JetBlue employee caught swapping cheap domestic flights for expensive international services for free

Woman pleads guilty to fraud

Boarding now: JetBlue's terminal at New York JFK airport
Boarding now: JetBlue's terminal at New York JFK airport

An airline employee has pleaded guilty to fraud after swapping cheap domestic flights for more expensive international ones for friends and family.

Tiffany Jenkins, 31, used her position as a JetBlue gate agent to convert hundreds of flights, inputting a special code into the reservation database to change destinations for people she was acquainted with at no extra charge.

From July 2016 to September 2017, Jenkins used a practice called “involuntary exchange”, primarily designed for passengers who miss their flights or have to cancel last minute due to a family bereavement, around 500 times for more than 100 different passengers, according to a statement from US Attorney Andrew Lelling.

Jenkins pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud at federal court on 18 October.

In many cases, the passengers had originally booked onto one of the airline’s cheapest short-haul services within the US, reports the Boston Globe.

“A short time later, Jenkins exchanged those tickets for a completely different city pair, generally involving much more expensive international locations, for friends, family and acquaintances,” said Lelling.

Jenkins will be sentenced on 21 January 2020 and faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

It follows a lawsuit filed in March 2019, in which three female flight attendants claim they were drugged and two of them raped by two JetBlue pilots during a layover in Puerto Rico.

The pilots remained on the job following the alleged incident without receiving any sort of reprimanding or punishment, the suit said. At least one of the female flight attendants said she was forced to work with one of the accused pilots after the alleged rape.

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After making their way to a beach in Puerto Rico near the hotel they were staying during their layover in May of last year, the women were offered sips from one of the flight attendant’s alcoholic beverages.

Shortly after, they recall being raped by the pilots through “flashes of memory” during a hazy experience, the suit read.

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