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Last Updated : Oct 23, 2019 07:18 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Airline employee faces prison for upgrading tickets worth Rs 5.5 crore for friends and family

Being a gate agent, the accused had the airline’s computer reservation database at her disposal.


A former employee of JetBlue Airways has pleaded guilty of exploiting her position in the company to upgrade the tickets of her friends and family.

Tiffany Jenkins, 31, confessed of the crime in a Boston federal court on October 18. She was arrested in November 2018 and has been charged with three counts of wire fraud for upgrading the air tickets of her friends, family, and acquaintances.

Guilty of switching 505 tickets, she may have to spend time at the prison time and be slapped steep fines too when she is convicted in January 2020.

She was caught after committing the fraud for about 15 months, costing the airways a loss of $785,000 approximately, reported The Washington Post.

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Jenkins exploited JetBlue reservation database from July 2016 to September 2017 to convert the tickets of more than 100 fliers known to her to low-cost air tickets into expensive ones.

In one such instance, the former JetBlue employee had switched reservations for an inexpensive flight from Las Vegas to Long Beach in California to a fancy long-haul at some other destination.

Being a gate agent, Jenkins had the airline’s computer reservation database at her disposal. She would use a special code known as the involuntary exchange or ‘INVOL’, to switch the type of flights for her kith and kin without any extra charge.

Speaking about the same, US attorney Andrew Lelling said: “She exploited a code that agents use to change flights only when a customer misses his/her flight or experiences a death in the family.”

“The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss or gain, whichever is greater,” he added.

In a similar incident, United Airlines staff Mercedes B Stafford was sentenced to 30 months jail time for forging more than 500 plane tickets for his friends and family from May 2007 to October 2009.

Moreover, 35 employees of the airlines were fired for selling off their “buddy passes”, which are only meant to be used by their friends or family to fly at reduced rates.

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First Published on Oct 23, 2019 07:18 pm
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