Would You Fake An Illness, Disability, Or Loss Of A Family Member For A Travel Upgrade?

March 15, 2016  |  



Writer Christopher Elliott wrote about a topic that many people avoid discussing because we’ve probably had a friend or two who has done the unmentionable. That is, feign illness, disability and even the loss of a loved one to receive preferential treatment when they travel.

In his USA Today article, “Travel liars, pants on fire,” Elliott details how one woman observed a passenger on a cruise pretend to be handicapped to board the ship first.

“The woman ambled effortlessly through the buffet line and all over the ship while they were at sea. ‘But whenever we had shore excursions or ports that required a tender, she was suddenly in a wheelchair to get priority boarding and sit in the handicapped seats in the front of the tour bus,’ she remembers.”

People similar to such a faker have also been known to board airplanes in wheelchairs, only to walk off the plane once they’ve landed in their warm-weather destination. Elliott claims that these situations are called “hallelujah flights,” because, well, it’s quite the miracle the things they can do when no one is looking. Another woman confessed to Elliott that there was a time where she told an airline company her uncle had just died so she wouldn’t have to pay a fee to change her flight itinerary.

Said dead uncle passed away 12 years prior.

There are also scheming passengers who pretend their pets are service animals so they don’t have to pay the airplane carrier another fee, even though they don’t have a disability. And all this lying doesn’t stop at transportation and extra fees. Jetsetter.com reports that about 39 percent of hotel guests lie in order to receive an upgrade.

Because this behavior is becoming the norm due to high travel fees, Elliott notes that those who have real disabilities or illnesses are paying the consequences, saying, “[When] ‘you take up a wheelchair just so you can board early, you aren’t just gaming the system — you’re also taking a service from someone who might really need it.”

Though many would like to blame the travel industry and their unconscionable prices for such schemes, I think we can all admit that it’s a bit ridiculous the lengths some are going to get what they might consider a deal.

Have you lied during your travels to receive complimentary benefits from your airplane provider or hotel? Share, below.

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