Over 35 employees of United Airlines have been fired after it was discovered that they were selling their travel passes for profit. Gate staff were the first to suspect this scheme and an investigation soon followed suit. United has cautioned its employees over the correct use of their privileges.
United Airlines has fired over 35 of its staff members after they were found to be violating the terms of their travel perks, USA Today reports. Specifically, the employees were said to be selling on their airline travel passes, privileges meant to be enjoyed only by staff members and their close family and friends.
An article published on the carrier’s internal website, which has been seen by the outlet, described in detail the circumstances that led to the firing of these employees.
“United employees at the gate noticed something fishy about a particular group of nine non-revenue pass riders. The three families, who were traveling internationally, stated that they had ‘paid for’ first class tickets – but they were on non-revenue reservations and were unable to provide the names of the employees who had provided the tickets,” United stated, as quoted by USA Today.
An investigation soon followed, during which the carrier “uncovered a brokering scheme where employees were soliciting pass travel privileges from their colleagues to put up for sale.”
It has also been revealed that some of the fired employees provided those using their passes with false documents in an attempt to create the appearance of a familial relationship.
It is reported that some of the fired employees received payment for the use of their passes.
“Your pass travel privileges are intended for use only by you and your friends and family members. While you can be reimbursed by your pass riders for any taxes, fees and imputed income for their travel, charging above that amount is not allowed – and selling pass travel or trading for goods or services isn’t either,” cautioned the carrier.
Commenting on the incident to the outlet Frank Benenati, spokesperson for United, said, “Enjoying flying privileges is a unique and special advantage of working at an airline, and it is intended only for our employees and their friends and family. We have clear rules on flying privileges so we can all fairly enjoy this benefit.”