A 32-year-old jobless guy from Malaysia recently used his laptop to forge multiple boarding passes so he could sample the delights of executive lounges at Singapore’s main international airport.
Raejali Buntut lived at Changi Airport for 18 days from August 21 to September 7 after missing a flight back to his home country. But this week he was sent to an altogether less salubrious form of accommodation – ie. prison – after pleading guilty to charges of forgery.
Buntut checked in at the airport the night before an early morning flight last month. Keen for some shut-eye, he stayed at one of Changi Airport’s luxury lounges using his boarding pass and valid Priority Pass, which offers access to nearly 1000 airport lounges around the world.
However, after oversleeping and missing the flight, the Malaysian man decided to continue sampling the delights of the airport’s various lounges, although to do this he needed a “valid” boarding pass.
Using his laptop and some editing software, Buntut forged 31 mobile boarding passes during his 18-day stay, using them to visit nine 24-hour executive lounges across the airport’s three terminals.
According to local media, Buntut downloaded images from the internet of mobile boarding passes issued by two airlines – Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines – and then used editing software to add his name, flight number, and destination to create new, though fraudulent, mobile boarding passes. He then downloaded these to his smartphone.
Such luxury lounges offer a range of amenities, including quiet spaces, free Wi-Fi and TV, reading material, and prompt assistance with any queries about flights, airports, and destinations. However, it’s likely Buntut was more interested in the complimentary food and drink, not to mention the private shower rooms, massage services, and comfy recliners for dozing away his days in transit. Such lounge services can cost between $100 and $500 a year, though some also accept payment on a per-visit basis.
After more than two weeks of hopping between the various lounges, a member of staff finally cottoned on to the fact that Buntut was up to no good. Cops arrested the fraudster who this week was jailed for three weeks.
Fancy a legal lounge stop of your own before your next flight? Then be sure to check out DT’s guide to the best airport lounges around the world.