A man in India graduated himself from frequent flier to pilot – without ever going to school or getting a pilot’s license.
Rajan Mahbubani was hoping to get something beyond the preferential treatment usually reserved for frequent fliers when he donned a Lufthansa pilot’s uniform to pass himself off as part of the cockpit crew earlier this week.
Fortunately, he was caught and arrested at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Tuesday just before boarding an AirAsia flight from Delhi to Kolkata, police said.
Sanjay Bhatia, the airport’s deputy commissioner of police, told CNN that a Lufthansa employee had alerted airport security that a “suspected passenger was impersonating a captain of Lufthansa airline.” Why Mahbubani had decided to dress in a Lufthansa uniform but board an AirAsia plane remains unclear, but suspicious AirAsia officials had already called Lufthansa to verify his identity.
Mahbubani, who was arrested, was also carrying a fake Lufthansa pilot ID that he used to gain privileges at airports. One shudders to think what would have happened if Mahbubani was called upon to actually assist in flying the plane in the event of an emergency.
“Mahbubani said that he was a frequent flier and used to dress up as a pilot to gain easy access through security, get preferential treatment from security agencies and airlines and seat upgrades,” said Bhatia. “He would use the passage normally used by airline crew.”
He faces charges in India of cheating and impersonating. If convicted he could face a year in prison or a fine, or both.
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