Jamie Zhu wore a fracture boot and pretended to have a broken ankle during a Cathay Pacific flight

By Gabrielle Chung
January 22, 2020 10:58 PM
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Credit: YouTube

An Australian influencer is receiving backlash after faking a foot injury in order to get a better seat on a flight.

The controversy began when Jamie Zhu — who has over 1.1 million followers on Instagram — shared posted a video titled “How To Fly Business Class For FREE!” on his YouTube page on Jan 15.

In the three-minute video, Zhu puts on a fracture boot and pretends to have a broken ankle for his Cathay Pacific flight. When he fails to fit the foot brace inside his economy seat, he is successfully upgraded to a business class after asking a cabin crew member for another seat.

“Oh my God, guys, it actually worked,” he says, filming himself from his new accommodations.

The video then shows Zhu enjoying the luxe amenities from his business class seat. At one point, the social media star takes off his fracture boot and casually puts up his feet on the recliner.

He ends video strolling off his flight while a Cathay Pacific employee says to him: “I hope your ankle gets better.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” Zhu responds.

The video, which has received over 124,000 views, has been criticized by viewers — with many YouTube users calling out Zhu for being a “fraud” and taking advantage of the situation.

“So you committed fraud and posted the whole act here? This should be handy in court,” one user wrote.

While another commented, “Loser. I spent weeks in a boot for surgery. Disabilities are not something to prank about!!!”

“It’s people like you that make the lives of honest people more difficult,” a commenter posted. “Scumbag.”

A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Amid the backlash, Zhu told PEOPLE in a statement: “I think people are looking way too much into it and need to understand it was a little prank. How often have we all tried to get something for a discounted rate, or tried to find loop holes to save costs?”

“I feel as if the majority of people are actually upset they didn’t think of the trick in the first place,” he continued. “I filmed and posted a lighthearted video where I tested out a trick and it happened to work. All I have to say is if anything, the video showcases the amazing customer care that Cathay Pacific offer.”