Air Marshals Scheduling Work Assignments for Vacations and Sexual Meetups, and That’s Not Even the Real Scandal. This Is.

We’ve all long suspected it, now it’s become public that air marshal flight schedules get changed to accommodate affairs they’re having or cities they’d like to travel to for free.

“I think she put the offer out to quite a few (federal air marshals) and managers, literally acting like a travel agent,” retired air marshal Sonya Hightower told Reveal. “I think a lot of people were aware she was doing some of these things, but no one wants to comment on it. If everybody’s getting hooked up, nobody’s going to say anything.”

Now, more than 60 government employees are under investigation as officials find if at-risk flights were left without air marshals. …D’Antonio looked up “personnel files, identification photographs and flight schedules to pinpoint air marshals she was interested in meeting and possibly dating.”

This is being reported as a scandal because it ‘made air transportation less safe’ — assuming that air marshals needed to be on flights to protect those specific flights, and that they’d have been capable of protecting the flights if indeed it was necessary. Thus, by removing themselves from the important flights in favor of going where they wanted for personal reasons, travel was made less safe.

Reports don’t point out that:

  • No problems arose on the flights air marshals were re-scheduled off of
  • No air marshal has ever stopped a terrorist (since the service’s founding in 1962)
  • Although they did shoot and kill a US citizen in 2005 and have employed several convicted criminals.

One retired air marshal claims there’s insufficient training for them to be effective even if something did happen on a flight they were on.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. And you could take out Air Marshals from all flights and nothing might happen in any flight for next 100 yrs.
    Thats not the point.
    They are there for a purpose and that prupose should be held in a higher regard.
    “If “only once, something were to happen in a flight, which was high risk but was not staffed due to these trysts, who would go to console the victim families?
    The whole point is, no body knows when if/when this could happen, but we are all paying and hoping that we have right people in the right place.
    Sorry your blog came across as if you condone their actions.

  2. ‘No air marshal has ever stopped a terrorist (since the service’s founding in 1962);

    But that is misleading and meaningless. Have there been terror attacks on flights which carried air marshals?

  3. No, the point isn’t whether they could have stopped any terrorist activity, the point is that they were paid to do a job. They were not paid to do each other.

    See, I do not care what they do or who they do on their own time. But using government resources to arrange their social lives is misappropriation of ublic funds at a minimum.

    If a private employer found out this was happening, they would be within their rights to terminate the employees in question.

  4. More to the point, do they earn miles for the flights they take?

    Does the marshals seat reduce the availability of upgrades or rewards for other passengers?

  5. Vacations and hookups — sounds just like the flight attendants. I wonder if air marshals also join the mile-high club while on duty….

  6. What’s worst than someone on the government payroll?

    A unionized federal worker that can’t be terminated.

    So did these Air Marshalls watch Passenger 57 and take hints from Wesley Snipes.

  7. Jack – I’ve been removed from the front row aisle seat in coach for a large, young man in a short haircut and jacket but no tie. I was about to go all dykwia but it was around 2002 and I suspect I’d have been shot or, worse, had my gold status revoked.

  8. the air marshal program is useless, but if they are going to be there, I don’t see the problem with arranging their schedule to accommodate their personal convenience. If the job is meaningless, might as well have fun. What’s the benefit of having them go to Alaska instead of Miami?

    What is an “at-risk” flight? What is an “important flight”? That’s ridiculous. The only way that would mean anything is if there was intelligence that something might happen. I refuse to believe that air marshals were taken off flights for which there was that sort of information.

  9. Direct Reply to @aviators99 . First off who are you to judge another person’s job and what “meaning” it provides.

    Secondly, fine, if they want to go all over at their convenience, let them pay the fare like everybody else.

    You sound like an airline employee union member who “refuses” to believe there’s no money for your raise because you treat your customers like crap and they’d rather stick a fork in their eye than allow you to continue to run your business into the ground.

  10. @Marcus,

    >First off who are you to judge another person’s job…

    When I’m the one paying them, like I am in this case

    I don’t understand the rest of your comments. This is not a “customer-facing” job and there is absolutely no customer service aspect to it. Their only job is to sit on a flight and travel.

  11. …and they can do it just as well at their convenience rather than some arbitrary assignment with no meaning.

  12. Ok, was no else bothered by the fact that this woman looked up personnel files to see who she wanted to hook up with? With the right persuasion, a terrorist group could be hooking her up with a lot of money and putting together a nice list of flights that don’t have an air marshall (effective or not…)

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