Gate Agent Used Rebooking Trick to Save Money for Over 100 Customers, Now Faces Prison

Yesterday I wrote about an airline employee printing and selling over $100,000 in travel vouchers.

Last month I covered the United employee who spent a year after he was fired logging into the airline’s terminals around the country and printing meal vouchers. He took over half a million dollars in vouchers and redeemed them for cash through his food truck.

No one is standing by these United computer terminals

Here’s another employee scam that’s come to light: a JetBlue gate agent had people book the cheapest flight available — usually Long Beach to Las Vegas — and then rebooked those passengers for more expensive international travel.

She did this 505 times for more than 100 people between July 1, 2016 and Sept. 27, 2017, treating the customers as though they had missed flights “or experienced a death in the family.” The agent was arrested on Thursday and charged with wire fraud in federal court.

It can be hard enough to get airlines to give you vouchers or rebook you onto a convenient flight alternative. And as it is the vouchers may not even buy you much at the airport and you may get rebooked for travel in the wrong year.

So hopefully whatever security measures airlines put in place in response to these incidents don’t make it harder for customers to get assistance when travel plans go awry. These rogue agents may truly be why we can’t have nice things.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. If it was the other way around, screwing passengers out of their hard earned money by booking them into most expensive seats, she would have been given a medal and called employee of the year!

    Misrepresentation is wrong especially if she did so for financial gains. Did she?

  2. I don’t understand Jetblues motive for publicizing this. Are the customers also facing jail time for her actions? The only lesson to learn here is that a computer system that allows rebookings of this nature needs more programming. It should have been discovered more quickly and the employee fired for violating company rules. These rule violations are not a taxpayer problem and prosecution and incarceration costs should be at jetblues expense, or in this case not pursued at all.
    The defense will undoubtedly argue that jetblue inadequately tested their system. THAT IS NOT WIREFRAUD of any sort.
    But if it is, since 500 times seems to be the magical trigger to make something wirefraud, any internet based company, from ebay to Home Depot, certainly all of the banks and airlines, are guilty of WIREFRAUD every day.
    Wait a moment… 500 times over 14 months? That’s like 2 per day. Are two exceptions per day that unusual? I think reasonable doubt already exists. Jetblue needs to clean up their system. If the employee persistently overrode a price, that pattern of activity would have alerted jetblue to investigate. If jetblue fails to investigate or correct the system, that is not a taxpayer problem, that is jetblues shareholders problem. Don’t bring a broken IT system or employee mgmt problem to taxpayers to pay for prosecuting and incarcerating an employee breaking your rules/ethics/ or worse, possibly following your rules and wrongly accused. The violation may seem material, but blues negligence to detect and react timely, means it was immaterial, maybe even permitted. A reasonable assumption by the employee.

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