Are Airline Employees in Buenos Aires Selling Passenger Information To Gangs?

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary- Have you notices that AA miles are posting instantly after a flight? Anyone else seeing this. Before I even completed my last 2 flights I had the mileage.

  2. If all the information the motochorros are using to find rich travelers is if someone flew business class, they’re going to be disappointed to find out that that’s not in my budget and I used points. Still wouldn’t end well for me though I guess.

  3. Maybe the Buenos Aires thieves could find out a pax manifest and try to follow their car from the airport, but I don’t see how that information would tell them which hotel they’d be staying at. I know I’ve never informed an airline of my hotel. (I have informed a car rental company. And written the name of the hotel on an entry card that I’ve handed to immigration.) There’s obviously more to this story.

  4. Does immigration know the biz class pax? Maybe a rogue immigration agent / official seeing the info as they arrive

  5. The British tourists visiting Buenos Aires who got shot, with one of the two being killed, were attacked in Puerto Madero around one of the more expensive hotels in the city. This was in the part of Buenos Aires that should have been considered the safest part of the city given it’s history of being patrolled by the naval police around the clock.

  6. It doesn’t take all that much to figure out who is who at airports. Facial recognition technology and the use of social media profiles makes it easier than it used to be. But even without that, how about the signs from hotel drivers that have names on them? How about the baggage tags on the baggage belts, with the priority tags making things sort of more obvious? There are lots of ways for the crooked -to try to stalk people, most all of which don’t necessarily require an inside contact at an airline.

  7. It’s possible that this was a holiday package deal, BA sells a lot of them, which would have had their hotel info on record as well.

  8. I forwarded this to my friend in Argentina. It’s big news down there. Apparently the van driver is part of the gang and has been also arrested. So I imagine it’s less about airline info being given and more about airport drivers.

    Will be interested to know if it was an Uber driver or prearranged by the hotel.

  9. Wouldn’t anyone staying at that posh hotel be equally likely to have valuables? SO why all the trouble to get the manifest and follow them when the robbers could have just attacked whoever arrived at the hotel with bags?

    And not only that, but this family took an airport van to the hotel. Wouldn’t that make them much less likely to be rich and carrying valuables than people taking a more expensive taxi?

    Could it be that this particular tourist had something more specific the robbers were after? Or the robbery was just a cover?

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