Airline passenger accused of impersonating a pilot in scenes similar to movie Catch Me If You Can is rumbled after ordering a cocktail and snapping his in-flight meal

  • Bizarre incident occurred on a Dragonair flight from Hong Kong to Penang
  • Man was wearing a Cathay Pacific uniform and claimed he was off-duty
  • Flight attendants grew suspicious and soon learned he was not a pilot
  • Passenger was taken into custody and denied entry into Malaysia 
  • The scenario mirrored the plot of Spielberg movie Catch Me If You Can 

In scenes reminiscent of blockbuster Catch Me If You Can, an airline passenger has been accused of impersonating a pilot – complete with a fake uniform.

The man, aged 18 to 20, boarded a Dragonair flight from Hong Kong to Penang, Malaysia, wearing a Cathay Pacific pilot uniform and carrying a pass with Cathay Pacific logos.

He claimed to be an off-duty pilot, but cabin crew became suspicious and alerted officials on the ground when he ordered a cocktail and took photographs of his meal.

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A report by a Hong Kong newspaper stated that Instagram photos show the passenger wearing a pilot's uniform

A report by a Hong Kong newspaper stated that Instagram photos show the passenger wearing a pilot's uniform

Cabin crew believe the man regularly wears the uniform while he travels to and from Hong Kong’s airport

Cabin crew believe the man regularly wears the uniform while he travels to and from Hong Kong’s airport

The young man was carrying hand luggage and a lanyard with Cathay Pacific logos, reports stated

The young man was carrying hand luggage and a lanyard with Cathay Pacific logos, reports stated

The bizarre scenario mirrors elements of the Spielberg blockbuster, in which Leonardo Di Caprio, playing real-life con artist Frank Abagnale, tricks his way into a plane's cockpit by wearing a fake Pan American pilot uniform.

The unnamed man on the Dragonair flight claimed he had just flown into Hong Kong from San Francisco.   

The man reportedly told cabin crew on flight KA691 he wanted to personally thank the pilots once the Airbus A330 landed on the island of Penang and asked to be let into the cockpit to do so at the end of the three-hour journey.

But after he ordered a Bloody Mary, which isn't on Dragonair's menu, and began snapping his meal, cabin crew doubted his credentials.

The crew gave him a non-alcoholic beverage, The Standard reported, and asked to his his pilot identification. 

The scenario echoed the plot of Leonardo Di Caprio film Catch Me If You Can (pictured)

The scenario echoed the plot of Leonardo Di Caprio film Catch Me If You Can (pictured)

The Steven Spielberg film (picured) is based on the real-life story of Frank Abagnale

The Steven Spielberg film (picured) is based on the real-life story of Frank Abagnale

When he could not provide it, claiming that it was in his checked luggage, the flight attendants alerted the ground crew and Malaysian immigration officers.

Upon landing in Penang the man was found not to be a pilot, although he claimed his stepfather is one, and treated as an ‘inadmissible passenger’, reports said.

The impersonator, whose nationality has not been revealed, is said to have avoided being charged by Malaysian authorities and was sent back to Hong Kong. It is not known if he will face any charges there.

Chinese aviation authorities, however, said they would be contacting Dragonair, which is now also reportedly taking part in an ongoing police investigation.

A report in The Standard stated that photos on Instagram show the man wearing a pilot’s uniform - which may belong to his stepfather - and some cabin crew believe he regularly travels on the express train to Hong Kong’s airport while wearing the outfit.

A spokeswoman for Dragonair, a low-cost subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, said: 'The concerned passenger requested to speak with the captain and was turned down by the cabin crew. No details can be provided as the case is being handled by the police.

'Aviation safety is our first priority. We have stringent security measures in place. Non-operating cockpit crew and unauthorised persons are strictly prohibited from access to the cockpit.'

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