Gulf Air economy seats
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

8 Rule-Bending Travel Hacks That Help You Fly Like a Boss — Is This Guy For Real?!?

G et ready for another skewering of an article which uses the word hack in the title from a so-called self-proclaimed “nomadic entrepreneur” who has traveled “to Playa Del Carmen, Cozumel, Austin, Boston, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Costa Rica, Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand, and Hong Kong” within the past four months — and he has “many more trips planned.”

Well — that must mean that Andrew Medal qualifies as an expert. Far be it from me to not allow him to impart his vast knowledge of traveling to an inexperienced traveler such as you.

This guy just might surpass Nick Wharton in qualifying to win the award for one of the most ridiculous articles I have ever read pertaining to travel.

Who in the world pays these people to write such inanity?!?

All right — let us view what he wrote in this article for Entrepreneur titled 8 Rule-Bending Travel Hacks That Help You Fly Like a Boss which was derived from a short list Medal “came up with while flying to Thailand”:

1. First Class/Priority

Medal claims that as you are walking through an airport security checkpoint — who the heck “walks through” one of them, anyway; and especially in recent weeks? — the “first class/priority lines are always much faster.”

No, they are not always “much faster”, Andrew. There are actually times where those lines will take up more of your valuable time — especially at an airport which is a major hub of an airline and therefore can very well have more people who qualify for premium class or elite level status than those plebeians who dare filth up the airport with their mere peasantry…

…but I am certain the likes of you do not hobnob anywhere near them, Mr. Medal.

“No matter what ticket you have, make sure to use those lines. More often than not, they just let you pass, and if they stop you, tell security you’re planning on upgrading at the terminal (which in my case is always the truth).”

Uh-huh. Suuuurrre it is. Deception is the way to go. You probably also pile on dozens of items when you use the express lane in a local supermarket which otherwise restricts people to have ten items or less.


2. Upgrade

“I’ve had much better experience upgrading at the terminal. By the time you’re at the terminal it should be getting close to flight, and I’ve been able to get better prices because the attendants have a better idea of how much availability there is. The risk is that you get there and the flight is totally full. Even if this is the case, they typically accommodate a better seat, as agents now know you were willing to pay more for the upgrade and they couldn’t fulfill that request.”


3. Armrest war

“If you are the first in your row, you can lock down the vantage point. That is rarely the case in my experience, however, and the trick if you are facing early defeat is to be the first person to recline your chair. This reclined angle will allow you to supersede any arm position said opponent may have had early on, and allow you to claim victory. You’re welcome.”

First, I did not thank you, Mr. Medal.

Second — while I do acknowledge that the armrest wars exist — I rarely engage in them and usually have no problem with sharing an armrest.

Do you know why, Mr. Medal?

Of course you don’t; so I will tell you.

It is called treating fellow passengers with decency and respect.

You’re welcome.

4. Charge your phone faster

“Make sure your phone is in airplane mode to expedite the charge time. This is not just a travel hack, but a useful life hack. It works well. My phone charges 20 percent faster. I know because I timed it both ways.”

You know what? This piece of advice actually makes sense. There is hope for you yet, Mr. Medal.

5. Hydrate

Andrew Medal is on a roll here by stressing the importance of keeping yourself hydrated during a flight — but the following statement had me scratching my head just a little:

“Rather than drink small cups of water, I always ask for the full bottle. I’ve never been turned down, and rather than pay a premium while in the airport for the water, I put the cost on the airline.”

Um…Andrew…I have so many questions here. What do you mean by full bottle? For what kinds of flights is this advice meant?

I ask because on the transoceanic flights of every airline on which I have been a passenger — I am not counting ultra-low-cost carriers — there is always a selection of water, juice and soda at the rear galley of the airplane from which you can readily help yourself to as much fluids as you need to stay hydrated. Additionally, members of the flight crew are generally good on most airlines about carrying a tray of water through the cabin multiple times to ensure that passengers stay hydrated — and in my experience, the service is usually rather adequate for my hydration needs.

By the way, sometimes I will carry an empty water bottle with me to refill when necessary. This way, if I become thirsty at a place such as an airport, I have water available without having to purchase an overpriced bottle from a vendor at the airport.

6. Musical chairs

Talk about ruining a good streak. Get a load — and I do mean load — of this next comment:

“Depending on the airline, your flight and other variables, you may be able to move around the plane once in flight. For example, as I’m writing this, I am flying to Thailand. When I got to the terminal to upgrade, an agent told me the flight was full and I couldn’t pay for an upgrade. I was given an exit row seat with double the leg room, which was a nice courtesy. So I stayed there the first part of the flight and slept. Then, upon waking, I walked to business class, found a pod that was clearly empty and sat down to write this article. I’ll spend the remainder of the flight here, and will go back to my seat when we are close to landing.”

Um…Mr. Medal…you do realize that many people call what you blatantly admit to doing a form of theft from the airline — right? Does the word stealing come to mind?!?

I will let readers of The Gate roast you over the coals on this one. Why deny them all of the fun I am having?

7. Make friends

Andrew Medal “always make friends with at least one flight attendant” as “having an ally in flight is a major advantage. This ally can help with your musical seat objective, can provide you refreshments, extra snacks or simply make your flight more peaceful.”

Why does this piece of advice sound so sleazy to me?

Oh — I know why. Perhaps because when I am nice to members of the flight crew and other employees of an airline, I am genuine about it and do it to help brighten their days without expecting anything in return. I do not “befriend” them so that I can have an ally.

A simple smile from them in response to my treating them with respect and showing appreciating for what they do is all I need to make my day.

8. Restrooms

“Always use the business and first class restrooms. They are kept cleaner with better materials. For example, I’m flying Cathay Pacific currently while writing this article, and general seating restrooms have one-ply toilet paper, while business class has two-ply. Your behind deserves the best.”

Congratulations, Mr. Medal. You just won the Wow My Face Fits So Nicely In The Palm of My Hand award for that statement. I never realized how well the palm of my hand follows my head as I shake it in disbelief.


I have no issue with the advice of Andrew Medal to be persistent; push the boundaries in life and ask for what you want; and if you do not get it, ask someone else. In fact, I covered that very advice in this recent article

…but this closing statement to that excuse of an article is beyond arrogant, in my opinion:

“I’m going to make a complaint because I wanted to upgrade anyway, and was told there wasn’t any room, but I debunked that myth by sitting in a seat that was, in fact, empty. I’ll probably get a free upgrade on my return flight by explaining this situation. Win-win.”

Win-win? For whom other than yourself?!? Do you even know what the term win-win means, Mr. Medal?

Now it is your turn. Have at it. Do you feel like you are “flying like a boss” yet?

I so look forward to reading your comments below…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. The two words that come to mind to describe Medal are “vile” and “repugnant”. I wish I had the power to ban him from flying ever again.

  2. Ah Brian, I like you more every day.

    That article was clearly written by a low level journalist whose boss would not stump up for anything more than a 45 minute flight on southwest.

    I sincerely doubt he has ever seen a business class cabin let alone snuck into one.

    I have never been on a flight where someone was able to sneak into a business class seat.

    The FAs would notice immediately and no matter how befriended you were I doubt you’d be doing anything other than a walk of shame to the back of the plane.

    Good post!

  3. This guy sounds like such a pompous, ass! He sounds as though he thinks he should be entitled to more than the next person. Also on the flights I’ve been on (a lot) generally the crew don’t allow economy passengers to a)use business or first toilets or camp out in a class they haven’t paid for!

  4. At first I thought Medal’s article had to be a spoof but no, I don’t think it is… It is a load of irresponsible rubbish. And it is supposed to help you “fly like a boss”? I don’t want to know any boss who has that attitude and who sets such a poor example! I hope I never sit next to (or behind) anyone like him on a flight – either in economy or when he’s stolen a business class seat. Disgraceful!

  5. I would recommend we all contact our local authorities in as many countries as possible. This scumbag only serves to give the travel hacking game a bad name. I recommend we all try to get him on the no fly list. I am sure I saw him typing away some ISIS/DEACH attack materials on his laptop when he self upgraded.

  6. I think a more apt, accurate title to this embarrassment of a travel advice article would be “8 Rule-Bending Travel Hacks That Help You Fly Like a Boss — as Long as that Boss is a Douche and is Completely Clueless of How Air Travel Really Works”
    And I could only find 1 real travel hack in the whole thing. (I think his picture is right next to the article too.) (rim shot)

  7. You sound like a jealous hack. Most of these are good rules for life, not just flights. I have a very sincere feeling that you struggle to make friends in life. I’m truly sorry.

    1. Most of these are good hacks for life? Really? When do you need to hack a cabin switch, where would you apply this in real life? Where is there a first class bathroom outside of an airplane.

  8. Has this guy ever actually flown at all? If one is going to fabricate experiences and anecdotes, at least make them somewhat realistic and believable! Moving from Y to J seat mid-flight? Oh yeah, sure that will work because the FAs will never notice or care – not.

    1. Bingo. He’s flown enough to have seen a couple things, and the rest is comically mendacious. Switching cabins?? Bahahaha! Is this guy even a real traveller, or some kid (i mean that literally – an 18yr old)?

  9. I cannot believe that at my 10 years of age I was more mature than a so called entrepeneur.

  10. First, his “hacks” clearly prove this guy is a novice at travel. It’s the least experienced that would do the things he attempts to do. The water bottle “hack” is a perfect example of that.
    Second, i would hate to be this guy’s family member, or co-worker. Both situations would mean i am stuck with him, and can’t distance myself far enough from this self-centered moron.
    Last, the real idiot here is the Editor in Chief who decided this article was worthy of print. THAT person should be fired. The moron that wrote the article will keep writing stupid stuff like that as long as his stupid stuff still goes to print. Shame on you Entrepreneur for allowing crap like this to clog cyberspace.

  11. Typical. These are the type of people you see at Starbucks “writing” articles and call themselves journalists. They give themselves titles to make them feel important. These are the same people who occupy themselves on social media and base their lives on how many followers they have and the number of “likes” their posts generate. It’s okay, because we see these people on flights all the time and they try to weasel their way to upgrades and in the end all we do is wait for our name to be called because we are simply frequent flyers who earn these benefits because we spend or our companies spend the money for us to travel.

    I enjoying watching the “Medals” sneak into pods only to watch the FA’s ask them to leave. I enjoy watching the “Medals” try to use the security lane entitled for status holders only to be turned away by the agents. If it weren’t for people like “Medals” we wouldn’t have our kicks and pre-flight entertainment.

  12. Where do they find these whack jobs that write stuff like that? It’s patently obvious that the guy is full of it. The points are either insanely bad ideas or so obvious that it’s like having a label that says “If profuse bleeding continues for over two hours, consider seeking medical assistance.” What I personally wonder about is what on earth would lead this idiot to write such a piece of crap, since stuff this bad doesn’t write itself. A few possibilities spring to mind. The first and most obvious possibility is that the guy was just desperate. He had to write SOMETHING, and that trash is the result. Next up, let’s not ignore the pathological liar angle. The person might just be emotionally incapable of writing an honest article. Another option would be that the guy is like some troll on steroids. He just wants to mislead people so as to ultimately cause as much misery as possible. Yet another one would be that “nomadic entrepreneur” is a euphemism for some shady business, and he wants to show that he’s a legit writer if the feds come sniffing around. I’m sure there’s lots more possibilities, but those are the ones that struck me offhand.

Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!