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BA Concierge Facing Investigation Over Delaying Flights for VIPs

A British Airways customer service agent tasked with pampering the rich and famous is suspended while the airline investigates suspicions he overstepped his authority and accepted kickbacks.

It’s no secret that there is sometimes a different set of rules for the very wealthy and the very famous. British Airways even has a dedicated “special services agent” based at Heathrow Airport (LHR) just to make sure these VIPs don’t end up standing in line with the hoi polloi. But now The Daily Mail is reporting that special services agent Mathew Underwood has been suspended from his post, while officials probe whether he went too far in his efforts to indulge his celebrity clients.

Despite being a relative unknown, Mathew Underwood’s face has appeared in tabloids around the world. The paparazzi aren’t often trying to capture his image, but chances are if a famous actor or celebrity heiress are passing through LHR, Underwood will be standing next to them, providing a helpful escort, but for the time being a veil of suspicion is keeping him out of the public eye.

Officials first became concerned that Underwood might be stepping out of bounds in the service of BA’s very important passengers after reports surfaced that the special services agent may have delayed an entire flight when an elite flyer called Underwood to say that his daughter was running late getting to the airport. As management looked closer at Underwood’s activities, a potentially troubling pattern emerged. The VIP concierge was suspended from his job amid allegations that several British Airways flights were delayed so that well-heeled flyers could board flights late. Authorities say that Underwood is also suspected of improperly using his corporate credit card to provide unearned upgrades and pay baggage fees for his upper crust customers.

Officials at the airport are trying to determine if these incidents are simply a case of an employee being overzealous in his approach to customer service or if there are any indications that Underwood accepted payoffs in exchange for special treatment that went above and beyond what was allowed.

If investigators find that Underwood bent the rules for personal gain, he could face consequences far more serious than a simple rebuke from the human resources department. “We take any allegations of wrong doing very seriously, and always investigate, and involve the appropriate authorities when necessary,” a British Airways spokesperson told reporters.

[Photo: The Daily Mail/British Airways]

Comments are Closed.
Centurion December 10, 2015

India was a British Colony and it has been reported that commercial flights departing India have been held for even low level government vips.

geminidreams November 10, 2015

The evils of tipping. Guy helps high value client make flight, client provides tip for good service = kickback?

Bloobell November 10, 2015

Delaying flights is not only extremely inconvenient to those passengers who have made the effort to arrive and check in in good time but can also cost his employer a hefty fine. Customer service is very important but not when looking after one person negatively impacts on the many.

d00t November 10, 2015

And if they find he didn't do this for personal gain - he deserves a promotion. Looking after important flyers no questions asked. How it should be.