I have been flying on Delta since, well, before it was Delta. My first flight was on the old Northwest Airlines, (it might have been Western – I got champagne) from Minneapolis to Denver. I remember wearing a suit and a tie walking into the airport and going right to the gate. I do not believe there was any security check. Everyone got a meal during the flight. It was an experience in class and I would even say a certain amount of dignity. I don’t remember any cargo shorts or back packs. Suits and ties and (gasp) dresses.
Of course no one wants to hear the “back in my day” speeches but it is illustrative of the times that no one wants to listen. You were treated like a king back in the day and not a malleable piece of meat jammed into a sausage jacket and crammed into a seat. Corporate decisions had to be made of course to make travel affordable. A mom and dad with 4 screaming children has as much “right” to fly as the rest of us. Get the masses mobile but take away the meal service. I remember reading that when the meals were available to all, the airline figured out that taking the tomato out of the salad saved 3 million dollars a year. Pretty soon the salad disappeared and one can only guess what that saved. Some one on one of my latest flights said that he was waiting for the day when they wouldn’t even serve pretzels anymore or if they did they would be unsalted and you might have to bring your own salt. Healthy snacks you know. Corporate conscience you know.
Anyway the people who count such things informed me that I am a “million miler”. I have flown 1,201,889 miles on Delta and their partner airlines. I have flown on Kenya Airways, AirFrance, KLM, Hawaiian,and the various partners in the States. I think I flew on something called Hummingbird in India but I can’t find them listed anymore. I am often thanked for flying because, as they say, I have many choices I can make for my travel dollars. That sentiment is nice but not really true. Living in North Dakota and getting to be a million miler means that you don’t have a lot of choice. We up here in the North County have few choices. I do not know if Delta studies such things but there are an awful lot of folks up in the Northern tier that have to get to the Southern tier on occasion and regularly have a tough time. Flights from and to Wausau WS, Brainerd MN, Grand Forks ND, Bismarck ND, Minot ND, Billings MT, Missoula and Helena, suffer from interesting issues. One flight that I know of from Grand Forks is regularly canceled for “mechanical reasons”. Many of the flights, (1 out of 3 by my count) leaving from Grand Forks to Minneapolis arrive on time and sometimes to the great relief of the travelers, a bit early, but then have to sit on the runway because the gate operator is always mysterious on the other side of the airport. The sense that many of us get up here is that Delta really doesn’t want to fly here. I fly a lot to St. Lois and I get the impression that Delta doesn’t really want to fly there either. If one wants to splurge and pay for a first class ticket from Grand Forks to wherever the royal treatment starts with getting up at three in the morning to get on a 5AM flight. There is that choice thing again – pay first class and get up at 0 dark 30 to get on a first class flight, or pay for a first class ticket and get on a later flight in a sardine can without any reduction in fare. I wonder if the corporate conscience ever thinks of such things. The flights to Florida and California and Arizona don’t seem to suffer from to many issues and I suppose that assuages whatever corporate conscience might be troubled about the rest of us.
Now we have this interesting NRA issue that I thought was meant to exhibit some kind of corporate conscience, or at least try too. Now I find out that Delta’s decision was a cold blooded calculating decision made out of respect for customers. Delta sent a message to the NRA
Delta is reaching out to the National Rifle Association to let it know that the airline will be ending its contract for discounted fares for travel to the association’s annual meeting through Delta’s group travel program. The company will request that the NRA remove Delta’s information from its meeting website.
Delta’s decision reflects the airline’s neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings. Out of respect for our customers and employees on both sides, Delta has taken this action to refrain from entering this debate and focus on its business. Delta continues to support the 2nd Amendment.
This is not the first time Delta has withdrawn support over a politically and emotionally charged issue. Last year, Delta withdrew its sponsorship of a theater that staged a graphic interpretation of “Julius Caesar” depicting the assassination of President Trump. Delta supports all of its customers but will not support organizations on any side of any highly charged political issue that divides our nation.
Neutral status and refraining from entering the debate on a politically and emotionally charged issue is nice babble and ultimately meaningless. Corporate conscience and all. Good stuff though. Might keep the high paid rent a mobs away from headquarters. So how about showing some of that corporate concern for us folks up here in the tundra and the real flyover country. Let’s focus on business to the Bible grasping gun toting hicks while refraining from entering a politically and emotionally charged issue like, oh I don’t know, let’s say, sanctuary cities. How about a letter to San Francisco or Oakland or LA telling them that you are ending flights to and from those cities in order to not support any side in a highly charged political issue. Then take those airplanes, not all, but just a few of the bigger ones and send them up here to the North Country.
One last thing. Is there a Delta pronouncement as to how they focus on business when it comes to other controversial things like say, Planned Parenthood?