Senator loses seat downgrade proceedings against Kenya Airways

The nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka has lost a lawsuit against the national airline Kenya Airways (KQ).

Kwamboka had sued the airline, claiming it was humiliated after its seat was downgraded from business to economy.

The High Court Judge Hedwig Ong’undi ruled that the national airline had acted sensibly by informing the Senator and other passengers that the plane they were supposed to be flying from Nairobi to Mombasa had a technical defect.

According to the judge, KQ also gave Kwamboka the option of either occupying an economy class seat with a refund of the excess fare or waiting for another flight that would offer her a business class seat.

“The defendant (KQ) tried his best to mitigate the challenges he was faced with when he was forced to use an aircraft whose carrying capacity was less than that originally booked,” said Judge Ong’undi of the constitution and Human Rights Department.

At the same time, the judge found that the senator could not prove in her case that she had received an inferior service by sitting in economy class.

“The petitioner has in no way demonstrated that the quality set out in Article 46 of the Constitution was not adequate or satisfactory,” said Ong’undi.

He also asked her to pay the airline the cost of the case.

In the lawsuit filed earlier this year, Kwamboka complained that her business class seat was sold and KQ did not apologize to her.

The decision to let her fly in economy on December 28, 2020 is, in her opinion, unfair as she paid for her ticket in advance.

In addition, she alleged that KQ did not reimburse the overpaid fare, arguing that the downgrade was against her consumer rights.

KQ turned on the case, arguing that after its aircraft developed a technical defect, it decided to transfer the affected passengers to another aircraft or downgrade their class with a refund of the excess fare.

The original flight had 12 business class and 84 economy seats, while the replacement had nine business and 88 economy seats.

KQ said his controller called Kwamboka to inform them of the changes. When he couldn’t reach her, the judge heard he sent a text message.

The company said the senator was offered a comfortable seat in economy class and issued a downgrade form for a refund.

At the same time, the senator was asked if she could wait for a 5 p.m. flight in which she would fly in business class.

The court heard that she rejected the two options.

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