Delta And Saudi Arabian Airlines Partner Up And Everyone Freaks Out

The First Essential Scary Truth

On January 10, 2011 Delta Airlines welcomed a new partner into its Sky Team network: Saudi Arabian airlines.  Essentially this was an unremarkable barely news worthy event aside from those Delta Frequent Flyers who follow Islam and want to fly to Saudi Arabia for their Hajj.

The partnership came to light on June 22, 201 when former Congressman, Love Boat pursuer Gopher Smith and (currently off the air) talk radio host Fred Grandy broke the story on his website and asked if Delta was now Sharia compliant and openly practicing anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity.  If so this partnership would be a clear violation of the First Amendment.

Predictably, people freaked.  The blogosphere sent the story around the world in a nano-second. Constituents sent e-mails to their elected representatives and these congressmen called for an investigation.  Delta Airlines was forced to release a statement in defense of a deal that closed six months earlier.  The statement reads as follows:

Delta Air Lines does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination against any of our customers in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender.

Delta does not operate service to Saudi Arabia and does not codeshare with any airline on flights to that country. Delta does not intend to codeshare or share reciprocal benefits, such as frequent flier benefits, with Saudi Arabian Airlines, which we have confirmed with SkyTeam, an Amsterdam-based 14-member global airline alliance.

Delta’s only agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines is a standard industry interline agreement, which allows passengers to book tickets on multiple carriers, similar to the standard interline agreements American Airlines, US Airways and Alaska Airlines have with Saudi Arabian Airlines.

All of the three global airline alliances – Star, which includes United Airlines; oneworld, which includes American Airlines, and SkyTeam, which includes Delta – have members that fly to Saudi Arabia and are subject to that country’s rules governing entry.

This was a nicely worded non-denial denial of anti-Semitic practices to come. Essentially, Delta switched the blame, PR nightmare and ugly Congressional crawl up the rectum from the corporations to the laws and practices of Saudi Arabia.

Predictably, the Saudi’s freaked at this passing of the PR nightmare ball and were forced to issue their own non-denial denial of anti-Semitic and practices which everyone except my 3 year old niece knows goes on in the Kingdom of Saud.  According to the Huffington Post:

“Rumors being circulated via the Internet regarding passenger flight restrictions on Saudi Arabian Airlines are completely false,” the embassy statement said. “The government of Saudi Arabia does not deny visas to U.S. citizens based on their religion.”

However, the Saudi’s then added this caveat:

Saudi officials told CNN that the kingdom does not grant visas to holders of Israeli passports because it does not recognize Israel, and will not deny entry visas to Americans simply because of an Israeli stamp on a U.S. passport.

Read: we don’t like Jews.  But as long as they’re American and we have to take your money we’ll let them into our country to stomp upon our holy sand.

Delta could have made their lifer easier by simply saying yes, we have partnered with Saudi Arabian Airlines but if we find out about one Jew or Christian discriminated against, we’ll deal with it harshly.  The House of Saud could issue the first part of their statement and it all goes away.  But no, they pontificated.  Quick note to the Saudi’s and Delta: the most important element on getting rid of a public scandal is as follows: in statements both written and spoken less is more.

But why is everybody up in arms anyway?  The Saudi’s have always discriminated against Christians and Jews.  They hate the Israeli’s.  The only infidels let into the country are those who do all the jobs the Saudi’s won’t let their growing underclass do or those with family to visit.  (Tourist Visas are strictly verboten.)  So the consumers who will travel to Saudi Arabia are those who want to attend the Hajj or just want to see Mecca and Medina.

When they get really hip time shares for the rest of us facing the a Red Sea free of pirates or the Persian Gulf without mines, let me know and then I’ll get all self-righteously American on their backwards asses.  Until then, let them have their precious sand all to themselves.  The Sonoran and Mojave Deserts featuring Las Vegas, Palm Springs, legalized gambling, prostitution and Spring Training is a shitload more fun anyway.

As for Delta, way to antagonize American Jews who have lots of money and like to travel to Florida whenever possible.  Personally, I think I’ll be flying the Southwest Frequent Survivor program lots more.






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