Kenya Airways Suspends Complimentary Tickets Due to Abuse of Buddy Pass Scheme

June 6, 2024

Kenya Airways (KQ) has extended the suspension of its complimentary travel scheme for staff amid an investigation into alleged abuse of the program.

The buddy pass scheme entitles airline employees to two free flights a year, each accompanied by up to four other passengers. It allows staff to nominate family and friends within specified limits and clear accompanying rules.

Some KQ employees have however abused the scheme, prompting the airline to suspend it in April, pending investigations initially scheduled to end on May 17.

KQ has now extended the suspension of the scheme beyond the revised May 31 date it had previously indicated.

“The suspension of the buddy pass programme at Kenya Airway is still on. We have suspended it by a few more days as per the last memo I issued to staff,” said KQ chief people officer Tom Shivo.

The airline has since started dismissing staff members found guilty of abusing the buddy pass privilege.

Under Resolution 788 of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which provides for free or reduced fare transportation to an employee of an air carrier, immediate family members — including spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters, and dependents — are listed as beneficiaries of a buddy scheme.

“It’s a privilege offered to staff, so when it’s abused we can withdraw it. These are internal matters,” said a source at the airline’s communication office on Tuesday, June 4.

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