Aeroflot Bonus has confiscated the miles from a member whose cat was discovered to be overweight. The passenger had a Moscow connection enroute between Latvia and Far Eastern Vladivostok. He registered his cat as a pet in cabin, but his cat was too large so he actually showed a different cat at the check-in desk.
- He showed up with his cat, which was determined to be overweight. So he left the airport and rescheduled to fly the next day.
- Not wanting to check his cat as cargo, so he sought out “a similar cat of a lower weight” and showed up at the airport with his cat, as well as his cat’s stunt double. He had the lighter cat weigh in at the business class check-in counter. (No one dares, it seems, claim a fake emotional support animal in Russia.)
- He boarded with his 10 kilogram cat and sent the smaller 7 kilogram cat home with its actual owners.
He posted word of his successful exploits to Facebook, including a photo of the cat with champagne. That triggered an Aeroflot investigation.
The airline uncovered the scheme and confiscated the man’s 400,000 miles.
The probe into the cat swap showed that Galin broke airline rules by switching Viktor for “a similar animal weighing seven kilograms,” which was confirmed on video surveillance footage, Aeroflot said.
“Aeroflot has taken the decision to take this passenger out of its frequent flyer programme. All of the miles collected during his time in the programme will be annulled.”
Identity schemes used to be very common with airlines, and indeed directly related to frequent flyer miles. Often that meant having someone fly for you, and crediting the miles to your own account. This continued even after 9/11, where two people would buy tickets and clear security – the one doing the actual flying would refund their ticket and take the boarding pass of the other passenger.
A year ago I wrote about Aeroflot revoking elite status from customers (and journalists) who criticize the Russian flag carrier. Aeroflot has been a long time organ of the government. As Yakov Smirnoff might say, In Putin’s Russia, frequent flyer miles expire you!
Aeroflot ad from 1970
(HT: Jonathan W.)