How to Eat for Free at Airport Lounges… and Get a Fine?

Posted in At the Terminal, Europe, International, MUC

One of the most successful Fly&Dine stories of all time was about a Chinese man who was able to game the system at his local airport to eat in the first class lounge for free by continually extending the outbound date on his refundable first class ticket. Well, it looks like somebody else tried to do it and apparently, the folks in Germany are not nearly as forgiving as the Chinese (let’s not get into international politics/stereotypes in the comments, okay, folks?).

Here’s the story: a German guy buys a refundable business class ticket from Munich (MUC) to Zurich (ZRH) on Lufthansa. For a year, the man goes to the Lufthansa Business Lounge and chows down on sausages and meatloaf to his heart’s content, then changes the date of his flight before he leaves. I’m guessing he also took advantage of the world’s first airport lounge Bavarian beer garden, as well. After doing this 35 times, Lufthansa caught wind of it and canceled the ticket WITH a full refund. At that point, most people would probably say “I’ve had my fun. Time to move on.” But not this guy. Instead, he buys ANOTHER ticket and starts doing the same thing all over again. This time Lufthansa had enough and decided to prosecute.

How did it turn out? Not so well (link in German). The court found that the enterprising gentleman exploited the system illegally and was ordered to pay Lufthansa 1980 total — a little over $2,600. That comes out to around $75 per visit. Wouldn’t you just be better off eating at a nice restaurant 35 times?

It just goes to show you that exploiting the system may seem like a good idea, but it’s not nearly as much fun when you get caught.

h/t to Bloomberg

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