A special affinity for airport terminals and lounges must be the reason why a Malaysian man has spent a total of 18 days inside Singapore’s award winning Changi Airport and it’s lounges.
The catch: He used daily faked boarding passes to access various premium lounges in every terminal the airport has to offer.
While several cases in the past included people who used flexible tickets to reschedule the flight sometimes several hundred times to use the airport lounge for complimentary food and beverages this time the offender actually used fake boarding passes to gain access to the lounge.
The Straits Times (access here) reported about this case today.
A jobless Malaysian man who overslept at a Changi Airport lounge and missed his flight back to Kuala Lumpur decided to stay in the departure transit area.
For almost three weeks – 18 days from Aug 21 until last Wednesday – Raejali Buntut remained in transit by using 31 forged mobile boarding passes to enter various lounges in the three terminals. But a worker at a lounge he had visited four times saw through his ruse and called the police.
Yesterday, Raejali, a former business development manager with Royale Consultant Management in Singapore, was jailed for two weeks after he pleaded guilty to three out of 31 charges of forgery. …
A district court heard that Raejali, who turns 33 on Monday, had a ticket for an AirAsia flight scheduled to depart for Kuala Lumpur at 7.05am on Aug 21.
The night before, he checked in at close to midnight and went to the Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 1 – using his boarding pass and his Priority Pass issued by Citibank.
But he woke up late and missed his flight. He then decided to continue using the facilities at the lounges in the departure transit areas of the airport’s three terminals.
He downloaded images of mobile boarding passes issued by two airlines – Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines – from the Internet, and used an image editing software on his laptop to alter them.
Raejali inserted his name, a false flight number and a false destination on the fake mobile boarding passes, before sending them to his phone. He forged 31 such passes and used them at nine lounges run by five operators.
For instance, Raejali went into the Plaza Premium Lounge in T1 at about 11.30pm on Aug 21, and next moved to the Sats Premier Lounge at the same terminal at around noon on Aug 23.
The next morning, he went to the Dnata Lounge at T1 before going to the Ambassador Transit Lounge at T3 the following morning.
Last Tuesday, a staff member at the Dnata Lounge at T1 called police when she suspected Raejali’s misdeeds. He had entered the lounge as recently as three days earlier on Sept 3. He had also gone there on Sept 1 , Aug 29 and Aug 24.
It’s really not that uncommon for passengers to frequent the same lounges a few days in a row but to raise suspicion with the staff probably depends on a few other factors, the most important one is appearance. I’m not sure how the guy was dressed while living at Changi for almost 3 weeks but you might get an impression when you follow the link to the original article. Or maybe he was just visibly nervous.
He frequently used third party lounges with his Priority Pass which is completely legitimate. The boarding passes he just presented because it’s a regulation that transit passengers require a boarding pass at Changi. I have used printed reservations before since most check-in counters are not open until a few hours prior to departure (Singapore Airlines flights can be checked in all the time for obvious reasons as the home carrier).
The big question about the why… well I guess he lost his job and maybe didn’t have any savings. Instead of being homeless in KL why not use the valid Priority Pass to hang out at the airport while working on whatever and trying to line up a new job. Faking these boarding passes were simply to satisfy that nonsense regulation so that the staff can write down his flight details. It’s not like these airlines had to pay for the lounge visit, the visits are covered by Priority Pass.
18 days are quite a stretch to stay inside Changi’s departure area or any airport for that matter. I’m sure he didn’t ‘miss’ his Air Asia flight but intentionally didn’t take it to remain in the transit area which would have been fine but maybe he shouldn’t have changed the lounge that often. I guess it’s pretty boring to stay at the same place for such a long time.
Singapore’s legal system is completely out of touch and for the DPP to call this “blatantly lawless behaviour” shows that they apparently have no real crime to deal with. There was no monetary damage to any of the lounge operators as the guy used a valid Priority Pass and they will get paid for each of these visits.