It turns out that the more observant your are on a plane the more chance you have of an upgrade from economy into business or first class.
If your seat is broken, the airline has to give you a new seat if one is available.
Rick Brown who wrote the travel hack guide 'Kiss my baggage fees: How to be a savvy travel hacker' posted on question and answer site Quora to let people know about the unspoken rule.
“If your seat is broken, you can request a new seat,” he said.
“If one is not available in economy, they have to put you in first.”
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So, if you're observant when you get to your seat, it could pay off and get you a seat in the higher-class end of the plane.
Website life hacker also agreed with Brown.
“I’ve been on several packed flights where passengers had broken coach seats and were reassigned to business or first since they were the only seats left.”
But a word to the wise, don't try and break your seat just to get the upgrade as it's a crime.