Airline Takes Revenge After Bad Review, Posts Passenger’s Passport Online

YouTuber Josh Cahill, who has nearly 700,000 subscribers, reviews flights and courts drama, it seems. Just a couple of months ago he was banned by Qatar Airways over a negative review.

Now he’s taken on East Timor’s Aero Dili. He flew the carrier from Bali to Dili Airport in East Timor, posted a negative review of his trip on the airline’s only jet, and claimed to have gotten food poisoning on board.

In response, the airline took to Facebook to accuse Cahill of trying to extort them, demanding the following for a positive review:

  • a free flight
  • hotel accommodations
  • per diem to cover food
  • $50,000 cash

They didn’t post messages to support this demand. Instead, the airline posted a photo of his… passport?

Cahill discovered that East Timor has no data protection laws. Posting his passport photo wasn’t illegal. (I’d note that the government of East Timor introduced a draft Data Privacy and Protection Law in 2021 but it is not in effect.) Aero Dili is not an IATA member, so didn’t run afoul of their guidelines either. He wants his viewers to demand that Singapore block Aero Dili’s planned service there because of its failure to adhere to data protection standards.

One Mile at a Time points out that it’s a poor practice on the part of the airline to post this passport photo. There’s nothing to be gained, and opens them up to significant criticism. He believes Cahill that the demands supposedly placed on the airline are “totally made up.”

Think what you may of Cahill, but I 100% believe him when he says that the accusations by the airline are completely baseless. C’mon, he wanted a free flight, a food allowance, and $50,000, in exchange for a positive review, from a small, national airline? No, that’s totally made up.

It wouldn’t surprise me if,

  • Cahill reached out to the airline to see if they’d offer him the flight, and to sponsor the review? As OMAAT observes the amount requested would be a bit rich for Aero Dili.
  • A video review needs to offer drama – either amazing over-the-top experience or absolute misery – in order to perform well.

The airline maybe believes it was extortion, while Cahill just sees himself reporting (and perhaps dramatizing) what actually happened? Posting an email outlining the YouTuber’s sponsorship request, if there was one, would have been far more appropriate than posting a photo of his passport.

Cahill’s followers are all over Aero Dili’s social media. I have to think they’re overwhelmed, it’s literally an airline that lists aerodili2018 as its gmail address.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s because he lies. He doesn’t want to affiliate his birth name to his “professional name”. His issue in Tumor Leste is a fault of his own (he should’ve used the Name in the MRZ, I’ve had this issue for years, and have made the same mistakes). Or he should simply change his name legally.
    Also, he states that he studied at The University of Melbourne (BA) from 2012-2013, however he didn’t graduate because there’s no one under Cahill or Wendholt who graduated a BA from 2012-2014. He was only in Australia between those years, so I’m amazed he “picked up” such a strong Australian accent. Yes, he makes many grammatical “denglish” errors, that he has no idea about.

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