Delta Upgraded Sean Penn Because He Didn’t Get Into a Fight and Amtrak Sues Over Delta Ads

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Why Air France pours complimentary bubbles in all classes of service oh and it’s proper champagne under French rules.

  • Sean Penn got upgraded on Delta as a reward for not getting into a fight on a Los Angeles – New York JFK segment after two passengers asked him in an “aggressive and rude manner” to move his bags in the overhead bin.

    After the guys jawed at Sean, we’re told he alerted the crew about what had gone down.

    The crew decided to bump Sean and his daughter from economy to first class. Yes, economy.

  • Here’s one for the lawyers among my readers: Amtrak was created by act of Congress.
    It’s board is appointed by the President. And it receives significant subsidies. It leases its space at Union Station in Washington DC, and one of the terms it negotiated in its lease is that the station is not allowed to sell advertising to competitor transportation services.

    Delta advertises in the station (generally) but doesn’t advertise its flights to New York and Boston and doesn’t advertise prices. Amtrak is suing to have Delta’s ads taken down as a violation of its lease. What do you think?

  • American’s Express deal for exclusivity issuing US Hilton Honors credit cards isn’t expected to have a material impact on Amex earnings. (HT: Alan H.)

    CEO Ken Chenault commented that the Hilton portfolio represents less than 1% of American Express’s global billed business. He added that the new agreement should have “no material impact” on earnings. To put the Hilton relationship in some context, Amex has said its co-brand partnership with Starwood represents 2% of billings and 5% of loans.

  • Matthew laments the end of United widebody fifth freedom flights, since they’re introducing a second non-stop to Singapore we lose Hong Kong – Singapore.

    The first time I ever flew United’s ‘new’ first class was on a Boeing 747 from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City. And I especially miss United flights 1 and 2 traveling around the world in opposite directions, at one point the routing was New York JFK – Los Angeles – Hong Kong – Delhi – London Heathrow – New York JFK.

    There was a stop in Bangkok between Hong Kong and Delhi for awhile. And New York JFK was replaced with Washington Dulles (I used to take this flight domestically regularly). And LAX replaced San Francisco as well.

  • Why therapists shouldn’t approve patients’ emotional support animals (HT: Paul H.)

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, 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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  1. Re: Amtrak/Delta, the complaints about subsidies/act of Congress are irrelevant. If the contract prohibits it, it prohibits it. The end. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Your political policy gripes don’t play a role. There’s no “Congress created you” defense to breach of contract.

  2. The Reuters story about therapy animals brings to mind Patricia Marx’s wonderful piece in the New Yorker a few years ago about Emotional Support Animals. She had a therapist write a letter and proceed to take variety of unusual support animals, all “certified”, with her around Manhattan — pigs, turkeys, turtles, even a llama. She showed her letter and took the sometimes unhappy animals into museums, exclusive shops, and restaurants, then brought them aboard planes, buses, and trains.
    It’s a great read (she’s a wonderful writer) – and shows how people were pushing the boundaries of the program from the start.

  3. Qatar Airways stopped serving free champagne in Economy close to two yeas ago :_(

  4. Re Amtrak/Delta litigation: It is impossible to give a reasoned opinion based on the information provided. It depends… on the exact terms of the lease, how a court might define the term “competitor” and potentially other factors. If it goes to trial, this matter is going to cost Amtrak and Delta big time legal fees. No free advice from me.

  5. @john i don’t much care about the terms of the lease, just the question of a government entity seeking to enforce a provision against competitive commercial speech, seems fascinating..

  6. Yoiks! The FAA must add a mix of emotional support animals (who themselves are likely to need considerable “emotional support” in case of fire or similar emergency) to the humans on board and re-do all their evacuation tests!

  7. We have all been on enough flights to know that you don’t get angry when someone puts their luggage in an overhead bin near their seat. How much do you want to bet Sean put his luggage in a bin not near his seat, probably way up front where he was not sitting- more likely story…

  8. Sorry I seem to be missing the gist here. Its been a long time since my last blue book exam. Unless there is some statutory or constitutional limitations, governmental entities that could void the provisions of the lease, a governmental entity should be entitled to the benefit of its bargain the same as any other. When it comes to legal advice, yous pays your money and yous takes your chances.

  9. @john – precisely the issue is one government entity giving another government entity the ability to exclude advertising, I am not saying it’s impermissible but it raises interesting constitutional questions to work through.

  10. I was on that Delta flight adjacent to Sean and his companion and witnessed the complete situation. Sean and his companion were in fact the aggressors and the other passenger was calm and always correct in his behaviour.Mr Penn came across as a spoilt brat , who thought his status was somehow special in coach.

  11. I see no reason why Union station’s lease provision would be unconstitutional. Of course I’d rather fly United than argue con law. To me the more interesting and consequential legal issue is the extent to which railroads and airlines can be considered to be competitors.

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