Stolen Valor: People Are Dressing Up In Military Uniforms To Get Airline Early Boarding [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Priority boarding for members of the military in uniform… here’s a claim about one man faking his service for airline benefits.

  • There was a time I’d have said this was absolutely disqualifying for the Presidency (or even from a role in civil society). I no longer can make that claim, sadly.

  • A tamborine???

  • This is actually pretty cool.

  • JetBlue redemptions on Qatar Airways now available not bad but not as good as AAdvantage.

  • Houston pauses IAH terminal B redevelopment while Houston’s Mayor doesn’t understand what the fuss is over committing $150 million to benefit United, since it’s just airport money.

    “As of today, November 8, 2023, my office knows little about the financing and design plans behind the Terminal B redevelopment project said to cost Houstonians nearly $2.6 billion,” Brown said. “Any pledge of taxpayer funds of this magnitude requires an exceptional standard of due diligence.”
    However, during the Nov. 8 meeting, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner showed his support for the project. He said he doesn’t understand why Brown is withholding the item because the money is there. According to the agenda item, the funds would come from the Airport System Consolidated 2011 Construction Fund.

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. Swiftboating our genuine active duty troops by pretending to be one to board first is pretty repulsive.

  2. There is a special place in hell for people that would impersonate military members. Hopefully there is karma and it comes back to bite them.

  3. lol, if they’re willing to go through all that trouble just to get early boarding, let them have it.

  4. The whole military is a mockery. There is no valor in service. People do it because they don’t have the IQ for careers that advance the human condition.

    War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

    Military service. What is it good for? Ass backwards kids who grew up in the South where fried junk food is still popular, high school football is the cultural highlight, and military service is the only path forward because no accredited college will accept your piss poor intellectual capability.

    We don’t need people signing up to die for their country. We need people conducing scientific research to save lives. Drop the high school football and Wendy’s chicken nuggets. Pick up a chemistry textbook and cook up a bowl of quinoa.

  5. Military-grade Timberlands on his feet lol.

    Seriously, early boarding gets you what? Overhead bin space over 38B? So dumb.

  6. @ HVC – in a perfect world, I’d wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately, humans have a tendency to separate themselves into “us” and “them” and attack each other, thus the military, the police, etc. Even if we have a unified humanity, it appears from recent headlines that we’ll need a way to deal with aliens lol.

  7. Anyone caught doing this should require an immediate diversion with a refueling stop and be directly dropped off in Ukraine.

  8. @HVC
    Having served over 24 years on active duty in the USAF among the finest patriotic people in our country, I am incredibly repulsed by your ignorant comments. Were it not for the hundreds of thousands brave and committed members of our military you would today be speaking German or Japanese rather than English. Every member of the military has signed an IOU to fellow Americans (sadly including you) for everything, up to and including their very life to insure the rights and freedoms you take for granted. I was not a hero but I proudly served with many who were. Next time you feel so entitled to demean the military remember this simple phrase: “All gave some, but some gave all”.

  9. This is wrong on so many levels. For one thing the Navy no longer wears the blueberry camo. No name, rank or the American flag should have been a tipoff. And the tan Timberlands.

  10. Is not a military id required as proof of service or is military clothing the only credential for qualification for early boarding as a member of the armed forces?

  11. I’ve read a lot of disgusting things on the internet, but HVC’s comments just might take the cake.

  12. @HVC: Wow…you sound like you WANTED to be in the military but didn’t make the cut. Maybe you had bone spurs or something? You know…like another wannabe I’ve heard of…

    Back to reality…I’m not sure if this is becoming a thing or not? But, like someone else posted…this is for – ostensibly – overhead bin space??? Yikes!

    Maybe the airlines should require your military ID be added to your reservation the way they do for your Frequent Flyer account, Trusted Traveler #, etc. Then, it will either be on your boarding pass or not. Problem solved?

  13. HVC,

    I have some very intelligent and well-educated friends and acquaintances who are upper rank officers in the US military and some who were junior officers. They have almost uniformly been people whose knowledge and thinking I appreciate. They tend to be curious, informed, capable and way better on average than the average senior execs at publicly-traded companies.

  14. Personally I don’t think military should get early boarding. I’ve spent a few decades working with the military and many of the ones I knew would not use it since they didn’t want special treatment and didn’t think it was appropriate. And faking it is definitely wrong.

  15. Are you kidding me? This is not only disrespectful to the true heroes who actually served our country, this is treasonous. If they want to pretend, go all in and be court martialed. How can these people live with themselves?

  16. Gate agents should demand military ID to allow for pre-boarding. Otherwise, it looks like they are not doing their job!

  17. Years ago, a gate agent (ex-militia) made a general inquiry of the rank a PAX in a US military uniform. The agent became suspicious when the PAX was clueless about the inquiry. The agent alerted airport police (also ex-militia) who also pressed the PAX who confessed and missed the flight.
    No regrets on the part of the airline nor airport security.

  18. @HVC

    >The whole military is a mockery. There is no valor in service. People do it because they don’t have >the IQ for careers that advance the human condition.

    I guarantee you’d fail out of NPS.

  19. @HVC: Congrats! I thought the guy who was posing as military to get early boarding was the lowest form of life, but you showed otherwise. And the reason you can enjoy your steaming bowl of vomit-inducing kale-quinoa hipster chow is because those “intellectual inferiors” decided to serve our country.

    One last point: Love your “peace at all costs” idealism. I’d gladly chip in for a one-way ticket for you to visit Gaza and discuss your idealism with Hamas.

  20. Solution: give verified members of the military highest-level status

    More realistic: assign anyone with a DoD ID number on their reservation for trusted traveler program the earliest boarding group

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