My goodness, this keeps turning into a bigger and bigger issue.
Over the weekend Delta announced that they would no longer offer discounted fares through their group travel program for those attending NRA conferences, and that they’re requesting that the NRA remove Delta’s information from their website. This followed pressure from a lot of anti-gun consumers urging all companies to cut ties with the NRA — Delta certainly wasn’t the only company to give in.
Delta is reaching out to the NRA to let them know we will be ending their contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from their website.
— Delta (@Delta) February 24, 2018
Then yesterday morning Delta issued a statement regarding their stance on the NRA, which did damage on both sides, in my opinion. I feel like this was a situation where they should have just been quiet. Here’s what they said:
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This is not the first time Delta has withdrawn support over a politically and emotionally charged issue.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.
They claim they have a neutral stance, they support the 2nd Amendment, and they’re cutting ties with any organization that is viewed as controversial. That doesn’t do much to make either side feel better, in my opinion.
Well, now Delta is facing even further backlash over the issue, and they may lose a lucrative tax break over withdrawing discounts for NRA members. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that the Georgia Senate blocked a tax bill today that would have benefited Delta:
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he would not support tax legislation that helped the airline “unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with the NRA.” He echoed a growing number of conservatives who opposed the measure over the weekend.
That move forced Gov. Nathan Deal and other supporters of the $50 million jet fuel sales tax exemption to shift to the defensive, and prompted a growing number of Republicans to try to strip the provision out of a broader tax-cut bill that has already passed the state House.
I suspect that this is more political posturing than anything, and that this won’t actually impact Delta’s tax break in the end. On some level I find it absurd that a private company pulling a discount for members of a private organization could have these kinds of repercussions. At the same time, Delta only looks out for Delta’s best interests, so I can’t say that I feel too bad for them if their neutral stance lands them in this situation.
What do you guys think — is it reasonable for the government to punish an airline for withdrawing a discount for another private organization?