Travel News > February 2010 > Labour MP in flights scandal

Labour MP in flights scandal


No sooner has the MPs' expenses scandal died down when out pops news that the former home secretary David Blunkett has been given free flight upgrades by British Airways.

A newspaper reported this week that Mr Blunkett, Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside, was allegedly given more than £8000 of free upgrades by a manager at the airline who was previously his political aid.

Mr Blunkett, who is blind, has since admitted that he and his son were upgraded by the airline on return flights to South Africa, but only because there was a mix up over his booking.

The Labour MP claimed that his travel agent had failed to complete his flight reservation so that when he tried to check in the airline had no record of his booking and would not allow him to pay for the tickets on the spot.

Mr Blunkett put in a call to BA's director of corporate communications, his former aid of seven years, who arranged not only for him to board the flight but also upgraded him and his son.

Mr Blunkett claims the value of the upgrades he received from premium economy to club (business) class on the outward leg and from club class to first class on the return journey was not as high at £8000.

He also pointed out that British Airways has a policy to allow passengers in a similar situation to board a flight and resolve the issue at a later date.

Advice for other passengers who don't have a friend or former colleague working at an airline are advised to dress smartly, smile at check-in staff and ask politely for an upgrade. See if that works.

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