The Commissioner for Standards in Public Life has thrown out a case regarding a report that Air Malta had to force passengers out of their flight seats to make space for parliamentary secretary Chris Bonett.
The investigation dates back to January 2023, as independent candidate Arnold Cassola had filed a complaint with the standards czar. Cassola had received information that economy-class passengers on flight KM116 to London Gatwick Airport were told that they would have to be moved in order to make space for Bonett and his family.
In his report, commissioner Joseph Azzopardi stated that Bonett had denied that he was given preferential treatment, saying that he had booked four seats next to each other so that his family could sit together.
Upon arriving at the airport, however, they were given boarding passes with separate seat numbers, but these were changed when he told airport staff that he had paid for his family’s seats to be next to each other.
The investigation led to the commissioner’s discovery that Air Malta’s online platform had experienced a glitch. This meant that when Bonett booked his preferred seats online, the system did not recognise this.
The commissioner found that statements made by Bonett and Air Malta’s Executive Chairman coincided with one another, and noted that it was the glitch that caused the disagreement onboard the flight.
In his conclusion, the standards czar said that the original complaint had no basis, and closed the case.