A 25-year-old Frenchman was found guilty of attempting to board an Emirates flight to Dubai without a ticket by using a forged boarding pass to fool airport security.
Yann Ilunga attempted to board the flight in February 2020 at Manchester International Airport and was recently found guilty of attempting to defraud Emirates. According to a probation report, the attempted crime was the result of “poor planning and third-rate actions.”
Llunga obtained a screenshot of a legitimate mobile boarding pass from a friend who was scheduled to fly from Heathrow Airport to Dubai and simply changed the airport code from LHR to MAN.
He appeared to be unaware that the barcode on the boarding pass was only coded to allow access at Heathrow Airport and contained the information of the legitimate traveller.
“He had a doctored pass on his mobile phone that he used to try to board the flight, but the security system detected something was wrong,” prosecutor Peter Warne told Manchester Crown Court.
“The pass had been forged from a boarding pass belonging to a female friend flying from London. That attempt was not approved by security.”
“He tried to show the security officer his phone with the passcode on it, but that also didn’t work,” Warne said, according to the Manchester Evening Post.
Llunga was directed back to the Emirates check-in desks after being unable to pass through security due to a faulty boarding pass. Once there, Llunga was able to trick the check-in staff into issuing a genuine boarding pass by posing as a passenger on the flight and claiming the pass had been lost.
The reissued boarding pass allowed Llunga to pass through security, but he was quickly discovered when he attempted to board the flight. When gate agents asked to see his passport, they discovered that his name did not match the name on his boarding pass. In addition, he failed to provide the correct seat number.
The real passenger was even removed from the plane and questioned by police, but no further action was taken.
In his defence, Llunga’s lawyer stated that he purchased the plane ticket for his “lady friend” and was scheduled to fly with her from Heathrow, but bad weather prevented him from making the trip. According to the court, the ticket should have cost £800.
Llunga has two prior convictions for attempting to avoid paying train fares.
He did, however, avoid incarceration and was instead sentenced to five months in prison suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete 10 days of rehabilitation activity and 140 hours of unpaid work.
By Joe Cusmano