Air India is warning staff that they’ll get in trouble if they keep upgrading friends and family to business class.
The Chairman of the airline sent a memo to employees,
It has come to my knowledge that operating crew carry out upgrades to business and first class unofficially during the flight for their friends and relatives. This is viewed seriously.
…It is reiterated once again that officials/crew members responsible for all such unauthorised upgrades shall face strict disciplinary action.
Air India Boeing 787
Apparently the concern is just that putting friends and family into empty business class seats trades off with selling onboard upgrades. I hadn’t been aware that Air India allows onboard upgrades for a fee. That opens a whole different avenue for crew corruption. I imagine that passengers are far more likely to have their ‘bid accepted’ if it’s paid in cash and no receipt is required.
According to a senior Air India official it’s apparently pilots rather than flight attendants most often upgrading people. Air India pilots exercise significant authority, for instance one refused to fly unless the airline assigned a preferred wooman to work with him on a Maldives flight. Another refused to divert after a bird strike. Still another refused to show up for an inaugural flight because he wanted to go to a different city instead. And then there’s the pilot who declared a (false) fuel emergency so he could land faster.
(HT: Jeff Edwards)