Air India pays its employees to fly on free tickets

In one of the most amusing stories I’ve read recently, Air India paid out the value of 700 tickets to its employees, for tickets which were free in the first place.

Air India has had a companion flies free promotion on offer for a while, where a full fare ticket in any of the three cabins gets you another ticket in the same cabin free of cost. You could find details of the promotion here.

However, as per this news report in the Hindustan Times,

The deal is good enough as it is, but in Air India it came to mean other things. There, passengers (read Air India employees) travelled on the free ticket and then sent it to the airline to claim reimbursement for the fare they never paid.

It further goes on to mention:

A perusal of over 700 tickets issued by Air India in Delhi established that over fifty percent had ended up burning a hole in the Maharaja’s pocket. Instead of the airline receiving the full fare, its employees actually ended up earning after flying for free.

How did this happen? Air India employees are obviously eligible for free travel on the airline. So they went out with friends and families, or maybe random strangers and submitted those tickets (including the free tickets) for reimbursement by the office, and got a reimbursement as well. As per Air India’s vigilance department, somehow the child/parent/spouse guideline was sidestepped.

While the Air India website shows the scheme to be still alive, the newspaper says it has been discontinued owing to these issues that have cropped up from the past.

Sigh! Sigh! Sigh!

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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