Talk about a meal ticket.
A China Eastern Airlines ‘passenger’ used his first-class fare to chow down on free meals for a year. The first-class ticket entitled him to eat and drink in China Eastern’s VIP Lounge at Xi’an International Airport. And that’s what he did — 300 times!
According to the Chinese-language newspaper Kwong Wah Yit Poh in Malaysia, the man kept re-booking the fully refundable ticket over and over, nearly every day for a year. He’d flash the legitimate ticket to lounge staff at the Shaanxi province airport and then sit down for a pre-flight meal, just like any other first-class traveller. But instead of boarding a plane he would change his flight departure to the next day and leave. The next day, he’d coolly repeat the procedure.
So was the free fare fair? The airline admitted there was nothing that prevented the man from changing his itinerary and re-booking. But after catching onto the cleverly deceptive scheme, officials confronted the man and brought the grifting to a grinding halt.
Still, the high flyer was able to get a full refund, not to mention a full belly, before he was grounded. He cashed in the ticket just before it expired.
A spokesperson for China’s second largest carrier called the ruse a “rare act.”
But now that the secret is out, will other ‘travellers’ be hungry to try the scam or will airlines cross it off the menu?
Food for thought, anyway.