Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker is an astute observer of US Presidential politics. On Trump’s plan for banning Muslim’s to the US:
“Look, Donald [Trump] is my friend, and we have been friends for a long time. I think it is an exercise only to gain political mileage. Nothing more. This is the opportune time to excite more extremist people so that they could give him their votes.”
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker with Donald and Melania Trump in 1997, via Doha News
My own preferred take on the Trump phenomenon, though, comes from @BoredElonMusk:
The Trump family runs Trump Hotels and their Arabic-language website actively solicits Muslim guests to come to the US and stay at their properties. I ain’t sayin’, I’m just sayin’…
The Trump Hotel operations make clear he’s not only not against Muslims coming to America — right now, today, this very moment — he’s willing and eager to rent them high-priced hotel rooms when they arrive. (The least-expensive room at the Trump Soho, for example, is $395 a night for bookings next week and $310 a night a month for now.)
To clarify matters, I called the Trump Hotel Collection’s central reservation number and asked whether Muslim visitors were welcome. The voice on the other end seemed confused by the question, but eventually told me she was sure Muslim visitors were welcome. I asked her if there was any directive from Trump headquarters to discourage Muslim travelers. She said there wasn’t.
In other words, here’s what’s going on:
In fairness, when Trump owned an airline it was a purely domestic carrier. He tried to bluff his way into buying American Airlines, but lost his shirt in the 1989 Friday the 13th stock market mini-crash. And ultimately lost his airline — and unlike in several of his bankruptcies, he had personally guaranteed some of the financing and took a hit of more than $100 million.
Over the summer the FAA renamed Trump-related navigation points around Palm Beach International Airport. Apparently people were refusing departure instructions to fly “DONLD” “TRMMP” and “UFIRD” — although “IVNKA ONE” remains in place.
When he makes his escape from politics, he can always do it on his Boeing 757.
At View from the Wing we don’t side with any politician. We just call ’em like we see them in travel, miles and points. For instance, we’ve exposed:
- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s Delta Diamond status
- Scandal-plagued 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.”)
- The ObamaPoints program (though that wasn’t why I predicted an Obama electoral victory). I called out his choice of credit card and skipping the line at Frankline Barbecue.
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s credit card debt
- Senator Marco Rubio’s carelessness with credit cards
- Governor Chris Christie’s $1 million in American Express travel spend