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How One Man Flew for Free (Until Lufthansa Put A Stop to It)

How One Man Flew for Free (Until Lufthansa Put A Stop to It)
Jeff Edwards

An Indian national was arrested after authorities say he attempted to gain free travel on an AirAsia flight departing from New Delhi by posing as a pilot. When investigators challenged the imposter’s credentials, he admitted that his identification and uniform were fake before confessing that he had successfully pulled off the con a number of times before finally being caught.

A con man has lost his fake wings after being arrested for impersonating a Lufthansa pilot at New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). Authorities say rather than attempting to fly a passenger plane, the fraudulent aviator instead used a phony employee ID and a homemade captain’s uniform in an effort to obtain free travel on airlines with which Lufthansa crews have flight privileges.

In this case, the alleged scammer was attempting to talk his way onto an AirAsia flight when ticket agents called Lufthansa to confirm the story of the suspicious-looking “crew member.” Lufthansa sent representatives to investigate the fake pilot’s claim and were quickly convinced that he was not in any way affiliated with the airline – despite the elaborate ruse designed to indicate that he was an off-duty pilot.

The pretend pilot told investigators that he purchased his fake airline identification in Bangkok. He said he had been successful in boarding flights with the fake credentials in the past, posing both as an “airline consultant” and a captain.

“Lufthansa immediately sent its team to contact this person at Delhi Airport,” an AirAsia spokesperson told the Times of India. “The individual in question was impersonating as an employee of Lufthansa airlines. He was handed over to the airport police, and an investigation has been ordered. We would like to emphasize that we stand by all security policies and (until) the time the investigation is completed, we would be unable to provide specific details with regards to this.”

On any given day, India’s busiest airport must look a lot like a masquerade party. In September, a passenger was detained after disguising himself as an old man in order to bluff his way past border control agents. This plot was likewise foiled by airport workers with keen attention to detail.

View Comments (2)


  1. jahason

    December 4, 2019 at 5:21 am

    Isn’t this copying Leonardo di Caprio in “Catch me if you can” which itself is based on a true story?

  2. yabadoo

    December 4, 2019 at 9:24 am

    This is insane. In this age with hyper vigilance over security and preventive measures, this guy sure had guts to even try something like this. Having said that, security at New Delhi airport is pretty tight, you cannot even enter the terminal building without proof of a confirmed reservation and not allowed in earlier than 4 hours before departure. I have seen plainclothes undercover security men (carrying handguns under their jackets/shirts) who look like ordinary passengers roaming the terminal carrying hand luggage etc., tackle a man to the ground once, he was behaving suspiciously and when they confronted him he hit one of them hence they went medieval on him and had him in cuffs in a minute. There are several airports where undercover security roam around which is comforting to know.

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