Man Arrested in Singapore for Buying Refundable Ticket to Escort His Wife to Her Gate But Not Flying

In 2014 the story went viral about a man who ate free for a year buying a refundable ticket, accessing the China Eastern lounge in Xi’an, China, and the refunding his ticket. Every. Day.

The same year Lufthansa sued a passenger and won 200 euros after the man booked and cancelled 36 tickets in a year for the purpose of obtaining business class lounge access.

In 2016 a man was arrested after living in 9 different Priority Pass lounges at the Singapore airport over the course of 3 weeks. And last year an Air Canada Super Elite had his status revoked for refunding tickets several times after he’d visited the airline lounge. He sued.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal Dining Room

In general it’s always seemed to be one thing to do this on a fairly infrequent basis,

  • Meet someone at the gate by buying a refundable ticket to get past security
  • Buying a first class ticket and refunding it in order to access the first class lounge.

You’re not supposed to do it, but I don’t recall stories of consequences about someone that does it once. All of the stories have been about passengers going to extremes.

There’s an exception to the general rule: don’t do this for international flights, where you need to clear exit controls, and a subset of this is do not do this at the Singapore Changi airport (all flights there are international).

Thirty three people have been arrested for ‘misusing their boarding pass’ — entering the transit area of the airport without intending to fly. That includes a man who wanted to bring his wife to her departure gate.

If you must have someone escorted to their gate in Singapore, I highly recommend JetQuay. When I used their departure and arrival service years ago it was fortunately bookable at over 50% off through my hotel.

Of course the truth is that most passengers can find their way to you, you don’t need to meet them at the gate or take them to their gate either. And most lounges aren’t worth visiting. However here’s a man who wanted into an American Airlines Admirals Club in Charlotte that had closed way too much.

Pittsburgh and Tampa actually have programs to let you through security without a boarding pass (though you need to pre-arrange this, there are limited slots and times).

About Gary Leff

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. Thanks, Jack! 200 euros sounds way too cheap a penalty for somebody who did it 36 times! Only 5.55 euros or about US$6–7 (as the forex rate has changed over the years) per visit strikes me as a bargain!

  2. In the world of air travel, where changing your mind is usually penalized, I find it ironic that this happened at the “Changi” Airport.
    Perhaps, as a rule, you should bring a carry on with pajamas, overnight articles, etc., to persuade the officials that you didn’t intend to change your mind.

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