When one story comes out, reporters go looking for more similar stories. So post-Bridgegate when there’s word of a federal investigation into United running a flight for the Chairman of the authority that oversees Newark airport to shuttle him to his vacation place for the weekend, and after United ran Atlantic City service as a quid pro quo for support of tax dollars for Newark airport transit projects, it should come as a surprise that there’s more to come out of the New York area airports.
This is perhaps as obvious and to be expected as Mel Brooks’ rejoinder, “it’s good to be the king.”
Newly released records show four commissioners at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were allowed to bypass regular security lines and received other perks when they flew out of airports run by the agency.
…The records said workers at times used golf carts to escort Port Authority officials between their cars and airport gates – skipping check-in lines.
…In some cases, they were met by employees at their cars and taken to faster employee-only security lines. They also boarded planes early and were shuttled to an airport lounge.
These courtesies were extended both to commissioners as well as their families.
- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s Delta Diamond status
- Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s mileage award ticket that brought down his administration.
- Former Congressman Ron Paul’s past use of government fare tickets which are more upgradable domestically on several airlines.
- Delta’s elite status comps to all the top politicians in Georgia. (“You know you’re unimportant when you just get Delta Platinum.”)
There are, of course, dedicated desks operated by the major airlines to handle Congressional travel.
Staff schedulers often times make reservations for members of Congress via dedicated phone lines that Delta and other major airlines have reportedly set up for Capitol Hill customers. Airlines also permit members to reserve seats on multiple flights but only pay for the trips they take.
Ted Kennedy once ‘saved two jobs’ — the jobs of the special services reps at US Airways who took care of him during his travels, when the airline was looking to make significant cutbacks after 9/11.
And Members of Congress and Supreme Court Justices have long had their own free parking at National Airport: