Most airline passengers want to avoid Sardine Syndrome any way they can. As frequent fliers never cease to lament, that's the claustrophobic state of being packed into a pressurized fuselage in much the same way those hapless pilchards are stuffed into those telltale rectangular tins.

And while few are able to be bumped up to first class without having to pay extra for those cushy seats, one industrious child recently managed to beat the odds. Nine-year-old Jasper Francis from Australia probably wasn't aware of the rigors of enduring several hours crammed in coach. All he wanted to do was to satisfy his obsession with planes, with sights set on being a pilot one day.


With his family booked on a forthcoming flight to Bangkok, Jasper wrote to Jetstar about his curiosity regarding planes, including the experience of flying in business class. He also told them about his career plans, for which he was saving his cash with hopes of getting into flight school when he got older. So far, Jasper wrote, he had saved $85 and wondered how much more would be needed.

His letter tugged at the heartstrings of Jetstar's powers that be. Some 20 company employees were so taken by his request, they each pitched in $50 to pay for enough Jetstar Christmas vouchers to foot the bill for the coveted seat.

Not only did they provide Jasper with two business class passes, given that he's too young to fly alone in that section, they also received an invite to check out the airline's Boeing 787 Dreamliners jet, the same aircraft model that will fly his family to Bangkok. On the tour, Jasper also managed to chat with the crew and even got to sit in the cockpit, further whetting his appetite to take to the air.

His mother commented that the experience was indicative of his preoccupation with flight, relating that on several occasions when the family would take a plane, Jasper would always request a business class seat at the reservation desk.

With that part of his fascination taken care of, Jasper's next ambition is to realize his dream of being a pilot. But he should be advised that unlike landing a business class ticket, there's no similar shortcuts to graduating from flight school.