Twenty-four flights for free. Sounds like a dream come true but it’s the tale of 49 year-old Martín Alejandro Fumarola. Between 2008 and 2012 he conned the Aerolíneas Argentinas system, buying flights with other peoples’ credit cards but keeping his name and ID number to reap the spoils. His frequent flying habits were so notable he even secured him a platinum membership in the airline’s frequent flyers program.
His ticket-purchasing crime spree led to 30 tickets, of which he used 24. The National Immigration Office confirmed that he had traveled to Panama, United States, South Africa, Chile, Germany, Mexico and France to name a few destinations.
Fumarlo’s crafty plan made sure he never maxed out the cards and his ticket purchasing timings were key for this scandal. He would usually buy tickets during weekends and after 7PM — when employees have gone home and the automated systems take over. He bought the flights very close to their departure time so he would touch down and disappear before anyone realized what he had done. With international flights, usually returns, he would only take the journey one way.
His luck eventually ran out when an employee saw the usual name on a ticket but accompanied by a credit card name that did match up. This led to a ban of flights from the airline. Having fallen victim to the traveling bug however, Fumarlo said he would return all the money if he could keep his air-miles.