BY SAM ALFAN.
An Orange Democratic Party nominated Senator has sued Kenya Airways for booking her on an economy class flight despite paying for business class.
Senator Beatrice Kwamboka wants the airline compelled to compensate her for violating her rights. She also wants KQ forced to reimburse the difference in airfare chargeable to persons that were travelling on December 28, 2020 in economic class compared to those travelling in the business class of its aircraft.
“This court does make an order directing the Respondent to pay to the Petitioner exemplary and /or punitive damages or such other relief as the court considers proper in the circumstances”, urged Kwamboka.
The legislator wants the High Court to declare that the unilateral decision to transfer or move her from the business class of its aircraft to the economic class despite her initial booking and payment is not only in dignifying as it offends the social status.
She argues that the move was an illegal exploitation of her right to property as provided for under article 28 and 40 of the Constitution.
Kwamboka says the transfer after booking and payment of the airfare was discriminatory of her as against other passengers, an affront to her consumer rights, unfair, unreasonable and unjust exercise of administrative action as provided and guaranteed under the Constitution.
She said on December 6 last year and in preparation for the December holiday festivities, she and her two children booked and paid a flight with the KQ from Nairobi to Mombasa.
She was issued with electronic tickets referenced as QSBBTH, QRZ9HZ and QRZ9HZ respectively which highlighted in no uncertain terms that she would depart to her Mombasa destination on the December 28, at 1300 on board the business class of one of the Respondent’s aircraft.
But she was shocked on the travel date to learn that her seat had been improperly and to her inconvenience ‘sold’ to obviously another favoured client without first offering her an apology.
Consequently, she said her children were forced to travel without her and were left stranded at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for hours before she could find an alternative means of getting to Mombasa.
“That the decision to shift her from the business class of the Respondent’s aircraft to their economic class was without basis or any reasonable justification as the Petitioner had long reserved and paid for her seat at the business class and subsequently issued with a receipt”, she claims.
She said the action of transferring her from the business class to the economic class without her participation or consultation offends her right to a fair administrative action that is fair and her right to receive in writing reasons for such an adverse action being taken against her.
KQ’s unilateral decision to transfer or shift her from the business class to the economic class and consequently offering her reserved seat to another client despite the common understanding that she had long and previously booked her seat and paid for the same is a clear demonstration of unfair and unjust discrimination of the Petitioner.
“The Petitioner has hitherto failed to understand the basis of the Respondent’s conspicuous acts of discrimination and bias. Moreover, the petitioner is deeply disturbed by the callous manner in which she was treated by the Respondent’s employees and humiliated by being forced to travel in a class that is not commensurate to her honourable standards, lifestyle and financial ability”, she claims.
She claims KQ have hitherto ignored to apologies to her or reimburse the excess air fare that the Petitioner had paid in the hope of travelling in the business class as opposed to the economic class despite a demand letter being forwarded to them demanding for the apology and compensation.