BA employee nets £250,000 in ticket swapping scams

A British Airways manager is believed to have made around £250,000 through an intricate ticket swapping scam, an employment tribunal has heard.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Mark Smith bought hundreds of cheap advance tickets and then converted and sold them through a fake travel agency as 'last minute' deals - sometimes at up to three times the original price.

Smith was sentenced to three years in prison last year. His illegal antics were exposed in a security audit, and details about the case emerged during an employment tribunal of a colleague of Smith's, Alan Russell, who was cleared of wrongdoing in court but was still dismissed by the airline.

The tribunal, based in Reading, Berkshire, heard that Smith, a Terminal Five manager, bought the advance tickets before asking Mr Russell to convert them at the last minute on a check-in computer.

The scam meant that Smith could sell a ticket he'd bought for £1,700 weeks in advance, for £5,500 at the last minute.

The expensive tickets were sold through a fake travel agency called Chuchley Smith Travel Ltd.

Mr Russell was cleared by the same jury who put Smith away for three years on three counts of fraud. He is suing BA for unfair dismissal, breach of contract and public interest disclosure.

He claims he was wrongly sacked as he had actually been a 'whistleblower' on the air fare scam.

The fraud was exposed by a BA auditor who spotted that 193 bookings had been made using Smith's credit card, and that 310 bookings had been made using his email address.

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