Was United Flying for Favors??


New United Express Livery by Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner, on Flickr via CC-SA 2.0
New United Express Livery by Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner, on Flickr via CC-SA 2.0

Stories about airlines operating specific routes to curry favor with politicians are not all that uncommon, though proving it can be more challenging than not. Relatively recently the focus with United Airlines was on service to Atlantic City, a destination which had flights start right around the time that the Port Authority approved plans to extend the PATH train to Newark Airport (those flights have since halted). But it turns out that not have been the biggest boondoggle.

New United Express Livery
New United Express Livery by Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner, on Flickr via CC-SA 2.0

 

Federal investigators are now pursuing evidence that United operated a twice weekly flight between Newark and Columbia, SC more or less as a commuter service for former Port Authority Chairman David Samson. The flight operated on Thursdays and Mondays, ideally scheduled for a weekend getaway, and according to DoT data reportedly flew below 50% load factors for the 19 months it operated. The route was halted days after Samson resigned.

According to the story United has confirmed it has received subpoenas for information but provided no additional information.

And, at least for now, it just look bad rather than actually being bad. But it looks really, really bad for everyone involved.

Read More: Federal subpoena seeks travel records of former Port Authority Chairman David Samson

 

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. Interesting points here that have me thinking. I’ve taking the EWR – Columbia flight several times and never once were there more than 10 passengers. Sometimes they would randomly “cancel” for whatever reason they wanted to at the time. It felt fishy to me.

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