With all the CCTV, sophisticated IDs, and online media around these days, channeling Frank Abagnale is a tough ask in 2019. But a gentleman from Delhi gave it a red hot go earlier this week when he slipped on a pilot’s uniform and fast-tracked himself through Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. It turns out it wasn’t the first time he’d done this. Alas, this time he was pinched at the departure gate.
Rajan Mahbubani (48) of Vasant Kunj in Delhi, India, was wearing a Lufthansa pilot’s uniform when he passed through Delhi Airport on Monday, November 18, 2019. He looks pretty smooth with his captain’s bars and the full sunglasses in the pocket action.
Our man in question styles himself as Dr on Twitter and quotes the guru of 1990s management courses, Peter Drucker.
Smooth but not smooth enough
But not smooth enough it seems. Mr Mahbubani got all the way to gate 52 in terminal 3 before he raised a few eyebrows. He was waiting for his Air Asia flight to Kolkata when he aroused suspicions. Air Asia called Lufthansa to verify his identity and Lufthansa swiftly dispatched security to the gate where he was challenged and everything just fell to pieces for our Frank Abagnale wannabe.
India’s Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) subsequently intervened. According to the Hindustan Times, he was passed onto Delhi Police for “a further probe.”
Sounds like just what you need at the end of a long day
Lufthansa ID picked up in Bangkok
According to The Independent, Mr Mahbubani picked up his Lufthansa ID in Bangkok and had enjoyed 15 flights in his Lufthansa rig. We can’t ascertain whether the flights were complimentary but there were upgrades, queue jumping and getting himself waved through security.
It is also unknown whether he consistently stuck with AirAsia or whether Mr Mahbubani lucked out and choose the wrong airline this week. AirAsia told The Independent;
“AirAsia India confirms that a case of false identity was detected and informed to the CISF. The individual in question was impersonating as an employee of Lufthansa airlines.”
And as is the way when these things happen, it kind of went downhill from there. It turns out Mr Mahbubani enjoys a bit of dress-up. Not in drag. Drag is very 2013. Rather, uniforms. Uniforms are the go with Mr Mahbubani. Which is fine I guess as long as you are discreet about it. But he wasn’t. He liked to post the odd picture online – a rookie mistake.
Mr Mahbubani’s days of sailing through queues at airports appear to be over. While the guy is just a bit of an oddball and no real risk to anybody, the fact that he was able to do get on flights previously without been properly scrutinized indicates there’s a hole in the system somewhere.
It is not known what offenses Mr Mahbubani will be be charged with or whether his Lufthansa uniform will be confiscated.