Multi-millionaire Politician Moonlights As Delta Baggage Handler

David Leavitt is worth tens of millions of dollars. He’s the County Attorney for Utah County, Utah (they ran out of names, Utah County includes Provo) and is currently running for Utah Attorney General.

Leavitt is also the brother of Mike Leavitt, former Utah Governor and Secretaries of the EPA and Health and Social Services. And he’s a Delta ramper.

He drives a baggage cart and de-ices planes at the Salt Lake City airport for the free standby flight benefits, working the required minimum 150 hours a year on Saturdays and free evenings.

The man, who contributed $300,000 to his own race for attorney general, earns $8.50 per hour from Delta.

“I’m not doing it for the paycheck,” he said. “It was creating such amazing memories for our family because we would go to Paris for the weekend. It has become a part of my family culture.”

Leavitt couldn’t juggle his County Attorney job, working for Delta, and singing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir so he quit the choir.

It’s not just a Honey Boo Boo television star who delivers lost luggage, it seems.

I have to wonder about someone’s management choices if they’re worth tens of millions but take on an additional job to earn standby travel benefits when they could pay to travel and spend the time for their family. Driving a baggage cart may be fun but de-icing seems miserable to me. Especially in recent years, before the pandemic, life as a nonrev hasn’t been easy with flights generally full.

(HT: MilesQuest)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. This is some weird virtue-signaling, or a politician’s stunt like walking across a state, or maybe a mental disorder. Conceivably he could have Asperger’s and be fixated on airline equipment. I have seen similar things.

  2. That’s only 12.5 hrs a month. Even if net worth millions, 1 Sat and 1 night a month or about 3 nights a month (a bit over 4 hrs each) for those opportunities seems to be a good business decision to me.

  3. Wealthy people sometimes are the most frugal with their money. Seems like he gets a great return on investment with his efforts here. Not sure why people would think that deserves being questioned or mocked.

  4. @ Gary — He could have spent hundreds of hours mile running, churning and keeping track of his ever-devaluing miles. That would probably an equal expenditure of time.

  5. There’s an unexplainable joy to non-revving you can’t get with purchasing revenue flights. Decide to go to Paris tomorrow for less than $100. You can even get on “sold out” flights if you’re lucky. Is it logical? No. But damn it’s a fun time!

  6. As boilers said, it’s not a huge time commitment… probably 2-3 shifts a month. Not an awful use of an evening or a Saturday morning here and there.

    Could be that he enjoys the opportunity to do something a bit less cognitively taxing compared to a typical day on his job. Or more physically strenuous. Or that brings him into contact with different types of people.

    Plus he gets a nice little perk on top of all that. Seems OK by me.

  7. Where do I sign up?! Which U.S. major has the best non-rev benefits? Does it include non-rev travel on partner or alliance airlines?

  8. You don’t get rich spending your money. It’s actually genius. He might not have millions if he was spending thousands on flights.

  9. Actually this is more commonly done to get a good healthcare plan for a low cost. I know many people who work 20 hours or less/week to get a family plan for about $150/350 a month. Far cheaper than exchange prices. Farmers do it. Small business owners do it. Military do it (more for the extra money and future opportunities). Even retirees from other companies do it. The flying benefits are just gravy.

  10. I envy him and admire his decision.
    -He obviously enjoys what he does.
    – He’s a white collar professional who is not afraid of sometimes-hard blue collar work.
    – He’s engaged with one of the largest employers in the area and, conversely, has the ear of fellow co-workers who might not have other opportunities to talk to an elected official.
    – If a front line worker in any field ever says to him, either as someone with money or someone who holds office, “You don’t know what it’s like because you haven’t been there,” he can say, “Yes, I have,” and be a good listener.
    -Yes, there’s something special about pass benefits, even if they’re now tough to use. I’d pick up a shift or two today if I could get them back again, even though I normally don’t have problems buying revenue tickets as a “civilian.”

  11. Okay, @Brian Butler has a point. Otherwise I agree wholeheartedly with
    @boilers, @StephenA, @Gene, @Maddie, @Justin and @JackE and @Deborah!

  12. I joined the Army Reserve in my late 30s with an advanced degree to have a change of pace and another way to serve the public, and for some of the benefits. I appreciate what he’s doing.

  13. Interesting…we have a veterinarian, a Board-certified orthopedic veterinary surgeon, who moonlights as a part-time cop in Clayton County here in the Atlanta area…he certainly isn’t in it for the money. I suspect it is the same for the guy in Utah.

  14. Ok #1 you don’t get rich by spending your money unnecessarily on wants instead of needs. Buying plane tickets, even if you can afford them any time you want, is an unnecessary expense. They are wants, not needs. So he found a way to eliminate the financial part of that want.

    #2 I get the spending time with family part, but you even quote him in the article as saying he’ll take his family to Paris for the weekend. That’s how they and plenty of other airline employees spend their family time. Some families go to the park or the zoo for family time, many of us airline employees figure out where to non-rev for a few days. I just bid my July schedule a few minutes ago and I bid for a few days off following recurrent training so my wife and I can go to Vegas for a few days to celebrate our anniversary, which falls on the day after my last day of recurrent (since the State Department still frowns on us going overseas, and most airlines haven’t restored many international flights anyway). That’s one of the ways how we spend time together. Our 20th anniversary two years ago was spent climbing the Cliffs of Moeher on the west coast of Ireland.

  15. My in laws are worth over $200MM. They fly coach, drive Toyotas, and won’t spend more than $250/night on a hotel room.

  16. He probably works for SkyWest, not Delta. Delta doesn’t pay anybody that little. Delta ‘s minimum wage is $15/h.

  17. Most unnecessary goods are purchased by lower income families.
    Rich people became rich because they knew not to overspend or buy unnecessary products.
    Looters, especially during the past month, mostly looted Walmart and Target for 70″ TV for pleasure. They also looted at 5th Ave in Manhattan for bags and shoes. If they have money, they probably will still spend on those stuff.
    Don’t blame rich people being rich, and you are so poor.
    You chose not to spend money wisely, just like looters would not loot Home Depot to build anything.

  18. Many years ago, I worked in the bag room and on-lines at CVG during its heyday as a hub during college. By far the most fun job I had, between summer jobs at kings island(free rides on the beast) and working for Delta, Delta wins by a mile! Really wish I had kept doing what he’s been doing all those years at SLC. I bet all this Paris flights he mentions were on the flight from cvg to Paris that are subsidized be ge for aircraft parts. Any word on when or if that’s being resumed or are they utilizing Dahl for that?

  19. I get it. I’m also a non revver. It’s a thrill that you won’t understand. The ability to wake up and decide to go to NYC or Chicago for lunch, and be home in time for dinner.

  20. What a bunch of tools here in the comment section. I love aviation so much I’d jump at the chance to do this job, be near the aircraft and be a part of the team. One jackass even cried racism! Get a clue man. Also, Not the first post I’ve seen on Airline/travel/points sites that target a person for being slightly out of the mainstream “aggrieved” class. You people need to get a life.

  21. It’s a very addicting job. It’s hard to explain, but there’s more to it than just flying around.

  22. The only non-pathetic answer this guy could give is that he does it because he enjoys the job. Everything else just makes him look like an ultra cheap bastard.

  23. Reminds me of a flight when I was non-revving to Paris with my wife and daughter. We were in 1st class, sitting next to a guy who worked for a chemical company, on his way to India. I was so stoked, I was trying to convince him to have his wife get an airline job.

  24. I think it’s incredibly stupid and wrong. He’s preventing someone who needs a job from being employed.

  25. This is an adorably annoying and factually inacurate story. I’ve worked for Delta for 11 years and no one makes $8.50. No one I have ever known has made $8.50 an hour at Delta. We make far more…even to start.

    Additionally, the minimum is not 150 hours.

    Because of that, this whole article begs me to wonder if any of it is true. I’ve never seen this guy in my life.

  26. Why not. Being wealthy and being smart with your money are two different things. So what your wealthy you should still make smart choices with your money. Like he said great perk to travel on a whim for the weekend to amazing places you may not have if you had to pay for a ticket. I know a doctor who does the same thing in Oakland for a major carrier where he is a gate agent PT and does it for the flight benefits.

  27. He’s preventing someone who needs $8.50 / hr from getting a job?
    This is like saying I shouldn’t browse the Goodwill store in an upscale neighborhood because the stuff is meant for poor people.

  28. You will never understand what it is really like to be able to show up to the airport and go anywhere for free.

  29. I totally agree with Geoff Doiron, this story doesn’t add up. PLEASE show me something in writing where you can work only 150 hrs in a year and earn DL travel privileges.

  30. I admire this! Instead of sitting around wishing he had a job in travel (like I do) he’s actually doing something about it. I worked once for a GDS and enjoyed the travel benefits, then got off into the tech world and have wondered about the past 20 years of non-travel-work experience. Good for him.

  31. As an airline employee, who is pass-entitled, he’s also eligible for great discounts on Hotels and cruises all over the world.

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