Recently, on the Airport stair,
I met a man from Delta Air;
I asked, "What is it that you do there?"
He said, "I run guns on Delta -- Beware!"
It is very difficult to understand how a Delta Airlines baggage-handler employee could smuggle guns to a co-conspirator at the Atlanta Airport -- who then flew with over one hundred fifty guns on twenty separate flights to the New York City area, and very likely elsewhere as well. That Delta employee was able to smuggle guns for at least the past five years, passing such guns as semi-automatic AR-15s in Atlanta Airport stairwells and bathrooms. Were it not for the Brooklyn, N.Y. District Attorney's sting operation, which just happened to catch the co-conspirator trying to sell guns to an undercover agent there, these abysmal security breaches might well have continued for years longer. Nor is there any comfort to be found in the ability of the co-conspirator to fly Delta for free whenever he wished, thanks to a "companion pass" which his mother earned as a long-term Delta employee. Were they not realities, these facts would sound like a very bad movie plot.
As a former hazard mitigation consultant and emergency manager, as well as a Delta Air frequent flyer, many adverse decisions by the airline no longer surprise me. I have come to understand that the sole real priority at Delta is their lopsided goal of profitability. The pious comments of their top executives about putting flyers first are just hogwash. Delta places their misguided quest for increased profits ahead of passenger security, as well as flyer comfort, amenities, and even sound business practices. Even so, until this latest "gun running" ring's long-term misuse of Delta flights, I did not foresee all risks.
What I did foresee, and have shared for several years with Delta's top management and executive customer service, is a pattern of poor and unwise decision-making which runs counter to the best interests of Delta customers, particularly frequent flyers -- and even of the airline itself. Among the symptoms of those bad decisions is a pattern of "nickel and diming" us Delta coach frequent flyers as amenities are reduced or cut out while new and high charges are imposed. Take internet service during flights, pretty much a necessity for many of us, for which Delta imposes exorbitant fees and charges. Take in-flight entertainment, which Delta boasts is "free" while they charge for recent movies and headsets to hear them. Take the drop in complimentary meals on longer flights, in favor of forcing passengers to pay for any real food. Starting in 2015, Delta will erode its frequent flyer program by basing it on money spent on tickets, rather than on miles flown, as has been the case up until now. Thus, business flyers get the break, while individual flyers are relegated to second-class frequent flyer membership. Shame!
When an airline concentrates on how it can best gouge its coach passengers and its individual and family frequent flyers -- while ignoring obvious security breaches such as gun-runners operating right under the noses of Delta supervisory staff at the Atlanta Airport, which is indeed Delta Airlines' hub -- something is drastically wrong with Delta's priorities, its executive judgment, and its ability to keep passengers, crew, and the public safe and secure. A full professional and independent investigation of Defective and Dangerous Decisions at Delta Airlines is long overdue! The present gun-runner fiasco may well be just the tip of an iceberg of incompetence at Delta Airlines.