Instant Upgrade Please

I like sharing some of the wackier things I see when travelling.

A passenger on my Air France flight last week, moved himself from Economy to Business Class just on pushback from the gate.

The flight attendant very swiftly chased the passenger back to the economy section. A few seconds later, while the plane was stil taxiing to the runway, the same passenger moved himself into an exit row seat (middle seat actually).

I had a few questions:

1. Was this a regular trick he tries?  If so, does it ever work?

2. Was he not aware that most airlines have seat allocations?

3. Why did he think that Business Class was accessible to him without having paid for it?

4. Did it matter that he had not had an exit row briefing?


  1. My friend tried to do this, although only one time, from JFK to HKG on CX. During boarding he just plopped himself down in an empty Biz seat. Shortly after the door closed, they asked him for his name, and told him he was actually in EC (which he was). They said if he wanted to stay, he could purchase the ticket in Biz for a cool $15k. He spent the next 14.5 hours in EC.

  2. How about this: The guy is a slimeball and a jerk! What more do you really need to know? Another dufus who thinks he is somehow entitled to things he is not! Seriously, are you kidding with your questions? They seem rather native(no offense intended).

  3. Most of the time people are just playing stupid and move themselves to Biz or EC expecting the flight attendant won’t notice. If I see someone doing that I will call the fligh attendant and tell about it. On the other hand, you would be amazed to see in flights to South America the number of people that have never been on a plane before and just don’t have a clue of what is going on. I have seen many people holding seat 99Z (just a joke but really on the back of the plane) and they enter teh front door and try to find their seat in the biz class section. Hello!!!!!! It makes me laugh so hard.

  4. I did a few trips to IST on Turkish Airlines last year, and this practice was pretty common, although in Comfort Class (their Premium Economy). At the minimum, they would come lounge in a Comfort Class seat, socialize, and then leave an hour or so later. Odd…

  5. Not to long ago I tried this, and I had checked three pieces of lugagge exactly three hours before departure, I told the captain that EC was to norrow, and I wanted either to deplane with my luggage or seat in BC, he choose BC in order not to miss his slot.

  6. This is the product of a very bored blogger. As a blogger, you should provide answers, not questions. If you have questions, use Flyertalk

  7. I remember once upon a time from JFK to Narita boarding late and just sat in the business class. And enjoyed a great ride to Japan.

    Sadly, the system got smart but so what if someone still gives it a try. But why are posters whining about trying to snake some biz class action. Good for them for having the balls to try, rather than the wusses that just sit and say “oooh, he’s a slimeball”. Wuss.

  8. This happened on a recent flight of mine. The guy was bounced back to coach. I think these people are infrequent fliers who dont realize that the flight attendants have a list of who is flying and in what seat.

  9. I’ve done it once! I got bored, and wander off away from my family, and ended up falling asleep in the business class section. It wasn’t until a few hours later when my dad came pick me up. The flight attendants played with me too, and even gave me ice cream!

    Those were to golden days, 1986, when i was 6, TPE-LAX on CI….

  10. Seriously, Stephan? You are implying that “native” somehow equates to stupid or naive, and don’t intend any offense?

  11. I think most people understand my questions here are rhetorical ponderings! I am not bored and don’t think I am a naive native!

    As I said, I don’t know why he did it or how often he has tried this trick. For those passengers who have cashed in points or paid out the $3000 extra for this flight sector, then they would be wanting the passenger dropped off in a parachute.

    I have been on a number of flights (and seated up front legally) and watched passengers with numbers in double digits peering intently at the numbers. Maybe they are hoping the numbering of plane starts at 33?

    As to his nationality? He was British.

  12. “This is the product of a very bored blogger. As a blogger, you should provide answers, not questions” “I don’t understand the point of this post.”

    Wow, Martin you certainly attract a diverse bunch of idiotic people. (I’m guessing Timmer1001 will hate the Cowling Report!!) Just for the record I enjoy reading your blog(s). And if I start finding you boring, rather than writing inane comments I just won’t visit the site – such are the marvels of the internet.

  13. Thank you Jason. Relieved after some of these comments today, that I indeed have a fan still! Hello to you and all my other fans! People keep coming back so there must be something I am doing right!

  14. I was speaking to a flight attendant about this kinda thing. he said that the Flight Attendants have a passenger manifest of how many passengers are in first, biz, premium economy, and economy. He also said that if someone does it, he/she will be marched back to their original class. Another passenger then made a joke “they should not be fed then throughout the flight! 🙂 “

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