It’s Good to Be the King: the Special Travel Perks Enjoyed By the Political Class

When one story comes out, reporters go looking for more similar stories. So post-Bridgegate when there’s word of a federal investigation into United running a flight for the Chairman of the authority that oversees Newark airport to shuttle him to his vacation place for the weekend, and after United ran Atlantic City service as a quid pro quo for support of tax dollars for Newark airport transit projects, it should come as a surprise that there’s more to come out of the New York area airports.

Port Authority commissioners got perks at New York area airports.

This is perhaps as obvious and to be expected as Mel Brooks’ rejoinder, “it’s good to be the king.

Newly released records show four commissioners at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were allowed to bypass regular security lines and received other perks when they flew out of airports run by the agency.

…The records said workers at times used golf carts to escort Port Authority officials between their cars and airport gates – skipping check-in lines.

…In some cases, they were met by employees at their cars and taken to faster employee-only security lines. They also boarded planes early and were shuttled to an airport lounge.

These courtesies were extended both to commissioners as well as their families.

Don’t forget:

There are, of course, dedicated desks operated by the major airlines to handle Congressional travel.

Staff schedulers often times make reservations for members of Congress via dedicated phone lines that Delta and other major airlines have reportedly set up for Capitol Hill customers. Airlines also permit members to reserve seats on multiple flights but only pay for the trips they take.

Ted Kennedy once ‘saved two jobs’ — the jobs of the special services reps at US Airways who took care of him during his travels, when the airline was looking to make significant cutbacks after 9/11.

And Members of Congress and Supreme Court Justices have long had their own free parking at National Airport:

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. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Commissioner of the Port Authority bypassing security. It’s the equivalent of PreCheck: the whole point of security is, well, security. But if you can “vouch” for someone, for example through PreCheck, then you shouldn’t have to waste your time or theirs. Who is more “vouchable” than the Commissioner of the friggin’ Port Authority?!?! Security isn’t supposed to be punitive or something to do just because everyone else is doing it… Now, his family, should have to go through security. They haven’t had the same background checks or track record as he.

  2. I love these posts from you, Gary, where you meld the political with our favorite hobby 🙂

  3. How about Big Mama, her mother and the two daughters visit China on the taxpayers dollar. Then there the First Mutt getting ferried around on taxpayers fund helicopter.

  4. @ Kevin S – the current President had taken 125 full or part vacation days by August 2014. GW Bush had taken 407 at the same point in his Presidency.

    I think we’re getting a really good deal by comparison.

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