In the ever more bizarre story of Delta’s behavior related to Qatar Airways’ service in Atlanta, it appears that the home-town carrier is, well, escalating its efforts. A reader provided this video to me taken in Atlanta of a Delta employee at the Qatar Airways departure gate. Apparently the same employee has been at the gate multiple times, always with a counter in hand to track the number of passengers boarding the aircraft.
Here’s a rough transcript:
Camera: What are you doing for Delta right now?
C: Is it true you’re counting passengers as they board?
Her: Why are you saying that?
C: Because you have a clicker in your hand and that’s what you told the staff here yesterday. Is that what you’re doing?
She doesn’t answer the question on camera so I suppose there is plausible deniability there, but there is definitely a counter visible in her hand in the video.
This is jut the latest in a long and twisted set of exchanges, some public and some (like this one) less so. Blocked gates, dropped public sponsorships, hundreds of pages of forensic financial analysis and public bickering between the CEOs is just part of the fun. That last bit has dialed back with the retirement of Richard Anderson and Ed Bastian taking over that role at the company. But apparently the less public stuff continues unabated.
I’ve reached out to Delta for clarification on the behavior and to learn if maybe there’s something else going on that is unclear from what we can see and hear; I’m awaiting a response and will update should that happen.
But, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why this bickering continues. Maybe there are massive subsidies in play and the Open Skies treaty should be torn up. Maybe not. But it seems unlikely to me that actions like these are really benefiting Delta‘s case in any way. Even if it can “prove” that no one is really flying on that particular route what difference does it make? How is that going to help form a coherent and plausible argument that something else should happen? It comes off as mighty petty to me.