit in the restricted leg room provided.

‘It’s not fitting,’ he explains. 

‘The boot doesn’t fit in here. Can I get another seat or something? I can’t fit here at all because of the boot. I’ve got a broken ankle.’ 

The air hostess replies she has to get clearance from another staff member but the bold ploy works. 

Zhu films himself enjoying the business class perks, including drinks, a fine dining menu, eye masks, extra leg room and comfy blankets and pillow.

Jamie enjoy a tipple from the fine dining menu

Jamie enjoyed an eight hour sleep in business class

The Sydney-based social media influencer enjoyed the in-flight business class service

‘It worked!’ he laughs as he films selfies of himself posing with the smiling cabin crew.  

Zhu also enjoyed a comfortable eight hours sleep, thanks to his upgrade. 

‘That was such a relaxing flight,’ Zhu says as he disembarks the plane.

‘I hope your ankle gets better,’ an airline staff member farewells him.

‘Oh yeah, I forgot about that,’ Zhu responds.

The three minute video attracted 252,000 views on Instagram and another 40,000 on YouTube within days.

He decides from the business class menu as he puts his feet up (minus the moon boot)

He decides from the business class menu as he puts his feet up (minus the moon boot)

The video sparked a divisive reaction from viewers.

‘This guy is clearly a genius businessman,’ one commented.

Another added: ‘You cheeky b*****d.’ 

Others were amazed at Zhu’s gall to pull off the ploy.

‘My boot would slide off from sweating too much with anxiety to pull this off,’ an Instagram follower replied.

But many viewers slammed the video with some claiming it was fake.

Jamie Zhu (pictured right) has more than 1.1million followers on Instagram

Jamie Zhu (pictured right) has more than 1.1million followers on Instagram

‘It’s KIDS like him that’s wrong with our society and social platforms that lets these KIDS get attention. He either paid and is only doing this for attention (don’t most do it nowadays) OR he committed fraud and soon to (hopefully) get sued by the airline for the cost and damages. People should unfollow these idiots,’ a furious viewer posted. 

Another added: ‘This is a big NO NO. I feel sorry for people that have real health issues, because for sure, airlines will be stricter, and they won’t give the kind of treatment they gave you because of what you did.’

Other angry viewers suggested the airline bill Zhu’s credit card to pay for the difference.

‘His act is no different than ‘shoplifting’ or ‘stealing’ and he should be prosecuted accordingly. That was not an entertaining act,’ one wrote. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Cathay Pacific and Zhu for comment. 

Zhu describes himself on his YouTube account as ‘a crazy Australian guy from Sydney with some weird and fun ideas.’

Not everyone found Jamie Zhu's video on how to score a flight upgrade entertaining

Not everyone found Jamie Zhu’s video on how to score a flight upgrade entertaining


Find local lawyers and law firms at