The differences between business class and economy class are great enough that you often see the passengers doing long stares at those seats as they make their way back to coach. I am sure that the thought of “self-upgrading” or stealing an upgrade has occurred to some people at some stage of travel! Thankfully, most people never act on that. However, this passenger on one of my flights did and she pulled it off.
This Passenger Stole a Business Class Seat on Turkish Airlines
This summer, I was flying business class on Turkish Airlines between Boston and Istanbul. I have flown them probably around 20 times and really enjoy the whole experience. There is a lot to like about Turkish Airlines business class (and even more to like when they roll out their newest business class next year!) for sure!
Here Comes the Passenger – Surveying the Business Class Cabin
On this particular flight, I was seated in the back of the cabin. I noticed this woman walk up through the curtains separating coach from business class and slowly walk forward through the cabin, looking at the seats as she went. Now, I know this woman had not been sitting in business and I was curious to see if she was just hoping to use the restroom or if she had bigger plans.
It turned out that she had bigger plans! The passenger in the front row of business class had just asked the flight attendants to make up her bed while she was in the bathroom. So, there was a freshly made business class bed and this passenger from coach could not help herself. The whole thing was playing out a like a little bit of a Goldilocks story as the passenger from coach looked around one more time and then lay down on the bed.
I was watching in disbelief and also a bit of curiosity as I really wanted to see what happened (this was not the first time I have seen someone sneak a business class seat!) when the flight attendant asked her to move back to her seat. Shortly, the business class passenger exited the bathroom and walked toward her seat. She stopped in surprise to see this other lady lying in her bed! She checked the seat numbers and then bent over to talk to the lady.
She Got Exactly WHAT SHE WANTED!
Apparently, the lady that had stolen the seat did not reply so the rightful owner of the seat went and asked a flight attendant to come. The flight attendant started speaking to the lady from coach and then gently shaking her shoulder. That’s right, either the lady had already fallen asleep or she was doing a great job of faking it! No matter how much the flight attendant shook her shoulder, the lady would not budge!
Eventually, the flight attendant made up another seat for the business class passenger, just across the aisle. The flight attendant was very apologetic and the passenger was handling it very well. After about 4 hours, the passenger from coach woke up and the flight attendant quickly went over to her and told her she needed to leave the seat. She escorted her back to coach and that was the last we saw of her.
I couldn’t believe the lady had been that brazen but she had gotten exactly what she wanted – a few hours of sleep in a lie-flat bed. I am honestly not sure what should be done in a situation like this, do you have the airline staff meet her on the ground and charge her extra for what she did?
What do you think should have been done to this passenger and should the flight attendant have tried harder to wake her?