Frequent Flyers as Lobbyists

Frequent Flyers as Lobbyists

Airlines are turning to frequent flyers to ask them to lobby on the airlines’ behalf. Recently, Delta sent an e-mail to its frequent flyers asking them to write their congressional representatives to request corporate jet owners ante up for a new air-traffic control system. Some commercial pilots are bringing the issue to the attention of passengers over the public announcement systems on planes and passengers are seeing videos and reading about the issue in inflight magazines. Delta, among other airlines, blames a surge in corporate jet and small plane traffic for the recent record-breaking delays. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) disagrees, stating bad weather and carrier flight overbooking are the main causes for delays. The AOPA and the airlines’ main industry group Air Transport Association of America (ATA) are on track to spend a combined 9 million dollars on their respective campaigns on the issue. One frustrated AOPA member reportedly tore up his Delta SkyMiles card in response to Delta’s e-mailed request and mailed it back to the airline promising never to fly Delta again, according to an Associated Press report. Sounds like a reason to question whether frequent flyer programs and government should mix.

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