A former flight attendant and TikTok influencer has ruffled feathers among business class flyers with her latest travel tip.
In a video titled Three Airplane Hacks, Kat Kamalani gives her top behind-the-scenes flying tips such as how to find a secret toilet compartment that holds sanitary pads and tampons, and never accepting a first offer when being compensated for an oversold flight.
But it was her second tip that caught commenters’ attention.
“Everyone always thinks that [economy flyers] can’t use the first class bathroom, but you totally can – as long as you’re not standing in the galley, you’re free to use their lavatory,” she says.
Posted on Thursday, the video has already had more than 20,000 views and 3,300 likes.
But some in the comments section felt her toilet tip made a mockery of the upgrade from economy to business.
“You are actually teaching pax [passengers] how to abuse airport staffs? Seriously?” wrote a fellow flight attendant, Marvin Gil Yu.
Others disagreed, with one user saying “Easy there about using the FC lavs… try pulling that on most carriers and it won’t go over so well.”
The debate over whether customers from economy or premium cabins should be able to use business or first class toilets has been a touchy subject for years, with many big-spending business clients feeling that they shouldn’t have to share.
After United officially changed its staff guidelines in 2020 to allow passengers to use any aeroplane bathroom on a flight, frequent flyer blog God Save the Points opened up the debate to its commenters.
“Not too happy about this change as a 1K with United,” wrote one reader.
“A large part of my reason for maintaining 1K status and paying $$$ for flights is more privacy and space.”
The writer of the blog post agreed, saying: “Totally with you. I’m a traveller in both cabins often. I value it when I’m in first, and respect it when I’m in coach.”
“Absolutely opposed to this,” wrote another reader.
There are several perks to using a business or first class bathroom – for one, with fewer passengers seated in that section of the cabin, it gets used less throughout the flight.
But many airlines also provide better quality hand soap and often moisturiser, while some premium airlines have floral arrangements, fabric hand towels, illuminated make-up mirrors and changing areas.
Airlines generally ask flyers to use the bathroom in the cabin they’re seated in, but most will also turn a blind eye to customers using a bathroom in another cabin, particularly if there are queues in the aisle or other toilets are in use.
However, it’s not a hard and fast rule – in 2019, an Alaskan Airlines flight made an emergency landing after a dispute between crew and a passenger over whether they could use the first class toilet turned ugly.