Governors: You Don’t Really Want to Lure Delta Headquarters Away From Atlanta Anyway

It’s fair to be highly skeptical of SkyMiles as a store of value. However you can dismiss those concerns and say it’s not like Delta makes any promises about the value of their miles to begin with. So you shouldn’t use that as the basis to judge any commitments they make.

Delta was never leaving Atlanta, Georgia and now they’ve basically said so. However for the past week many around the country flirted with the idea of luring Delta’s headquarters away as a result of the Georgia legislature refusing to give the airline the fuel tax subsidies they’ve lobbied for.

Some governors even offered back the truck up as it were. Connecticut’s governor said they “are committed to doing whatever necessary to help make this relocation a reality.”

They should be glad a move is off the table considering that Delta reneges on its deals with governors, too.

When Delta acquired Northwest Airlines in 2008, Northwest had an agreement to keep its headquarters in the Minneapolis area.

The headquarters commitment gave the airport commission there the power to demand repayment of $245 million in bonds it had issued on behalf of Northwest.

But within months Delta had reached a deal to get out of the headquarters commitment by agreeing to keep 10,000 jobs in Minnesota and maintain a certain level of flights at the Minneapolis airport.

And two years later, Delta paid off the remaining $170 million worth of airport-backed bonds – relieving it of the jobs commitment. The airline in 2011 closed its training centers in Minnesota and moved maintenance work and flight training to Atlanta.

Delta started the whole thing tweeting that they were severing ties with the NRA, then tried to claim they were doing that in order not to take sides in gun debates.

Now we know the whole thing was a meaningless gesture from the get go, they admit only 13 people had taken advantage of the discount they were pulling so they gave up zero revenue to take a political stand that then they pretended not to have taken.

The lesson, if you haven’t gotten it already, is that you should always trust everything Delta tells you.

(HT: Ryan C.)

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. We get it. You don’t like Skymiles and you don’t like Delta, so you can always find something to bash. Fills the space and gets the attention.

  2. I collect SkyMiles. I have plenty of them. I don’t trust SkyMiles not to become consistently worth less and less.

    I do like Delta (the airline). I do not like Delta using government to do the bidding it can’t accomplish in the marketplace.

  3. Delta should play into this and threaten to leave ATL.
    Maybe move to DFW and compete with AA there.

  4. Without Deltas monopoly of the Atlanta airport they would become a regional airline. No Atlanta No Delta.

  5. I would think Michigan and Minnesota would be all over this.

    Speaking of Skymiles, I have about 25K sitting in my account (AA EXP here). I tried to see if I could use them for ABQ-DTW one way next week. Not only was almost every flight a different price, but they wanted a minimum of 25K for economy all the way up to 90K for economy. The most insane one was F for 187500. So instead, booked F on AA with discounted redemption and Aviator reimbursement….19K total.

  6. Leaving the biggest airport in the world for sociopolitical brownie points doesn’t seem smart, @RF.

  7. But I’ll wager Delta lost way more than 13 customers over this public relations/political correctness fiasco.

    “Now we know the whole thing was a meaningless gesture from the get go, they admit only 13 people had taken advantage of the discount they were pulling so they gave up zero revenue to take a political stand that then they pretended not to have taken.”

  8. So, a company purchased another company that had a commitment. They negotiated a new agreement that allowed a buyout that was later executed. Is that the summary?

    Bad Delta… BAD!

  9. How dare Delta pay off their $245 million in Bonds!!! This must have been a devastating blow to the bond holders! To top it off, Delta had meetings with MN and both sides signed agreements knowing the full details and potential downstream events. This is absolutely horrible. If the next thing you will tell me is that the sun will come up tomorrow, I might just lose it.

    Ok, sarcasm mode off.

  10. You need to keep on the news before you post . Delta’s CEO clarified their position . You must be desperate for attention . Also all you do is bash Delta and promote a certain credit card over and over again . You must think we are all stupid that we don’t know you take sides over money .

  11. MCO as a hub? If you think there are air traffic control problems in Atlanta, Florida would be a nightmare. Traffic flow in and out of the state is severely limited. ATC is constantly juggling the inbound and outbound traffic down the peninsula. Even with the AR(Atlantic Routes) there are only so many slots.

  12. @Richard Stubbs — this post CONTAINS Delta’s latest position, maybe earnestly read what I’ve written rather than superimposing your own biases?

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