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An economy passenger says they snuck into business class on British Airways — and got away with it for an entire 8-hour flight

INSIDER logoINSIDER 7/11/2019 Rachel Hosie
  • An anonymous traveler says they managed to sneak into business class on a long-haul flight, despite having an economy ticket.
  • Writing for the Telegraph, the flier explained how they allegedly managed to live the high life on an eight-hour British Airways flight from Singapore to Sydney.
  • The Telegraph reports to have proof the story is true, but British Airways says it's unable to verify the claims if the passenger remains anonymous.
  • However, the airline told INSIDER it's extremely unlikely the flier would have managed to pull off such a crime.
  • Visit INSIDER's homepage for more stories.

We've all thought about it.

As you peer round the curtain from your cramped economy seat and catch a glimpse of the Champagne being handed out just a few meters away, you sigh and gaze longingly at a travel experience that is simultaneously so close but so far.

And it hurts all the more when, upon walking past the plush pods of business class to get to the coach section, you realize there are empty seats.

It would be so easy, it sometimes seems, simply to sneak into one of those seats. Most of us, however, would never dare.

But one person claims to have done just that.

An anonymous traveler says they snuck into business class on a recent British Airways flight -- and managed to stay there for the duration of the eight-hour journey from Singapore to Sydney.

Telling their alleged tale in the Telegraph, the writer says they hatched their plan after a particularly unpleasant first leg of their journey from the UK to Australia, and the scheme began before even boarding the plane.

"When I prepared to board the plane again for the second leg of the journey to Sydney, I waited for every single other passenger to get on first," the traveller writes.

"I lurked surreptitiously at the gates, pretending to be on my phone, until the very last harried mother dragged her three kids onboard and one of the staff ushered me in behind them."

This way, they knew any empty business class seat would genuinely be unoccupied. 

Of course, the next potential hurdle was being asked to show a ticket to cabin crew upon boarding the plane. But, somehow, the traveler claims to have got away with it.

"I brazenly flashed my economy class ticket at the smiling air stewardess, who clearly didn't properly inspect it, walked straight over to that seat in the darkest corner of business class, and sat down," they say.

"I genuinely think, upon reflection, that most airline staff must assume no-one would be mad or stupid enough to try a stunt like this."

The traveler goes on to say that they felt nervous and tense for the first 90 minutes of the flight, but relaxed afterwards.

They says they passed on the complimentary Champagne, fancy dinner, and breakfast, concerned that their seat was meant to be empty so there might not have been enough food on board - and also probably felt a bit guilty about what they called a "diabolical" crime.

However, they didn't have any qualms about "raiding the complimentary kit of goodies" and enjoying some shut-eye while reclined flat under an "absurdly soft blanket."

The writer seems to be as surprised as anyone else that they got away with the "disgraceful crime," but admits that they did feel guilty as the flight came to an end. 

While the Telegraph reports that the story has been verified, British Airways could not confirm if the story was true or not without the writer's anonymity being lifted.

When INSIDER contacted the airline to ask about what would happen if an economy passenger hypothetically snuck into business class, a spokesperson said that it's incredibly unlikely this could ever happen because cabin crews have seat maps for each flight, so they know which seats are meant to be occupied and which should be vacant.

"We want all of our customers to be comfortable in whichever cabin they choose to fly, and our cabin crew are trained to deliver excellent service to everyone," British Airways told INSIDER in a statement.

"Our cabin crew access and check the passenger seating system on their iPads on every flight and would be aware of any additional customers who had moved to a different seat than the one printed on their boarding pass."

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