According to the New Yorker:
At least one employee of Delta Airlines supplies TMZ with the names and itineraries of celebrity passengers travelling through Los Angeles and New York.
In an e-mail dated January 29, 2014, a TMZ manager informed her colleagues that the star of an ABC drama had been spotted sitting in first class, in seat 2A, on Delta Flight 1061, from Orlando to Los Angeles, when his plane was rerouted to Dallas—the result of a bomb threat issued on Twitter.
Such information helps TMZ’s crew of a dozen or so paparazzi know when and where to “drop in on” a celebrity who is transiting through an airport. One day’s list, from June, 2010, included the flight details for Robert Redford and Jack Kevorkian; another one, two months later, had the itineraries of Julius Erving, Kathy Ireland, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.
“It’s not an accident the guy with a camera is waiting at the Delta check-in counter at 8 A.M.,” a former TMZ employee wrote, anonymously, on Defamer, a Hollywood site owned by Gawker.
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There’s speculation that it was a Delta Elite Services Porsche driver selling the information.
Clearly the individual is risking their job, and may even be risking criminal charges. The next time you’re picked up on the tarmac, and paparazzi snap your photo, you’ll know that:
- You’re really famous.
- Delta sold you out.