33 Arrested At Singapore Changi For Deliberately Missing Flights

For all its efficiency, cleanliness, great hotels, and a stunning airport, Singapore is not a nation that suffers fools gladly. Such fools include those willing to fork out for an airline ticket just to get inside the fabulous Changi Airport. As such, it seems local law enforcement has been flexing its muscles to stop this poor practice in its tracks.

Changi wants you to keep your fond farewells strictly landside. Photo: Singapore Airlines

FlyerTalk is reporting that people are getting arrested at Changi for buying tickets and going into the transit area with no intention of flying. The report cites the example of a man who wanted to share a little last-minute quality time with the outbound love of his life.  

According to the FlyerTalk report, a 27-year-old man bought a ticket and got himself a boarding pass so he could enter the secure transit area because his wife was leaving town and he wanted to maximize his ”face-time.” 


He had no intention of going anywhere. Just as well, because the police arrested him.


Not an isolated incident

It turns out that as many as 33 people have been arrested so far this year for doing the exact same thing. Although, not all of them were following their heart. 

Changi Airport is the perfect venue to stalk South Korean boy bands. Photo: Shankar s. via Flickr.

The Straits Times elaborates on some of the reasons why people are doing this. Apparently, one 20-year-old lady pulled the same trick in order to get into the transit area to meet members of a South Korean boy band. Another non-passenger just wanted to go shopping in the fantastic surrounds of the modern airport complex.


Totally illegal

In a Facebook statement, Singapore Police said;

“The Police would like to remind all passengers that the transit areas of Changi Airport are gazetted as Protected Places. Passengers who enter the transit areas with a boarding pass should only be there for the purpose of travelling to their next destinations. Those who misuse their boarding pass to enter into the transit areas, with no intention to proceed to their next destinations, are liable for an offence under the Infrastructure Protection Act.”

According to reports, perpetrators of this odd practice could put themselves at risk of a fine of up to SGD$20,000 or two years in prison.

Saying goodbye at the self serve check-in kiosks just isn’t the same. Photo: George Tan via Flickr.

Apparently, this trend is on the uptick. Over the whole of 2018, only 40 got arrested for “misusing their boarding pass”. With four months of 2019 to go, 33 people have already been arrested, suggesting the final number could be much higher.

While it’s certainly very romantic to want to spend every last second with your spouse, or indeed to invest in a plane ticket in order to hunt down your pop idol, venturing airside with no intention to fly is clearly a bad idea. Not only would it cause problems for airlines, having passengers booked who end up being no-shows, it will present security concerns for the airport too.

Do you think Changi is right to be clamping down on this sort of activity? Let us know in the comments.


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Seems harsh, but Singapore doesn’t put up with crap.

FYI it’s espresso, not Expresso.


Not sure if your point is that SGP should go easy on their laws, or that you think an airport’s passenger areas should be places non-passengers could come and go as they please as long as they have the money to spare?


I don’t think the article implied an opinion on the topic. I actually appreciate that. Report the news without spin.


Ignorantia juris non excusat

People who break the local law of a country deserve everything that is coming to them.
Singapore isn’t the kind of place you go about gaming the system.
Look forward to seeing a few entitled white tourists going to jail.


From the sound of the report, it does not seem that those arrested are “entitled white tourists”. Are there many entitled white tourists who would do something so silly so just to stalk a Korean pop band member, or just to “go shopping” in Changi airport? Anyway, whatever colour those folks are (and wherever they are in the world), they should not really do that , even if they have more money than sense.


Haha white? Nothing about race in this article. Doesn’t even sound like white behaviours to me, we’re way too cheap for any of the reasons mentioned above. But I think we all agree with the idea of sending all the arrogant entitled to jail, if only in the name of karma.


Yes I agree with you..


Why do you bring race into this? Seems you have a chip on one shoulder?? Or both??


No one would ever do that at Heathrow Airport ,for sure.


Stupid law. Who gets hurt?


Agreed…. it’s a very strange money wasting behavior… if I have a boarding ticket its holiday time in the sun👍💃


That’s because there is nothing much to see at Heathrow Airport. This on the other hand seems to be a lovely green oasis with much to see. Saying that I still wouldn’t buy a ticket and not fly.


Where’s the victim? Someone got to sit next to an empty seat and the airline got its money. Do authorities really need to waste time and money putting someone who does this in jail?


And someone else who needed to fly in an emergency couldn’t get on that flight because it was full (of empty seats) !!! I say arrest anyone buying a ticket with no intention to fly.


That’s not how it works. If the person never boarded the plane a standby person would be allowed on. That’s how standby works.


Airlines overbook flights routinely to ensure flights are as full as possible
They know a certain % of people dont turn up due to health or other reasons. Hence sometimes flights are overbooked and some passengers are bumped to the next flight…


Actually no, these folks usually buy late-departing refundable tickets, often even first-class tickets so they get to enjoy the lounges then they just return it later for a refund. The airline and the lounges suffer financially, as do legitimate passengers who now have to deal with more crowded lounges while these freeloaders are in a way conducting theft of services. Changi is an amazing airport that is almost a tourist attraction, if they don’t crack down at this type of behavior it may get overrun with interlopers.


Then, let the airlines charge money for this loss. It’s easy. The security of the sterile zone is not breached unless it is implied that the security checks are performed differently for a non-intent as for an intent pax. Don’t refund the security fees, and don’t refund the lounge costs. You purchase bread for the option to eat it. You have every right to spoil that option. You are depriving a starving person of that bread. You purchase the option to fly with a ticket. You have every right to spoil that option. You might be depriving another pax of… Read more »


It’s a really strange behavior. I’ve never heard of this at any other airport….
The only way a person can get a refund after checking in is if there is an acute health problem, for which they would require a Drs report confirming the sudden acute illness. It all seems so unlikely???

CJ Savvy

Typical Singapore policies. Why not allow visitors into such areas and simply cordon off a no-crossing section for non-boarding guests? It will be extra business for the shopping outlets there and people get to see off their loved ones (or bump into pop idols) a little longer. It’s a win-win situation for all parties.


Is that the way the airport is in your country?


It’s a win/win situation

The airlines gets it’s money even though the passenger isn’t on board

The enforcement is able to portray a good image of security

And the government spends public funds to keep the offenders behind bars; this way it can request for more funds during tabling of budget

Jon DeGeorge

Typical authoritarianism of Singapore…
Overpunishment with no point (they’re clearly not a threat if they were properly admitted to airside)
It will not deny passengers (that’s what the standby system is for!)