Shanghaiist reports that a person in Nanjing, China, has been arrested after making around $424K from delays on flights she had no intention of taking.
The 45 year old woman had booked over 900 flights between 2015 and 2019. She booked these flights without intending to go anywhere, but rather was counting on them being delayed in order to cash in on travel insurance policies.
She would purchase flight delay insurance, and then would analyze weather conditions and general flight on-time statistics in order to determine how likely it was that a flight would be delayed.
Over the course of five years she booked these hundreds of flights not just in her own name, but also in the names of friends and family members, in order to make it less obvious. This scam earned her about 3 million RMB, or about 424K USD.
The authorities had finally caught on to what she was doing, and on Friday it was announced that she was arrested and being charged with fraud.
Apparently some Chinese travel insurance companies have updated policies so that something like this couldn’t happen again, including adding provisions that a flight actually has to be taken in order for the compensation to be paid.
It’s still not entirely clear what kind of insurance policy she was taking advantage of, and how this worked. I wonder:
- How long did the flight have to be delayed for her to file a claim?
- Did these insurance policy essentially offer compensation for any sort of delay, or only for losses incurred as a result of the delay? If the latter, how exactly did that work in her situation?
- Was the insurance company reimbursing her for the flights, or was she cashing in on the policy and somehow getting a refund from the airline due to the delay?
(Tip of the hat to David)