Creator NDA, who claims to offer “business and finance education”, shared a video on 22 February in which he encouraged passengers to buy an entire row of fully refundable seats, before returning two of the three tickets 45 minutes before boarding.
Captioned “How to get a poor man’s first class”, NDA claims that airlines rarely have sufficient time to resell the tickets “meaning I get this row all to myself”.
The video, which has been viewed more than 90,000 times, has split opinion.
While some viewers described the hack as “smart”, many felt it was unethical or that the seats would not stay vacant for long.
“The catch is they overbook flights and you’re gonna share the row with two anyways”, wrote one person, while another agreed that the seats would quickly be filled with passengers on standby.
“It’s hard to see this working. I’ve been on flights that took off late so they could fill in seats”, wrote another.
“Even if it would work, it’s no honourable way to work and eventually will make flying even more expensive”, commented one.
Others were less charitable, however, describing the “hack” as a “d***head move” and NDA as “selfish”.
Another warned that airlines “track bad behaviour like that and eventually block you”, while one viewer added: “The catch is the airlines will stop offering refundable tickets and the rest of us suffer”.
One person quipped: “So I could book an entire plane and cancel every seat except one 45 minutes prior, and I would have a private plane?”
The subject of aeroplane etiquette shows no sign of abating, with travellers frequently clashing over what they believe constitutes appropriate behaviour while in the air.
In January, one TikToker filmed himself tussling with a fellow passenger over whether to close the window blind, while in the same month, a reality TV star sparked a debate after applauding herself for staying seated after landing, until it was time for her row to exit.
While some commenters commended Batsheva Haart, who starred in My Unorthodox Life, others explained that they had places to be.
“Some people have layovers that are short and don’t have time to sit around and wait,” one person wrote, while another said they were keen to stretch after being confined in their seat.
“Some of us stand to stretch our backs,” they wrote. “Has nothing to do with getting off sooner and hurts absolutely no one.”