One man says he secures “poor man’s first class” – an entire row of coach seats to himself – using a “genius hack.” But when it works, it’s fraud. It frequently fails. But if you follow real advice you accomplish the same thing, guaranteed, at a reasonable cost. Isn’t that much better than getting your travel tips from Instagram?
- He buys extra refundable tickets for his flights, using fictitious passenger names, and assigns them seats next to his.
- Then he cancels these reservations at the last minute, right before the flight, so that they are empty and it doesn’t cost him anything.
This is a bad idea.
Before this idea showed up on Instagram, it was making the rounds on TikTok. But here’s what you should know about this idea, that they don’t tell you in the video.
- You can actually book more than one seat for yourself, legitimately. “Poor man’s first class” would be buying 3 seats in a row for yourself, cheap, and major airlines generally let you do this but you’ll need to call.
- Cancelling tickets at the last minute doesn’t actually get you these empty seats. Passengers on standby will get them, certainly on a full flight. Other passengers may move into these seats also.
- It’s against airline rules, and fraud. You may have your frequent flyer account closed, and could even be banned from travel on the airline.
Buying seats that you do not intend to fly, to keep other people from buying them, creates actual harm to the airline (it prevents them from earning revenue). They won’t sit idly by. Consequences could be even greater.
This is another form of an idea that passengers used to do with upgrades years ago, until airlines caught on and cracked down. Customers would book refundable first class tickets to keep some seats in the cabin from being sold. Cancel at the last minute, then there are upgrade seats open. If you have the highest status, those seats go to you.
You can imagine airlines look unfavorably on customers who prevent them from selling their most valuable product, in order to obtain it for free. It’s an easy way to get banned, and loss of an elite frequent flyer account that gets upgrades is an even bigger loss. It’s also not too tough to figure out when this happens semi-regularly.