Greedy Airlines Are Stuffing Their Hapless Passengers In Again-- Although You Do Have To Wear A Mask
This week David Feldman asked me if I was calling for a boycott of companies headquartered in Atlanta, like Coke, Home Depot and Delta because the companies weren't doing something to stop or reverse Georgia Republicans' drive to make it harder to vote. Generally I don't call for boycotts and I can't imagine anyone would care if I did. (I've been boycotting Coke since 1970 to get even with the U.S. for the Kent State massacre. I'm sure Coke never noticed but it was a very healthy choice for me when you consider all the toxic substances that I didn't put into my body-- and, yes, Pepsi too... the boycott, which no one remembers but me was for Coke and Pepsi.)
Anyway, I asked Feldman if there might be other priorities people might have when decided whether or not to boycott. In the case of Delta, their CEO is in a battle with Georgia's chief voter suppressionist Brian Kemp. The CEO, Ed Bastian, said the bill Kep had signed is "unacceptable," "wrong" and "based on a lie."
Delta's initial statement on the measure said that there was still "work ahead" to improve access to voting. But it included positive comments about some elements, saying that in part due to its own lobbying effort, the law had been "improved considerably during the legislative process."
Critics of the law quickly attacked Delta's statement and called for a boycott of the airline and some other Georgia-based companies such as Coca-Cola and Home Depot. Bastian responded with a new statement to employees early Wednesday that attacked the law, admitting that Delta had changed its initial view.
"I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta's values," said the statement to Delta employees from CEO Ed Bastian. "After having time to now fully understand all that is in the bill, coupled with discussions with leaders and employees in the Black community, it's evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong."
Bastian's statement continued, "The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true. Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights."
Kemp did not take much time to respond, issuing his own statement accusing Bastian of spreading misinformation and not recognizing positives for voting included in the bill.
I suspect Delta would rather concentrate its public relations resources on something else-- a story that was broken by Hannah Sampson for the Washington Post this morning, namely that Delta is the last remaining U.S. airline blocking middle seats as a COVID safety measure.
Although... they're getting ready to join the herd and stuff everyone into their planes, including in the middle seats. "Delta Air Lines," reported Sampson "said Wednesday it would make all of its seats available to purchase again starting May 1. The announcement came in a news release that highlighted 'more available seats to choose from. While Delta’s decision to block middle seats has given many customers a reason to choose Delta over the past year, the signature hospitality of our employees and the experiences they deliver to customers every day have also deepened their trust in our airline,' CEO Ed Bastian said in the announcement. He added that nearly 65 percent of those who flew the airline in 2019 expect to have at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by May 1, which factored into the decision to open up entire planes. Masks will still be required on flights."
In the announcement, the airline touted its decision to keep blocking middle seats “for an entire year to give customers peace of mind.” Competitors opened up all seats for sale last year or early this year.
Air travel has been on a rebound this month, with Transportation Security Administration checkpoints seeing more than a million passengers every day for 20 days in a row.
Delta’s announcement came two days after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky made a plea for Americans to limit their trips to essential travel only. She said on Monday that the country had seen “a steady rise in cases” over the past week.
“We know that travel is up, and I just worry that we will see the surges that we saw over the summer and over the winter again,” she said.
Now that's a bipartisan reason to consider when you're thinking about flying on Delta.