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Old May 13, 09, 11:14 am   #1
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is it illegal to hire someone to fly under your name?

this would make a nifty money-making operation for your frequent flying friends. i wonder if they can book a ticket in their name, i get a refundable ticket and go through security. cancel the refundable ticket and fly with my friend's ticket.

thoughts?
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Old May 13, 09, 11:15 am   #2
  
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Really, really bad idea... and yes, illegal.
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Old May 13, 09, 11:22 am   #3
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and... I am pretty sure the airline would close your account and confiscate your miles if they ever caught you.
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Old May 13, 09, 11:24 am   #4
  
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and you would get home how?
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Old May 13, 09, 11:25 am   #5
  
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Originally Posted by fwfdan View Post
and you would get home how?
Do the same thing on the return...
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Old May 13, 09, 11:29 am   #6
  
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On a related note, why don't airlines allow you to purchase a ticket, not fly and get the miles? This would benefit the airlines because they then could either resell the ticket (this could be built into the agreement if the person does not fly) or fly without the added weight of the person and his/her baggage.
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Old May 13, 09, 11:29 am   #7
  
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Originally Posted by pitbrian View Post
Do the same thing on the return...
Nevermind - missed that the person on the ticket would never show ID... not sure how well that will work....
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Old May 13, 09, 11:31 am   #8
  
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Originally Posted by brooks5018 View Post
this would make a nifty money-making operation for your frequent flying friends. i wonder if they can book a ticket in their name, i get a refundable ticket and go through security. cancel the refundable ticket and fly with my friend's ticket.

thoughts?
It's certainly against airline rules, but as far as illegality is concerned, no posters have yet cited any law that would be broken.
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Old May 13, 09, 11:31 am   #9
  
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I've often wondered the same thing. I'm not so sure that it's illegal, it might breach their contract of carriage, but you're not using any fake identification to get past airport screening. I recall seeing an ebay listing offering this same sort of service.
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Old May 13, 09, 11:34 am   #10
  
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Originally Posted by brooks5018 View Post
this would make a nifty money-making operation for your frequent flying friends. i wonder if they can book a ticket in their name, i get a refundable ticket and go through security. cancel the refundable ticket and fly with my friend's ticket.

thoughts?
Lets see. someone get caught flying with a ticket in another person's name. do you know how the CIA treat suspected terrorist?
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Old May 13, 09, 11:38 am   #11
  
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Originally Posted by jayenoh View Post
I've often wondered the same thing. I'm not so sure that it's illegal, it might breach their contract of carriage, but you're not using any fake identification to get past airport screening. I recall seeing an ebay listing offering this same sort of service.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13739_3-9769089-46.html
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Old May 13, 09, 11:40 am   #12
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It is not illegal if that person has your consent to fly domestically since that person is not impersonating you to cross borders. A written statement endorsed a notary. However, TSA may decide to nit pick and find some charges to place onto that person if they have a tip-off.

I know that some airlines are ok with such things, normally those that have an unfavourable earn/burn ratio. But its not something that i would discussed openly until stricter controls are in place to kick out the airline revenue protection reps.
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Old May 13, 09, 11:52 am   #13
  
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Originally Posted by djk7 View Post
It's certainly against airline rules, but as far as illegality is concerned, no posters have yet cited any law that would be broken.
OK, I'll bite. 18 U.S.C. Section 1343 ("wire fraud"):

"Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."

You can't make an airline reservation without making or (causing to be made) some kind of wire communication. Frequent flyer miles are property, and obtaining credit for miles flown by others violates the statute by imposing liability on the airline that it would not otherwise have borne. There are quite a few cases discussing this issue in various contexts; here is just one: US v. Mullins.

The facts of this case do not match your hypothetical exactly, but the principles apply. The scheme you describe could certainly be prosecuted as wire fraud.

Last edited by Ready2Go; May 13, 09 at 11:53 am Reason: Add quotation marks
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Old May 13, 09, 11:56 am   #14
  
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Originally Posted by brooks5018 View Post
thoughts?
Shady. This is not a good idea in today's security manic world. I can tell you straight up that 1) you could probably get away with it and 2) this can be seen as circumventing the no-fly list which could land you in hot sh!t with the various authorities. Even if it is legal you would be exposing a weakness in the security which is not something authorities want. It embarrasses them, dissolves the illusion of airport security for other travelers, and regardless of legality would result in them coming down heavily on you if discovered as retribution for showing their system is mostly theater.

On the other hand, depending on the security set up at your airport, why not just photoshop the boarding pass with your name and fly on that? Your ID is ONLY checked at TSA* when you check in online and at the gate they only care that the barcode matches what's in their record. This is just about what you're suggesting here.... If this sounds like it would land you in trouble, then....




*Exceptions: Some airport now appear to have barcode scanners at the check points to ensure that tickets are valid (I have no idea if names come up and frankly, I don't care to find out). It only took eight years for them to figure out that people could print documents at home that might not be valid!
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Old May 13, 09, 12:07 pm   #15
  
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I great idea in theory. As you can obtain miles, or have an alibi if you murder someone, etc. HAHA

However, the plan fails if your flight is detoured or emergency situation and everyone needs to recheck into security area. While this is infrequent it can happen with summer storms, mechanical difficulties, etc. so your flight from DFW to ORD is landing in ST. Louis and must show ID to check in to different aircraft.
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