26

My friend was sent a picture of an airline ticket that a guy on Facebook has bought for her.

How can I prove this is a fake and that she is being scammed? Her flight is Thai Air flight BF120 from SEA to PAH (Barkley Regional) xtkt 0372314080023.

I thought tickets were supposed to be 14 digits long. How can I look this up to prove to her it’s fake and save her from going to the airport and being devastated because it’s fake and to stop her from sending him any more money?


This is my first time on here but I’m sure you all hear this all the time. My friend had a tragic year loosing her husband to Covid and 6 months later loosing her daughter in a horrific car accident. She is lonely and vulnerable and I am just trying to protect her. Thank you for all the advice. I told her today of my worries and showed her all your comments.

19
  • 12
    Well, there's no way Thai Air is flying to Barkely Regional in Kentucky. It could be a code share but BF is the French Bee low-cost airline, which I'm sure also doesn't fly to Barkley Regional.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 0:11
  • 10
    As well as the answers to your question, have your friend read Romance scammers’ favorite lies exposed and Online Imposters Break Hearts and Bank Accounts, there are many many other warnings out there
    – Traveller
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 9:26
  • 7
    @MichaelMacAskill It looks like someone altered the question history so that not even the first revision contains the pictures anymore.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 18:59
  • 6
    This is my first time on here but I’m sure you all hear this all the time. My friend had a tragic year loosing her husband to Covid and on this later loosing her daughter in a horrific car accident. She is lonely and vulnerable and I am just trying to protect her. Thank you for all the advice. I told her today of my worries and showed her all your comments. Thank you all Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 6:24
  • 7
    Please do all you can to help her, those repugnant bastards don’t care who they hurt. I have a dear friend who was taken for a large amount (enough to affect her life, let alone the psychological damage). I won’t say what should be done to them but it would be permanent and painful. Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 15:07

6 Answers 6

55

For starters, that's not a picture of an airline ticket! It's a boarding pass of the sort that is printed and given to the passenger no more than a few hours before the flight. That document, if it really was issued for a flight on October 10th, would have to have been issued on October 10th 2022 or in some earlier year.

The first three digits of an ETKT number identify the airline. The code 037 is for USAir, not Thai (which is 217).

45

Several indicators show this "boarding pass" to be bogus.

a) The "boarding pass" displays the Thai Airways logo, but Thai Airways doesn't provide service to Seattle (it used to do so, but doesn't now), and certainly not to Barkley Regional Airport in Kentucky. No other connecting flights are shown, only a non-existent flight "120."

b) Flightaware.com shows Thai Flight 120 is a domestic flight within Thailand, going from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

c) The "boarding pass" doesn't show a six-digit Passenger Name Record.

I'm sure there's more. The real problem here, however, is how to communicate with your friend, and persuade them of the falsity of the document. That's way beyond the scope of this SE site. I think this underlying question should be asked on Interpersonal Skills.

5
  • 3
    Thai's flights are coded TG, not BF 😬
    – dda
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 0:45
  • 1
    BF120 does not exist
    – NelsonGon
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 22:49
  • 1
    PNR are not six-digits, they're six alpha-numeric characters: digits and uppercase, with confusing uppercase characters removed. Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 15:57
  • @MatthieuM. I agree. I used the word "digits" in its colloquial sense as "either a letter or a single-place number." Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 16:57
  • 2
    Worth mentioning that no foreign airlines provide domestic flights in the US (it's illegal). Not just Thai.
    – nobody
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 23:51
41

Besides all the flaws already mentioned (it's a boarding pass and not a ticket, boarding passes are not issued days in advance, airline is wrong, flight is non-existent, etc.) a quick easy search ("Search image with Google Lens) gives us the original boarding pass from 10+ years ago:

enter image description here

(found on this website).


The fake boarding pass:

enter image description here


Edit: some of the obvious mistakes in the fake boarding pass.

  • There is no gate A03 at SEA. It would have been gate A3.

  • They kept the MXP1CKB506 and MPXII at the bottom, both indicating that the boarding pass is for MPX (Milan-Malpensa)

  • The B's in BF and in 2B look weird (compare with the B06 in the good boarding pass).

  • The flight number doesn't exist, and the airline code is for an airline that does not fly in the US.

  • There are no direct flights SEA-PAH.

Interestingly, they took the time to change the sequence number, which is internal information for the airline (it usually means the order in which the person checked-in, i.e. SEQ8 means that the passenger is the 8th person to check-in for the flight).

9
  • 3
    It's weird that that they edited the seat number and sequence number, seems a lot of effort for things that are not really consequential
    – mousetail
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 14:24
  • 2
    Indeed. Or using a Thai boarding pass to try to pass as a domestic US flight. They tried to put some unneeded subtlety into a very crude attempt. Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 14:35
  • 4
    I have included a sanitized version of the fake picture. It is still viewable through the edit history. Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 15:29
  • 5
    Thanks for posting the sanitized version. Your mods are working on removing it from the edit history.
    – Willeke
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 15:39
  • 1
    @mousetail: The best I can think of is that if they change everything, then it all looks consistent; as opposed to changing only a few things and those bad edits sticking out like a sore thumb.
    – Flater
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 22:00
26

A short list of incongruities:

  • Thai doesn't do US domestic flights. Especially not to Podunk, OH. Even in Thailand it doesn't do smaller airports. Its low-cost subsidiary does.
  • Thai's airline code is TG not BF.
  • BF120 as a flight doesn't seem to exist.
  • This is not a ticket, but a boarding pass, for October 10. Even an electronic boarding pass wouldn't be given so early in advance, let alone a printed boarding pass...
  • Only Contour Airlines flies to Barkley, from Charlotte.

There's probably more...

2
18

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barkley_Regional_Airport

It is used for general aviation and sees one airline, subsidized by the Essential Air Service program. The only airline is Contour Airlines, with Embraer 145 flights to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina.

13

A generally consolidated list of issues with this:

  • This is a boarding pass, not a ticket. Some people conflate the two, but they are very different things.
  • Boarding passes are only issued within 48 hours before the flight they are for, and are only usable for that specific instance of that specific flight. This one has a date of October 10, which, given the current date of 2023-10-07, means it cannot be valid for any future flight.
  • Thai Airways International uses IATA airline code TG for their flights, not BF, so the flight code is not a Thai Airways International flight (despite the boarding pass having the correct livery for Thai Airways International).
  • The IATA code BF is assigned to French Bee SAS, a low-cost regional airline that only operates out of Paris Orly Airport (ORY). SEA is not on their destination list, and PAH definitely isn’t (none of their fleet could take off there, the whole fleet are A350's and the runways are below the 2km MTRL for that aircraft).
  • BF 120 does not seem to be a registered flight code for French Bee (which makes sense, they only serve eight destinations).
  • Boarding passes are (almost) always printed with the underlying flight code, not any codeshare code, so it’s unlikely that BF 120 designates a codeshare.
  • If we assume a misprint of some sort and look up flight TG 120, we see that it’s a domestic flight within Thailand (Bangkok to Chiang Mai).
  • Thai Airways International does not currently have SEA as a destination, and they definitely don’t have PAH. They do have a lot of codeshare agreements (they’re one of the Star Alliance carriers), so in theory a flight too or from SEA could be booked through them, but as mentioned above, the underlying flight code would be printed on the pass, not the codeshare code. None of their codeshare partners serve PAH either though
  • PAH is only served by one commercial airline, Contour Airlines (IATA code LF), and they are definitely not in any codeshare or interline agreements with French Bee or Thai Airways International.
  • The e-ticket number is the wrong length, but only because of the airlines involved. A 13-digit code is technically valid because the check digit is not always mandatory, but both Thai Airways International and French Bee use 14-digit e-ticket numbers.
  • The e-ticket number has the wrong prefix. Thai Airways International has the prefix 217. 037 was historically US Airways, which merged into American Airlines in 2015. As far as I know, it was never reassigned, so it’s not even a valid prefix anymore.
  • While the boarding pass does not have a PNR number, this is normal for a Thai Airways International boarding pass, so it’s not actually an issue.
1
  • It turns out that the e-ticket number is real, just from many years ago (see picture in my answer). Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 18:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .