New Orleans Mayor: Coach Travel Is Unsafe For Black Women

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, herself a former Chair of the Federal Reserve, flies coach. The Mayor of New Orleans flies first class. The difference?

Mayor Cantrell says it’s unsafe for a black woman to fly economy.

‘As all women know, our health and safety are often disregarded and we are left to navigate alone.

‘As the mother of a young child whom I live for, I am going to protect myself by any reasonable means in order to ensure I am there to see her grow into the strong woman I am raising her to be.

‘Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world black women walk in.’

New Orleans policy is that city employees travel on the lowest available fares.

Employees are required to purchase the lowest airfare available…Employees who choose an upgrade from coach, economy, or business class flights are solely responsible for the difference in cost.

She says, however, that she’s not an ’employee’ she’s an ‘elected official’ despite being on the payroll and receiving employee benefits from the city. Here she is saying she won’t pay back $30,000 spent on premium travel.

Her Honor understands, of course, that she’s the mayor of New Orleans and so taking money from taxpayers for her own use is de rigueur. Indeed she was “investigated for misusing her city credit card charging $9,000 dollars for food and various Walmart runs.”

Issues of race and gender aside, I know that many readers find coach to be an unsafe space.

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. First, you’re going to get a lot of racists chiming in in this thread, and second the Mayor should reimburse

  2. I read the UK article and don’t see what she protects herself from by buying in the premium cabins. Any ideas?

  3. Years ago on a flight from Atlanta to LA in coach, then-Los Angeles mayor Antonia Villaraigosa and his girlfriend were in the row in front of me. One of his security detail was seated next to me. Even if he paid for First Class, I’m sure just for appearances alone he elected to sit in the back.

    If Cantrell wants to pay out of her own pocket for the front, fine. But if it’s the taxpayers dime, if the mayor of a city of over 3.8 million can sit in coach, so can the mayor of a city that’s less than one-tenth that size.

  4. People like her are addicted to the leftist grievance politics, It’s all they have. Shell just say it was “systemic racism” or something else equally and manufactured.

  5. I’m fairness, if the city just would have let her misappropriate $1000 more, she would have met the minimum spend for the sign up bonus and would have been able to pay for the travel with points.

  6. The sense of entitlement by some people is sickening. And of course they are the first to blame others of “privilege”. SMH

  7. Y’all are only dwelling about how much she spends on travel because she is black,if she was white we would not know how much she spent on flights. I am not a fan of the mayor but I know if her skin was a different color she would not be attacked by the media. I know other Mayor’s of Louisiana who done far worse than her that didn’t go through even half of the scrutiny that she is enduring.

  8. Will she join previous NO Mayors, Governors & assorted Politicians jailed or in jail in due course?


  9. As a Democrat, I am the first to say that this is not only cause for reimbursement but should be cause for her removal. She’s nothing more than a Mayor of a mid-size city and was traveling to Switzerland and France. Her cause for concern over safety is beyond ludicrous. She was not flying to Afghanistan.

    The only oddity of the article that might leave you to question some facts is that they cite she was flying from IAD to Switzerland on AA. We all know that is not correct, unless connecting in? Little details like this do leave you to wonder. However, she clearly does not deny the travel or dispute the expense.

  10. @ Jackson Waterson — I despise racists such as yourself, and I am not black. Please explain your nonsense about how any single race is responsible for 90% of any particular problem. Show all work.

  11. Why doesn’t she address the crime wave in her city. Car jackings during the daytime are frequent occurrences in New Orleans. She doesn’t need to be flying anywhere until she fixes her crumbling city.

  12. @Flukie: Being comfortable in economy is not about the size of the city, it’s about the size of the Mayor! 😉

  13. I’m all for a mayor of a major city flying first class for a variety of reasons but being black or a woman aren’t on that list. That is just racist. Apparently it’s not too dangerous to spend city funds for personal gain at Walmart but flying coach is a danger. Basically this is how socialist work. We want equality for all except those in power that need special benefits and privilege. Being elected shouldn’t be like winning the lottery.

  14. @Kwanza – she is the one that brought up race a justification for flying first class. Ludicrous to state coach isn’t safe for black women. If she means COVID distancing in first (only thing I can possibly imagine as a stretch) the airport itself is more dangerous to her than ANY seat on the plane.

    Also, at least for me, this has nothing to do with her race or gender. Maybe I’m old school but I think any elected official that flaunts rules, spends more than legally allowed and enriches themselves (even just by a travel experience) at taxpayer expense should be thrown out of office and prosecuted.

  15. Absurd for the mayor to make such a stupid comment. Does she think taxpayers are that gullible?
    She must be a friend of Lori Lightfoot.

  16. No matter your color or ethnicity, the comment made by an elected official is tone deaf.

    I also have no idea why elected mayors, state and local officials travel so much. There should be a mandate that all elected officials must spend at least 80% of business days in the jurisdiction of the people they serve

  17. The 9/11 hijackers were flying 1st Class and stabbed at least one 1st Class, white, male passenger. So no, 1st Class is not safer for anyone, unless she somehow thinks she’s immune due to racial solidarity with hijackers of color.

  18. What a bunch of “Woke” BS. God I am so grateful to be retiring overseas soon.

    PS “Chris” you obviously didn’t do your research she is a devoted Progressive Democrat.

  19. Black Lives Matter. Blacks should travel in first class at taxpayer expense all the time. Whether for personal or business travel. Congress must approve a “ travel expense forgiveness “ plan for all blacks.

  20. Was sitting in the front row of AA’s Business Cabin from LAX-JFK a number of years ago and was surprised by the totally empty First Cabin in front of me. A moment before push back, on to the plane walks Reverend Al Sharpton and his entourage, and they occupied most every F seat in the cabin. Reverend Al knows . . . you can’t be too safe (especially when you fly OPM (Other People’s Money). Race hustlers will never change.

  21. You mean she’s NOT a Republican????? Oh, she’s just your standard Democrat race-baiting grifter. Shocking.

  22. Have you even been to a Walmart (or anywhere else?) in New Orleans? That’s definitely more dangerous than flying economy, even on Spirit.

    On another note, Mayor Latoya was just appointed as the new under secretary for consumer affairs for the Biden Department of Transportation, working directly under Gayor Pete.

  23. So will the former Mayor’s who actually DID pay back the difference in cost be getting “refunds” from the taxpayers? Will she be losing her city pension and benefits since she says that she isn’t a lowly “employee”? This should be a NATIONAL news story, Thank You for sharing it.

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