The term “hacking” gained popularity back in the 1980s, as home computers became more popular. Ever see the movie “War Games?” What Matthew Broderick’s character did (in 1983 – almost FORTY years ago – OMG, I’m old!) was an early example of computer hacking (I got my first computer a year later. I promise I never hacked anything with my Apple IIe and 300 baud modem ;-)). (Note from Joe: FWIW, I did have a friend who was visited by the FBI for making free long-distance phone calls with his computer right around that time frame.)
Over time, public knowledge (and usage) of “hacking” expanded from a generally negative connotation of “using a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system” to a much more acceptable “using know-how to achieve a goal by non-standard means.” So a hack could have nothing whatsoever to do with computers, and be something as benign as:
- How to create a desk (or a second desk, if there are 2 people) in a hotel room
- How to eat fast food on the road and not make a mess
Another perfect example is Kat Kamalani. She’s a flight attendant who has given helpful and 100% legal tips and hacks for things like staying at hotels:
Unfortunately, some hacks, albeit meant to be more opportunistic than nefarious, still go too far and break the rules. And sometimes you can get into a whole lot of trouble for doing it. For example…
If you get a flight on Spirit Airlines, the only bag that’s free is a personal sized bag, 18″x14″x8″ or smaller. They charge you for any other bags, including $30 to $65 (depending on when you pay) for one that goes in overhead storage.
A TikTok user known as @robkallday shared a video that showed how he was able to change his electronic ticket on Spirit Airlines to show that he had 1 carry on bag instead of zero, thereby potentially saving a flyer (he claims not him – “Didn’t actually do this, my bag fits”) a significant amount of cash.
(Note: Due to lack of information in the video, this does not appear to be the original video)
The video got almost 3 million views. So it wasn’t surprising that Spirit eventually caught wind of what he had posted. About a month later, he got a letter that said he’s banned from Spirit Airlines for 2 years.
The letter from Spirit said:
As you know, you created a video on the social media platform TikTok showing users how to manipulate a Spirit Airlines boarding pass and fraudulently indicate they paid for a carry-on bag to the financial detriment of Spirit Airlines. Additionally, as evidenced in the video’s comments, you have also been advising users specifically on what cell phone application they should download to carry out the scam.
In light of this egregious misconduct, Spirit Airlines has determined that you are no longer permitted to fly with us and we have placed you on a list for this purpose. You are also barred from entering Spirit’s facilities. If you seek to circumvent this, any ticket that you purchase will be forfeited without a refund. If you come into our facilities we will report that trespass to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Should you wish to travel on Spirit Airlines again in the future, after the massage of two years from the date of this letter, you may request that we revisit the foregoing ban. You may do so on my a letter explaining why we should reconsider the restriction, with unequivocal assurances that you will conduct yourself appropriately in the future. This is extended solely as a courtesy and not a right and we may determine not to lift the ban in our absolute discretion.
@Robkallday appeared to try to show bravado about the whole thing, but since he used the hashtag #babies in the video about the letter he got from Spirit, I suspect there’s more than a little angst in there, too. Um, #toobad. #actionshaveconsequences.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary