ODM nominated senator sues KQ for ‘selling’ her business class seat


A nominated senator of the Orange Democratic Movement has sued Kenya Airways for ‘selling’ her business class seat and making her travel economic class during the 2020 Christmas holiday.

Senator Beatrice Kwamboka wants the court to compel KQ to reimburse her the excess or the difference in airfare chargeable to persons that were travelling on 28th December 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,” says Kwamboka. 

Kwamboka wants the court to declare that KQ’s decision to unilaterally transfer her from the business class of its aircraft to the economic class despite her prior booking and payment of the airfare demanded and the receipt issued in that regard is wholly discriminative 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 accuses the aircraft of violating her right and fundamental freedoms.

She argues that KQ have hitherto ignored to apologise to her or reimburse the excess air fare that she 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.

“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,” adds kwamboka. 

Kwamboka claims on 6th December 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 and at the booking and payment of the ticket was obviously done fairly well in advance and that KQ proceeded to issue them 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.

She further claim states that on 28th December, she was shocked to learn that her seat had been improperly and to her inconvenience ‘sold’ to obviously another favoured client of the respondent without first offering her an apology and a similar alternative and consequently, her children were forced to travel without the company of their mother who was left stranded at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for hours before she could find an alternative means of getting to Mombasa. 

In addition, the petitioner says that 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.