Delta’s CEO is “Very Encouraged” by Donald Trump

Protectionism – imposing tariffs, keeping out foreign goods – raising prices on consumers. You transfer wealth from citizens to domestic businesses.

Delta admits the goal of their campaign against Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar is to raise prices on consumers and limit options.

After their quest to get the Obama administration to limit flights by Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad went nowhere (we have a treaty, after all, and US companies like Fedex benefit immensely from it), Delta’s CEO started talking up Donald Trump before the election despite his predecessor giving over $350,000 personally in support of Hillary Clinton.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian hopes Donald Trump will build a wall on the border with Qatar and make Akbar al-Baker pay for it.

He doesn’t want onboard Trump rants but he is “very encouraged” by President-elect Donald Trump’s commitment to enforce trade agreements.

He hoped that the Obama administration would stick it to consumers for him, but now that there’s a new administration coming to town they see a big opportunity in Donald Trump.

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. Anything Delta says or does is always brilliant and of course correct
    they are the best airline and run the most generous FF program in the world
    You can always get your award seats generously and never pay a nuisance fee
    Yay for Delta greatest airline ever
    Can they build a wall around the Sky Pesos program 😉

  2. I’m sure you’re going to get loads of brickbats for this post, but before it happens, I just want to say thanks for posting and don’t stop!

  3. Gary just wants to fly A380 suites to concrete jungles using partner miles and stay in concrete jungles no one wants to visit.

  4. I’m absolutely with @Martin on this. Bravo, Gary.

    I’m sure you’ll get criticism for anti-protectionism, pro-competitive posts such as this. I say, keep ’em coming. They’re in the interest of, and I suspect interesting to, most of your readers and most of the country.

  5. Long ago in college, I had a pretty conservative economics professor who said that big businessmen would always be in favor of government control if they thought it would help them. Delta’s words reinforce his point.

  6. “Protectionism – imposing tariffs, keeping out foreign goods – raising prices on consumers. You transfer wealth from citizens to domestic businesses.”

    Exactly right!!!

    But that’s just $.

    Isolationism is a good way to get us all killed. We are Rome…

  7. Yep. We need competition. Look no further than small to mid-size markets and look at airfares in: JAX OKC OMA IND etc

    Thanks Gary for calling it like you see ’em.

  8. Forget about competition. We’re following the Putin track now – just revealed as richest man in world after looting Russia of it controlling wealth, killing off and arresting all opponents and journalists who inquired. Trump’s first campaign manager Manafort was Putin’s PR guy, in addition to that of every other bloody dictator on earth. Campaign distanced him when his handling Trump for Putin was discovered by the CIA. All of this is about to break because Dems briefed on Senate Intel committee will risk arrest and reveal it if Obama doesn’t. He is set to retaliate against Russia soon. Given that interfering in democratic elections to fix them is an act of war, Obama could zero out the Russian financial system and remain proportionate. Something must be done to keep the US from elevating Trump to world co-dictator with Putin. This is what ignorant fat racist rednecks have given us, after the world was shaken awake to their bottomless stupidity with Bush, who is a harmless icon compared to the conman who they just permanently handed over their country to.

  9. The Gulf States Airlines are simply playing by “our” rules. There is nothing in their routing that is a violation, if there was Delta would have sued them. No, if we make the rules we must play by them. They are just smarter and not hamstrung by “equity capitol ” investors. I enjoy flying on UAE metal as I do AF, believe or not. Having just returned from essentially a round the world trip, IcelandAir, AF and EK I did not miss DL’s tired “Smithsonian era metal”. Stopped US metal 7 years ago international and not missing it. Call me crazy but I enjoy friendly service and eatable food along with a seat that does not cause me to have an adjustment afterward.

  10. Please please keep up these type of posts. Trump and the Republican bigoted xenophobic insular scumbags have to stood up to.

    Saying that its probably too late, they have the ball and they are gonna run with it. Ruining America as they go.

    Maybe the USA deserves it, hey they voted for him despite the incredible amount of crap that came out of his mouth, the incredible, complete and utter lack of fitness/ ability for the job. The environment, the planet and innocent wildlife that will suffer under his cabinet of horrors does not however.

    A sad and scary time. Thanks Trump voters, you sicken me.

  11. Delta kissing up to Trump is wise; he is easily flattered. Doesn’t sound good for competition. Yes, this is a scary time. Thanks for a good report, Gary.

  12. It’s not protectionism or bilking consumers. If the gulf carriers were not subsidized, then yes it would be protectionism to erect tariffs. But state subsidized companies pricing their products below market is not fair trade. It will ultimately lead to the non-subsidized companies going bankrupt and an eventual monopoly power for the subsidized companies which will lead to much higher pricing than fair competition would produce. Not to mention, it would also not be in our strategic interest as a nation to just surrender our aviation industry, jobs and tax base to foreign operators.

    This is the same thing the Chinese are doing with Solar panels. They are subsidizing solar companies to enable them to price panels far below any private company. The private companies have to price at a level that can earn a return on invested capital and can’t match the pricing on a company that doesn’t have to earn a return. China has deemed solar a strategic industry and wants to drive foreign capital out of the industry so they build a technological strategic advantage. That is not free trade. It is only free trade if governments stay out of it. But, if governments intervene on one side, they have to be countered by government action on the other side until they learn there is no point to intervening in the first place. When we don’t counter unfair subsidies with tariffs, we are teaching these foreign governments that there is a benefit to intervening, which is why so many of them are doing it. We have been asleep at the wheel.

  13. @Rob S

    I beg to differ, but, yes: it is protectionism, and it is bad for consumers, and only good for the companies that the government favors.

    Let’s just propose a radical scenario: What about if the ME3 decided to offer tickets at, well, I don’t know, $1? Would that be so bad for consumers? I don’t see how. Yes, I see the argument that that would eventually lead to the US3 to call it quits, and stop flight over the Atlantic. Okay, so what? If then the ME3 decided to radically change prices in the opposite direction, and start then charging $100K per seat, well, that would be very easily fixed by another company offering a cheaper price, and then another, and so on. As long as you allow market competition and new players to enter the market, there’s nothing to fear, in my opinion. I don’t see the US3 going broke anytime soon, and would definitively welcome more competition. Also consider that Qatar is the largest shareholder of IAG, and that includes BA, Iberia, and Aer Lingus, and that’s a lot of flights to the US in a joint venture with AA. Would the tariffs apply to them as well?

    The way I see it, protectionism and the nationalism it brings with it, it’s not only bad for consumers and the overall economy, it is immoral as well. I can definitively see the pain and the problems that people go through when they lose their jobs due to competition, disruption in the market, and so on, and as a society I feel we have a moral duty to help other people, absolutely, but that is another discussion, and we just can’t stop the world moving, prevent innovation, and so on.

    Unfortunately, if history is any guidance, protectionism and trade wars tend to be followed by real ones, and that’s an scenario where nobody wins. Just my two cents.

  14. @Fran
    I understand the spirit of your point, and I agree consumers will benefit from lower prices for some undefined amount of time, depending upon how long the game takes to play out. And I also enjoy the resulting lower prices in the near term as a consumer, just as much as the next guy. But longer term, privately funded companies cannot compete with government subsidized companies. It’s a thing. It’s called trade dumping and it’s against most standing trade agreements.

    Despite it being a violation of most trade agreements it continues to happen, tissue products, steel, and solar panels are more extreme examples, airlines and auto parts are more subtle examples. It keeps happening because we are slow to respond the way we should to keep cheaters honest. And I imagine we are slow to respond because most folks in government can’t be bothered explaining the nuanced difference between free trade and fair trade. In politics, if you are explaining, you are losing.

    Your extreme example misses the fact that once the gulf carriers knock US carriers out of the game entirely, they would not raise prices high enough for a new entrant to be able to recoup its startup investment. Additionally, your example neglects to recognize that in your scenario, a new entrant would assume that they could never recoup their investment regardless of prices because they would understand that the ME3 are subsidized and already demonstrated the ability and will to price dump when faced with competition. So they would essentially have full monopoly power. How long that all takes to play out? Sure it could be a long time, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it. It is not protectionism, it is enforcement of fair trade.

  15. Who could be better to achieve these promised fair trade goals than the CEO of Exxon? Or maybe it will be handled by President Grabber himself who just settled for $25 million the suit bilking thousands including military veteran’s families out of their life savings .

  16. @Greg,
    Well, that is a different argument. If you’re implying the CEO of Exxon is accepting Secretary of State as a means to enrich himself rather than act on behalf of the American people, that is a question of character and I don’t know anything more about Tillerson than the next guy. But, from my perspective, it seems more likely a career politician who hasn’t already amassed great wealth would probably be more likely to be using his Cabinet post as a means to enrich himself later in life, rather than a 64 year old CEO who is already worth a few hundred million. Either way, I do think they will fix the unfair trade problems since they are the first senior elected officials I have ever heard demonstrating that they even understand how foreign countries have been siphoning wealth from the United States through trade agreement exploitation, currency manipulation and intellectual property theft.

  17. I have no idea why anyone would want to put up with the “Neo-Nazi” attitude of US3 waiters and waitresses in the sky and to ride on their “smithsonian era” junk metal that barely gets cleaned and serviced occupied with rats and rodents in the cargo area and even in the galley (I have seen it on United) myself with my own eyes.
    Then have to deal with their sky pesos. It is not even worth claiming any miles. On our recent trip after we paid such a high fare, roughly over 1k to Asia in Economy we found out that we could not earn any UA mileage plus. Ridiculous. We had the same experience flying Delta to Dominican Republic, when I saw my mileage update indicating the ticket number, the flight number, saying miles eared “Zero”, it was as if someone punched me in the gut.
    I was kicked off of a Flight by just trying to look at an American Airlines waitress’s ID to catch her name and she said that I touched her. I am gay! Why in the hell I would want to touch a fat ugly ducky air waitress dressed in nasty polyester with gravy on it?
    I was kicked off of the flight. My luggage went to Miami. It was stolen upon arrival (it was Tumi with ton of expensive stuff in it) & I did not get a penny from AA.Then after I landed on a later flight, I had to deal with Rude abusive agents who could barely speak English.
    Do we need these types of treatment in USA so we can say that we are protecting jobs of airline employees? Do you feel that way when you go to Walmart and see almost %100 percent of stuff/toys/crap that you buy for your kids is made in China?
    Start with Walmart and Target, start with those toys and t-shirts that you buy for $4.99 and let us have competition within the Aviation. We are already getting screwed by US3 and even recently from Southwest, Alaska and other airlines. I recently booked a Southwest flight one way LAX-CUN for $365 usd, 4 months in advance. Perhaps if Qatar was flying that route I would get a nice meal, my miles and smiling attractive well behaved safety professionals who have style and grace.
    Plus, Delta, United, American all got hefty aide from the US government. So, technically they are protected and subsidized. How the hell do you think United got out of Chapter 11 and screwed their customers and own employees with stock options, salaries and pensions?
    As matter of fact we need more competition.
    I like to see SQ flying LAX-JFK at least 3 times per day with beautiful caring gorgeous fit Flight Attendants who talk to you like human beings not yelling at you like the trash on United, American and Delta. I like to see Qatar flying LAX-MIA and SAN-BOS and SAN-IAD. I like to see Etihad flying ORD-MIA and ORD-CUN, IAD-SFO. Then I would love to see if the big 3 will still be charging you $25-$50 dollars for a bag, $50 dollars for a middle seat with broken entertainment, $12 dollars for a nasty smelly sandwich (I just had that on United from LGA-DEN), it smelled like a dead cat. $9.99 for a nasty salad, I was charged by a nasty AA air waiter, after I told him that I was denied boarding because of oversale in PHL, delayed out of CDG by one day because of Mechanical, then diverted to LAS, no hotels or meals and finally to SNA and he still charged me and sat on the metal bin and kept watching his TV programs on his IPAD. He would not let me move to an aisle upfront so I could recline my seat, saying that I had to pay for it.
    I had a crazy AA waitress recently from DFW-SFO who told me that the last row was her crew rest area. She put on her crap across 3 rows of seats and laid down watching a movie. I ended up suffering in row 13 which does not recline, in the middle seat of course, after I had paid for a premium seat upgrade but there was an aircraft change.
    These things would never happen, on Qatar, Etihad, Emirates or Turkish.
    I want to see Turkish flying coast to coast with their beautiful lie flat beds in business serving their amazing food with kind hospitality on board. On Turkish every 20-30 minutes, the Flight Attendants walk with juice and water trays as they should. The nasty US waiters/waitresses sit on their jump seats or the last row, reading trash magazines and gossiping about one another. And if you say anything, the answer would be Sir, Sir, calm down. Sir, Sir, you are harassing me. Sir, Sir, I have to call the cockpit, lower your voice, even if you speak to them in a calm manner. Have you watched Anger management? We are in an era that US trashy airline staff who have no education treat you just like in the movie and you will end up in jail if you say anything back to them, so we all zip it up and put up with these crazy nut-jobs.
    The bottom line, we need all the competition we can get to have better service, our dignity back, and competitive pricing.
    I would not mind seeing even TSA staff to be replaced by kind, friendly Indians that work in Dubai. I am tired of getting harassed by angry African American women on their period yelling at me over my small package of yogurt that I just spend $10 dollars on and need it for medical reasons to eat it on board on a long flight. This angry woman in LGA took my yogurt away and out of revenge went through my stuff 3-4 times so I would miss my United flight. I was lucky that flight was delayed for over 2 hours.

  18. Lot of sore loser trash here today. By the way, I didn’t vote for Trump, Hillary,or crazy Bernie. Leaving for Aruba tomorrow, maybe I”ll look for a new home so I don’t have put up with this political hate everyday. It’s everywhere, grow up people.

  19. I agree AL! Doesn’t matter who you voted for this rhetoric is getting ridiculous…Trump will not be Prez forever, just a short time in the overall scheme of things. But if you keep tearing down America, no matter who the next Prez is half the country will not respect or support “him”. Just remember when you tear down a system, what replaces it may not suit you…

  20. Don’t blame sane people who tried to warn you disgusting fat ignorant rednecks that you were being conned by a transparent flim-flam artist who had scammed thousands of vets out of their life savings, another fact you waved away as “fake news” (news that doesn’t agree with your morbidly obese prejudices) even when he settled the suit for $12 million the day after the election.

    What we know is that the rest of the world has now taken YOUR measure and teaches in their schools in countries like Australia, UK, Spain, Japan and Germany that the vile ignorant racist redneck American is the greatest threat on the planet, a destroyer of civilization. There’s no amount of bullying you can do that doesn’t run right into that fist or reality, Buford. You are the most hated creatures on earth.

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