We have written extensively about Delta here at Crooks and Liars. This union busting, consumer hating enterprise is the Scott-Walker-in -the-Sky Airlines. So it was no surprise this week when we learned more disturbing information about how Delta continues to screw American consumers while buying the politicians in D.C.
Over at AmericaBlog, Aravosis wrote this week how carriers like Delta have been basically making “a windfall” during recession by taxing American consumers through exorbitant baggage fees in recent years. Now comes a report from the Roll Call that Delta has been buying congressional influence through offering ridiculous perks not available to average consumers (emphasis added):
Some perks reach beyond the Beltway. Most major airlines have phones lines dedicated to customers on Capitol Hill, aides and lobbyists told Roll Call. To accommodate their unpredictable travel schedules, Members are allowed to reserve seats on multiple flights but pay only for the one they board.
A spokesman for Delta confirmed the airline has a Congressional call desk and allows Members to double-book flights.
United Continental Holdings Inc., US Airways and American Airlines, all of which are rumored to have similar practices, did not return Roll Call’s request for comment.
“We get on every single flight,” said one Capitol Hill aide familiar with process. “Every offices uses it. ... The scheduler uses it for Members and chiefs of staff who fly.”
The perks have long raised the ire of consumer advocates.
“They are treated completely differently from the time they book their ticket until the time they land at the airport,” said Kate Hanni, director of Flyers Rights, an airline passenger advocacy organization.
The news about Delta is not surprising. They have a history of rewarding members of congress – mostly Republicans – who help further their anti-union goals. As Campaign Money Watch reported recently, “Delta's been spending money wisely to try to overturn the decision to let workers organize more easily. They spent $1.6 million on lobbying during the first half of 2011, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (Over the past ten years they spent at least $32 million to influence Washington.) Their PAC has given $826,243 to members of Congress since 2000. Adding additional incentive for Republicans in Congress to stand with them, Richard Anderson, Delta's CEO, made a $5,000 contribution to the Senate Republican's campaign committee earlier this year — apparently his first one ever.” Also reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution were Delta’s timely contributions to key Members of Congress to drive the unrelated, ideologically anti-union provisions included in the House version of the FAA Reauthorization legislation.
It sounds like Delta is making a clear stake at positioning itself as the airlines of the 1 percent. Maybe it is time to #OccupyDelta?