Senator Ted Cruz of Texas made headlines this week for his trip to Cancun in the middle of a major crisis in his state. United Airlines is now investigating who may have leaked some details regarding his trip.
The basics of Ted Cruz’s trip to Cancun
This past Wednesday Ted Cruz flew from Houston to Cancun on United Airlines with his family. While he tried to fly under the radar (no pun intended), this was making national headlines by Thursday, as people caught onto what was happening.
Cruz started by throwing his kids under the bus, as one does, claiming he was just trying to be a good dad, and was just dropping his kids off, and would fly back on Thursday:
“With school canceled for the week, our girls asked us to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. My staff are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas.”
Text messages revealed a different story, though. Heidi Cruz (Ted Cruz’s wife) had texted friends in Houston, stating their house was “FREEZING,” and inviting others to join them at the Ritz-Carlton Cancun (where they’ve stayed “many times”), and stated that rooms were $309 per night.
At this point people started looking at the upgrade list for the United flight from Cancun to Houston, noticing that Cruz was just barely missing the upgrade.
Again, Cruz claimed he was just dropping off his kids, but then it was revealed that Cruz had actually changed his flight. A source at United clearly accessed his reservation, and reported that at around 6AM on Thursday he changed his return flight from Saturday to Thursday.
Cruz eventually admitted this, and said “it’s been a tough week.”
United Airlines now investing data leak
Most of the information about Cruz’s trip to Mexico was made public through “legitimate” means — there were pictures of him at the airport, his name was on the public upgrade list, etc. However, there’s one detail that someone could get in trouble for.
Specifically, someone had leaked that Cruz had changed his flight from returning on Sunday to returning on Thursday. Politico reports that United Airlines is now investigating this, and that the person who made the leak could be terminated:
“It’s against United’s policies to share personal information about our customers and we are investigating this incident.”
The airline states nothing is “off the table,” and the outcome depends on if they can figure out with certainty who disclosed this information.
Lots of employees have access to United’s reservations system, and can easily see the record of flight changes that have been made. That being said, it’s my understanding that SHARES (United’s reservations system) doesn’t actually log who views a record.
Therefore it’s unlikely SHARES as such can tell them who leaked this information. I’d bet quite a few employees had looked into this (purely out of curiosity), so they likely won’t get in trouble for doing so.
Flight attendant union tells United to drop it
Sara Nelson, the President of the Association of Flight Attendants (often referred to as the most powerful flight attendant in America), is telling United to drop this investigation, saying that they are “all the leak.” She stated that Ted Cruz is “not a customer,” but rather that “he’s a public servant who has lied too many times.”
Ted Cruz’s trip to Mexico has created a lot of controversy. The trip itself aside, he first threw his kids under the bus and then lied about it. That lie was exposed when an airline employee revealed that he had in fact changed his itinerary to return on Thursday rather than Saturday.
United Airlines is now investigating the incident, and threatening to terminate the employee behind it. I’ll be curious to see if anything comes of this — I doubt United will be able to figure out everyone who viewed the record, much less who actually leaked the info.