YouTube star Jamie Zhu slammed after faking injury to get upgrade with Cathay Pacific

An Australian YouTube star has come under criticism online for faking a broken ankle to get a free upgrade on a long-haul flight.

Jamie Zhu, whose channel has more than 700,000 subscribers, shared a video this January entitled "How to Fly Business Class for FREE!".

"I've just gone to the airport and I've got a very long international flight ahead of me. I've thought of an idea where I might be able to get a business class flight for free," he tells the camera. "I really hope this works."

Zhu then buys an orthopaedic ("moon") boot from a chemist, telling an employee that he broke his ankle recently, and puts it on before making his way to the departure gate for his Cathay Pacific flight.

On the plane, he attempts to get into his economy class seat but tells the passenger next to him and a flight attendant that his booted foot won't fit beneath it.

"Excuse me, the boot doesn't fit in here," he tells the flight attendant. "It's not fitting. Can I get, like, another seat or something? Nah, I can't fit here at all because of the boot. I've got a broken ankle."

The flight attendant says "yeah, okay", adding that she has to get the necessary clearance, which she quickly does after Zhu repeats that his ankle is broken.

Zhu is then moved to business class, where he tells viewers "Oh my god guys, it actually worked".

There, he takes off the moon boot, stretches out and makes the most of the business class food and drinks menu.


Toward the end of the video, he boasts that he "had an amazing eight-hour sleep", telling the friend filming, who said he got about eight minutes sleep, to get back to economy class.

Walking off the plane without his moon boot, airline staff tell him they hope his ankle gets better soon, to which he replies "Oh yeah, I forgot about that" and strides off.

The video, which had been viewed more than 73,000 times at the time of the writing, attracted largely negative comments.

"His act is no different than 'shop lifting' or 'stealing' and he should be prosecuted accordingly. That was not an entertaining act," one person said.

"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," said another.

"Jamie, what have you done? 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," said a third.

Cathay Pacific has been approached for comment.

Zhu has since said he has no regrets about the stunt and would do it again

"I have had a mixed response but most of my followers loved it and thought it was a cheeky, clever, and lighthearted prank to play," he told Insider.

"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."

Zhu is far from the first person to attempt to fake his way onto a flight. In September 2019, 32-year-old Jayesh Patel was stopped at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport after disguising himself as an elderly man while attempting to get on a flight to New York.

His documentation said he was 81-year-old Amrick Singh, born in Delhi in February 1938. But security officials noticed the roots in his hair and beard were black rather than white and his skin was "of a younger person", Shrikant Kishore, a senior official with the Central Industrial Security Force, told CNN . "He was definitely not 80 years old."

He was handed over to immigration authorities for using a fake passport, though why he chose to impersonate a much older man was unclear.

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