WATCH: Hacker creates QR code app allowing him access to airport first class lounges

He claims it works because most code readers at the lounges don't verify the information they scan

Przemek Jaroszewski, QR Code, Airport Lounge Hack

Przemek Jaroszewski uses his self-generated code to access the first class lounge in Istanbul airport [YouTube]

At a time when most people are interested in the lowest of frills in airline travel, the allure of what exactly goes on inside the first class lounge in the terminal building has lost none of its appeal. But the exorbitant prices associated with the corresponding plane tickets mean the average passenger will never get to try it out. Unless you hack the system.

Przemek Jaroszewski, the head of Poland’s Computer Emergency Response Team and frequent flyer, has created his own custom Android app that tricks boarding pass readers with a QR code, which he dutifully uses to gain access to the first class lounge.

Jaroszewski was inspired by a mix up in Warsaw’s airport, when an automated reader registered an error with his pass. Using his innovative and/or dubious skills as a hacker, he then created his own app that generates a valid QR code based on doctored details he enters. The QR code is produced by entering a fake name, his destination, his flight number, and his seat class, which must always be above economy level.

The Polish IT expert says he has tried and tested the hack in several of the fanciest first class lounges in a number of European airports, never yet encountering any problems. Jaroszewski believes the reason that his trick works is because the automatic readers at many airport lounges do not automatically cross-verify the information embedded in the code with actual flight manifest. Instead, they are satisfied with an authentic flight number, allowing access to the lounges and services like duty-free shopping.

Jaroszewski has no intentions of releasing his QR code app to the public, so if you wish to emulate his skills, you’ll need to learn how to code by yourself. However, the IT expert told Wired that it would be “very easy” for hackers to recreate the system, which is made up of roughly 500 lines of Javascript. So brave passengers who are not afraid of taking a risk – or the consequences of getting caught – can relax in style while waiting for the flight to be called.

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