A man received several perks during a long flight last Monday after attempting a TikTok travel hack where he distributed Starbucks gift cards to flight attendants. While it's simply a kind gesture, he noted, it also holds the possibility of recompensation.
Jeremy Maclellan, 26, shared his recent experience in a TikTok that's gone viral. Maclellan said for his 12-hour flight from New York to Abu Dhabi, he had his sights on business-class seats that were priced at thousands of dollars. "I didn't want to pay that," he said in the TikTok video, which has accrued 2.4 million views. "So I went and got eight $15 Starbucks gift cards."
He told Insider he'd first heard about the hack from another TikToker, @mr_selling915. (In the creator's viral video from January, they encouraged travelers to distribute Starbucks gift cards to flight attendants and to "watch what happens.")
Maclellan is a former car salesman from Massachusetts who recently quit his job and sold his Tesla to move to Thailand. He told Insider he wanted a more adventurous life and to pursue his dreams of becoming a travel creator.
When he boarded his flight last week, with Thailand being the final destination, he gifted the cards to an attendant, who was initially perplexed. He clarified that he was simply trying to "spread the appreciation."
"Regardless of what the possibilities are, I could see that being a flight attendant on a 12-hour flight can be miserable," Maclellan told Insider. "I was like, 'What the hell, I'll give them all some gift cards. If anything happens out of it, awesome. If not, at least I made their day.' They all seemed incredibly appreciative, and that's all that matters."
While Maclellan didn't get the business class upgrade he was hoping for, he did end up receiving several perks.
After making his way to his original window seat at the back of the plane, a supervisor stopped to thank him for the gift cards. She then offered him a seat in an exit row, which he had completely to himself "with unlimited leg room," he said. "I think it was worth the gift cards."
There were other perks, too. "They immediately gave me one of the gift bags that you get in first class that had a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand lotion, and an upgraded pair of headphones," Maclellan told Insider. "I'm not sure if it's common for that to happen."
At another point, when he woke up from a nap, he said there was a goodie bag on the seat next to him with a packed lunch.
On Friday, in something of a full-circle moment, @flyingrealtor stitched Maclellan's video. "Shout out to this dude for trusting me," the creator said. "I know what I'm talking about."
And Maclellan is far from the only TikToker to try out the Starbucks gift card hack. A user named @drcheromiah received 104,000 views on their attempt in January. Though the creator didn't mention receiving any perks, they said each flight attendant came up to thank them personally for the gesture. "I'm going to make this a new tradition," the creator said.
Other videos — some that simply suggest bringing the crew any kind of gift or small gesture of gratitude — date as far back as 2021.2023-03-20T19:44:26Z dg43tfdfdgfd