Chick-fil-A Banned From Airport Due to its Political Beliefs

The San Antonio airport won’t be getting a Chick-fil-A. The city council awarded a new food service contract — and a condition of doing so was that the company awarded the deal had to drop its plan to open a Chick-fil-A because of Chick-fil-A’s political beliefs, that they’ve been ‘associated with anti-LGBTQ’ groups and causes.

Though the restaurant chain no longer donates to many of the causes that it had supported a decade ago, like the Family Research Council, they’ve continued giving to charities such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Ironically the deal for the restaurant wasn’t even with Chick-fil-A and Chick-fil-A wouldn’t have operated it. The plan to open and run a Chick-fil-A was part of an overall bid by concessionaire Paradies Lagardère, which beat out HMSHost for the space. Airport restaurants are generally run by concessions companies like Delaware North and OTG and not the companies associated with the brands you know.

Alaska Airlines started flying to San Antonio in 2012 only months after the airline stopped handing out prayer cards to passengers. I guess it’s a good thing Alaska stopped if they want to fly to San Antonio!

There are perfectly valid reasons not to have Chick-fil-A in an airport. Indeed, valid reasons for many airports to refuse to lease to Chick-fil-A — not because of their stance on political issues but because of their refusal to open on Sundays.

  • There’s limited retail space on airport concourses. They need to use that space to provide the most effective service possible to passengers, seven days a week. Indeed, Sunday is a heavy travel day. Choosing a restaurant chain that will provide food on Sundays makes sense.

  • Airports regularly require restaurants to be open for breakfast, even if they normally only serve lunch and dinner foods. It’s why you may find an airport Japanese restaurant serving eggs, even egg burritos. Because airports don’t want to take up space that’s underutilized for serving passengers.

  • Chick-fil-A may find they do enough business without opening on Sundays, perhaps people will go to Chick-fil-A a certain number of times during a week or month and will simply shift their patronage to the days that the restaurant is open. But people patronize airport food establishments on whatever day they’re passing through the airport.

Saying that all restaurant concessions must open 7 days a week would be a viewpoint neutral and perfectly valid reason, in my view, for choosing to lease to restaurants other than Chick-fil-A.

Readers may know that I’m in favor of marriage equality. And I think it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to eat their food because of charitable gifts that they make, or statements offered by their executives. However government refusing to lease space because of the political views of the business owners strikes me as troubling.

Meanwhile it’s unfortunate that passengers won’t have the opportunity to stink up the cabin of their outbound flight with that sweet sweet chicken goodness.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. @VaCavalier

    Don’t come crying to me when you are barred from public contracting because someone thinks your beliefs are odious.

  2. Sorry to see some of the comments on this subject, but it is exactly this attitude by the Left that got Donald Trump elected………….

  3. @jfhscott @Gary “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” – Rev. Martin Luther King

  4. @jfhscott: Exactly. Today this misuse of political bullying favors the Stonewall LGBTQ pressure group. But exactly the same government power will be used against them in the future. The most important thing is to limit government power so that it cannot be used in either direction.

  5. A modest proposal: Require every corporation to adopt a red or blue logo according to which side of the culture wars it wishes to take. No purple option. Red or blue.

    Next persuade customers to buy red or buy blue exclusively. This will change every monopoly into a duopoly. Red Amazon and Blue Amazon. Red Google and Blue Google. Double the jobs, right?

    Making everything political is the only way to make America great again.

  6. Chicken Sandwiches are only one menu item. Their Chicken Biscuits are very good. So is their Tea, their nuggets, and their salads.
    I am sure the ACLU is preparing FOIA requests and looking at litigating the SAT Council and Airport Authority for signs of discriminatory behavior, even if ChickFilA doesn’t want their help.
    As for being closed on Sundays… I have been to enough airports after hours that I don’t expect them to by open 24/7. The ones that are open will profit enormously on Sundays if demand warrants. The point is ironic: The customers that boycott the restaurant won’t shop there anyway, and the customers that don’t boycott, respect their right to be closed on Sundays.
    As for their donations, (which I didn’t realize ChickFilA was known for) do other restaurants donate a similar portion of their profits, or do they keep it for themselves? I guess San Antonio doesn’t like that either.

  7. @jfhscott

    These are not “values” criteria, these are “anti-discrimination and anti-bigotry” criteria, similar to what exists for federal funding and higher education. If an organization choses to make their values those of hate, bigotry, and discrimination against certain groups, yes, they should be barred from public contracts.

  8. James says:
    March 23, 2019 at 10:25 am
    “San Antonio’s decision was largely based on the release of these tax filings for Chick-fil-A showing continued donations to gay-hate groups.”

    … like the Salvation Army for example. No joke that’s one of the three groups called out for opprobrium in the article linked in your comment.

    If you think the Salvation Army is a hate group you have much bigger problems with the world than what fast food they’re serving at the airport.

  9. @Gary, I really dislike the way you framed this issue and I think you wrote about it for obvious reasons. Posts like these are siren calls for trolls on both sides and if having a non-sensical but voluminous debate (ie significant traffic and engagement) was your goal, looks like you succeeded. You threw out the red meat and the dogs are all here. I bet most don’t know an A380 from a CRJ.

    Fine if you don’t agree with SAT, but you’re just giving space here for people you probably strongly disagree with to air their grievances under the guise of religious freedom and political corectness. If you’re really an LGBTQ ally, you wouldn’t fall into this silly, well-tread trap.

  10. @d

    “anti-discrimination and anti-bigotry” criteria are by their nature “values” criteria.

    Apparently you find them to be worthy criteria. But seriously, what next – should CFA or another company with whose values you do not agree be denied business licenses altogether? I simplt cannot fathom the conceit you and other commenters have to demand that those who beliefs differ from yours be purged from participating from society on equal footing.

    Maybe it will be you who is purged one day. I think it would help you understand.

  11. I just find it ironic that the city council is banning chick-fil-a because of a perceived political position is just that, a political decision. But government officials are never self-aware. The city-council is just looking to score some cheap points with the blue check mark twitter warriors. Banning someone/something because you don’t agree with something they do/said/sponsor is so 3rd world. If you don’t like something, don’t spend your money there.

    Besides it’s well documented that chick-fil-a does more business in six days than other places do in seven. So the whole “not open on Sundays” is a mute argument.

  12. Will San Antonio Council ban Airport shops selling all those “Made in China” schlocky San Antonio souvenirs? Pull their leases?

    Land of slave labor and labor camps. A leader in human rights abuse. Theft of IP. No religion except worship of The Party..
    And China has 100% support for LGB rights… right to imprisonment.

  13. @jfhscott
    Yes, these are values, but there are good values and bad values. If someone’s values are “hate, discrimination, and bigotry towards certain other groups”, civilized and free societies have decided these are unacceptable values. I do see your argument that there may be a slippery slope and abuses somewhere, based on interpretation, but so there is if we don’t defend the good values as well…

  14. @jfhscott
    “I simplt cannot fathom the conceit you and other commenters have to demand that those who beliefs differ from yours be purged from participating from society on equal footing.”

    This is a reasonable argument, but similar laws exist in education, and for good reason. Any discrimination = no access to federal funds, because you don’t provide equal opportunities. Same should be for public contracts. Taxpayer funds should not support hate, bigotry and discrimination.

  15. Doesn’t matter who the concessionaire is it will still financially benefit, Chick-Fil-A, a company committed to hate. It’s not about their religious beliefs but rather a business open to the public needs to not support causes that bar a subset of the public. I’m happy to see this hateful company barred from doing business at San Antonio airport.

  16. @Steven

    “It’s not about their religious beliefs but rather a business open to the public needs to not support causes that bar a subset of the public.”

    I’m sorry but when did Chic Fil A bar a subset of the public? Is that new?

  17. No problem, when The Muslims take over and ISIS dictates the law, we all know who is going DOWN.,

  18. Headed out to get me some ChickFilA because I love their food and to show the intolerant food haters that, by God, I can. May even have three meals a day there next week.

  19. Would we be having this discussion if Chic fil A was donating to some Mus.lim groups? Doubtful.

  20. “However government refusing to lease space because of the political views of the business owners strikes me as troubling.” – pretty sure this is unconstitutional.

  21. Who’s imposing their beliefs on whom here? I’ve never seen any hate at a Chick-fil-A or anyone turned away from their stores. They’ve got the kindest employees of any restaurant ever. Not sure how they do it. Can American’s have the right to choose where to eat? If those in support of banning the restaurant are worried that potential customers are just unaware of what Chick-fil-A does with their profits, maybe they can post warning signs at the doors so everyone can be an educated consumer…

  22. @d

    “This is a reasonable argument, but similar laws exist in education, and for good reason. Any discrimination = no access to federal funds, because you don’t provide equal opportunities. Same should be for public contracts.”

    There’s just one small problem with your argument. No one has accused Chick Fil A of discrimination. Not against customers and not against employees. Because they don’t.

    Now would you like to try again?

  23. @d

    Your analogy would have more force if CFA engaged in denying service to members of protected classes as some educational institutions – ones not eligible for federal funds – do.

    This reminds me of the difference between a primary and a secondary boycott. At a certain point, linkages are too attenuated. Are we to force every airport vendor to inform itself of and police the practices of each of its suppliers? Are we to tell every airport vendor that they musn’t employ neo-nazis whose wages might be used to buy spray paint to deface synagogues with swastikas? I could go on with more and more attenuated examples with weak connections between a vendor and societal ills, but that would not be helpful.

    Giving government the power to limit public contracting to those whose views are consonant with the views of those who are in power terrifies me. Amongst other things, it provides those in power the discretion that can quickly devolve into Chicago style cronyism.

    SAT has run afoul of the general rule that the beliefs of a vendor cannot be a source selection factor, to use some government contracts babble.

  24. Darin says:
    March 23, 2019 at 2:44 pm
    @Gary, I really dislike the way you framed this issue and I think you wrote about it for obvious reasons. Posts like these are siren calls for trolls on both sides and if having a non-sensical but voluminous debate (ie significant traffic and engagement) was your goal, looks like you succeeded. You threw out the red meat and the dogs are all here. I bet most don’t know an A380 from a CRJ.

    Darin, I come to this website because I like the way Gary frames issues in ways that are clear-thinking and often humorous. I thought he framed this one quite well. It would be reasonable to for a government entity to require airport businesses to be open 7 days, but they cannot constitutionally bar the owners of every restaurant in the airport from donating to charities (like The Salvation Army) whose viewpoints a majority of the members on the city council disagree with.

  25. d says:
    March 23, 2019 at 2:17 pm
    @jfhscott

    These are not “values” criteria, these are “anti-discrimination and anti-bigotry” criteria, similar to what exists for federal funding and higher education.

    d, yet again you are falsely alleging that Chick Fil A is guilty of discrimination. I recommend that you either provide some evidence of their discrimination against employees or customers or you desist from your false claims.

  26. @SeanNY
    I am trying to post links but the site doesn’t let me…just google the company’s name + discrimination…

  27. One manager at the company had to go through 24 interviews over the span of 2 years, lasting as long 5 hours, to make sure he is a good Christian to get the job, lol…

  28. @d

    “One manager at the company had to go through 24 interviews over the span of 2 years, lasting as long 5 hours, to make sure he is a good Christian to get the job, lol…”

    Indeed Forbes reported that in 2007 about what someone encountered in 1991:

    “Many Chick-fil-A job candidates must endure a yearlong vetting process that includes dozens of interviews. Ty Yokum, the training manager for the chain, sat through 7 interviews and didn’t get the job. He reapplied in 1991 and was subjected to another 17 interviews–the final one lasted five hours–and was hired.”

    It is not controlling, but rather Federal Rule of Evidence 609 provides that evidence of a conviction more than 10 years ago is inadmissible to attack a witnesses character.

    We’re talking about events that were reported 12 years ago and which occurred 28 years ago . . . .

  29. I don’t have time to fully research everything, but we have enough here to get a sense of how they operate…At least 12 discrimination lawsuits until 2007, and “The company might face more suits if it didn’t screen potential hires and operators so carefully.” (from the article)

  30. Wow, 12 discrimination lawsuits?

    There are companies the size of CFA that would be delighted with only 12 discrimination lawsuits over a long period. Were vendors with 12 discrimination lawsuits debarred from public contracting nothing would ever get done.

  31. Did you read the article? They are basically a cult, lol…And there are additional lawsuits since then…And let me re-iterate: “The company might face more suits if it didn’t screen potential hires and operators so carefully. Many Chick-fil-A job candidates must endure a yearlong vetting process that includes dozens of interviews.” “Family members of prospective operators–children, even–are frequently interviewed…” (from the Forbes article)

  32. Very sad day when a local government literally chooses to discriminate against Christians and Christian owned businesses because of the LGBTQA cult that demands we bow down to them and worship them. Of course the local government will have no problem with a business openly hostile to Christians, whites and conservatives because bigotry is allowed and even encouraged if it is bigotry against Christians, white people and conservatives.

  33. There is no bad advert. This “hate” towards Chick-fil-A will only help the company become more popular and successful. Whatever the liberals hate, the more it wil. Grow and flourish. This liberal “hate” will help enormously Trimp get re elected.

  34. @JFHSCOTT: “Sorry, but you cannot bar someone from participating in public contracting simply because you do not agree with them.”

    But you can bar someone if they engage in discriminatory activity.

    The real issue to me at least is that Chick-fill-A does not DIRECTLY discriminate against LGBT folk. Rather, they INDIRECTLY discriminate by giving money to causes that discriminate or intend to discriminate. So the question really is whether indirect discrimination is sufficient to meet standards for being excluded from participation the way direct discrimination would? How would we feel in other analogous situations? What if C-fill-A donated to political groups that spewed anti-black/Hispanic or anti-Christian/Jewish/Muslim sentiments?

    I’m not a lawyer or philosopher so don’t have legal or moral answers so someone more erudite in these areas can chime in. But I do think that Chick-fill-A is one of those “on-the-fence” examples where it’s not really black or white.

  35. If you really want to see the definition of hate and intolerance in action, go watch CNN or MSNBC when they talk about Trump and his supporters.

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    Meanwhile, you libs have been brainwashed to equate disagreement with hatred.. And that is why I’ll never vote socialist or democrat… and happily continue to eat at ChickFila. This is San Antonio’s airport’s loss, and not ChickFila’s.

  36. Chic Fil A is, hands down my fav fast food restaurant. Great food, wonderful courteous service, attentive to customer needs. I don’t really care who they do or don’t contribute to, it’s the food and the service. If I cared about the political POV of a company, I’d be using an abacus instead of a Mac.
    I am surprised that this is coming from SA. I’m amazed it’s not from AUS

    Can’t we just leave politics out of our buying decisions?

  37. I don’t eat a chick-fil-a not because of their beliefs or their contributions to certain groups. It’s because I don’t care for their food. That I believe is the way it should be . If you like the food there then I say enjoy. Because that is your choice. However I totally disagree with the reasoning of the city council

  38. Do I really need to see a company that HATES me while I am at the airport too. I am uncomfortable so many times as it is with hate groups bigots and Christian know it all’s that want to push religion in my face. Do I really need to be FORCED not to eat then go to a company that is KNOWN to give money to groups that hate me. Can any of you find another company that gives to hate groups.

    As for the salvation army as long as you believe in God they will help you but GAYS are not welcomed PERIOD.

  39. Wow, do you have a scarlet letter tattooed on your forehead? Are you really wandering the earth “just sure” that everyone know who you sleep with? Nobody cares if you date a tree ok? Maybe it’s time you realize some people are different than YOU, and tolerate them for a change. Oh and there are no whiners in business class BTW.

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