Man Arrested For Buying An Airline Ticket To Escort His Wife To Her Flight

Many people I meet don’t actually know that you generally can’t get through airport security in the United States unless you’re flying.  As with many things in life, there are exceptions. But, they’ve become much more rare than they used to be.  There was a time when it was easy to get a dummy boarding pass on American Airlines sending you to SABRE headquarters (their reservation system) so you could access the lounge if you were a member and had a meeting there.  It’s just not that way anymore.  That’s why it was so remarkable when Pittsburgh opened up its airport to people not flying a couple of years ago.  Tampa followed suit not long after, but that’s really been about it for US airports allowing non-passengers through security.

Man Arrested At Singapore Airport For Escorting His Wife To Gate

Now, we have news of a man who was arrested at Singapore Changi Airport for buying an airline ticket without planning to actually fly using that ticket.  Thanks to Justin M for pointing this one out to me.  He’s apparently not the only one to be arrested.  A Facebook post by the police force seems to indicate 33 people have been arrested this year for doing the same thing:

As Gary Leff of View From the Wing points out, Singapore Changi Airport is a bad place to do this.  Every flight there is an international one. Getting out of the secured area can be problematic.  I had to do this once a few years ago.  I was helping a friend get home from London and I went through security to their gate at Heathrow.  Then, I exited to transfer to my terminal.  I got some weird looks from passport control but was ultimately allowed to pass.

The Final Two Pennies

This is still something that’s possible at most airports in the United States.  Purchase a fully refundable ticket and then cancel it after you get through security.  I can certainly understand the though process of wanting to help a loved one at the airport.  When my wife has to travel on her own with the kids I wish I could be there.  But, be forewarned that you may be breaking the rules doing so.  And, as fun as the 4-story slide is in Singapore Airport, its definitely against the rules there.

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Featured image by tang90246/Bigstockphoto.


  1. How do they catch these people? Does law enforcement hang around during boarding and grab anybody who doesn’t get on the plane?

  2. I recently was going to land in the US from an international destination. My wife was to land about 5 hours later. My plan was to go back to one of the airline lounges to work while waiting for her to land so that we could Uber home together ($80 trip). I asked the airline how to set it up, and they suggested I buy a fully refundable ticket for late that night, check in and go into the lounge, and then cancel it before leaving. Plans changed and my wife came home another day when I was in town, so I was able to pick her up. I wonder if all of the airline folks know that this might work in the US, but not in Singapore (or elsewhere).

    1. James, I’m a little surprised the airline told you to do it. It’s an obvious way to get through security, but I can’t imagine the airlines want to encourage you to tie up seats on airplanes to use their clubs. 😀

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