Friday, June 24, 2011

Delta Airlines Partnership Highlights Discriminatory Saudi Arabian Travel Policy

JERUSALEM (RNS) Jews and Israelis, or passengers carrying any non-Islamic article of faith, will not be able to fly code-share flights from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia under Delta Air Line's new partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines that is set to begin in 2012.

Although Delta announced in January that the Saudi airline would join its SkyTeam network next year, the implications of the deal only came to light recently, according to people who have scrutinized the details.

Saudi Arabia, which is governed by strict Islamic law, requires citizens of almost every country to obtain a visa. People who wish to enter the country must have a sponsor; women, who must be dressed according to Saudi standards of modesty, must be met at the Saudi airport by a man who will act as a chaperone.

Saudi Arabia bans anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport from entering the country, even in transit. Many Jews believe the kingdom has also withheld visas from travelers with Jewish-sounding names.

Religious items such as Bibles that are not related to Islam may be confiscated at the airport.

Colby M. May, senior counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative legal group founded by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, said his office is trying to determine if the agreement runs afoul of U.S. law.

"The very idea that there is a common carrier airline service that would deny an American citizen in America access to their services because they are Jewish or have religious items such as a yarmulke, a cross or a priestly collar, is deeply disturbing," May said.

May said he is "trying to get answers" from Delta.

"They have not responded in a way that answers the question," he said. "Hopefully they'll do so."

In a statement to Religion News Service on Thursday (June 23), Delta said it "does not discriminate, nor do we condone discrimination against any protected class of passenger in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender."

The airline, which did not deny the new policy, insisted that it has no control over who may fly to Saudi Arabia.

"Delta must also comply with all applicable laws in every country it serves," adding that passengers are responsible for obtaining the necessary travel documents required for entry.

"If a passenger travels without proper documents, the passenger may be denied entry into that country and our airline may be fined," the statement said.

The Jan. 10 agreement allows Saudi Arabian Airlines to become a member of SkyTeam in 2012 after "fulfilling all membership requirements," according to a SkyTeam statement. The Saudi airline is SkyTeam's first member from the Middle East.

The policy has deeply angered U.S. Jewish groups, especially since Delta is an American carrier.

"Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, should be strongly condemned for its despicable discrimination against Jews," said Kenneth Bandler, a spokesman for the New York-based American Jewish Committee.

"For an American company, our nation's values should trump narrow business interests. Delta should be the first to reject Saudi airlines as a SkyTeam member."

Dan Diker, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, said he hoped "Delta will not be complicit with what appears to be a demonstrably anti-Semitic and racist policy by Saudi Arabian Airlines."

Lest we all forget Delta is the airline that was charging American Soldiers extra baggage fees while coming home from war.
A unit of U.S. Army soldiers returning from a deployment in Afghanistan said Delta Air Lines charged them as much as $2,800 in luggage fees on a flight from Baltimore to Atlanta.
I am not sure what Delta believes they will gain.  But this is one company I will NEVER fly through again.  They seem to be Anti-Jew, Anti-Soldier and Anti-Christian.  Wow!  Unbelievable.

Funny and a bit weird story below.  Yeck! Gag me! and Ewww.....


cube said...

I may be wrong, but it seems as though Delta is picking the team for which it wants to play and it isn't a very tolerant or inclusive team. Stupid business practice, if you ask me.

Leticia said...

Cube, I would say they are just asking for financial ruin. They are going to lose many customers for this grave error in judgement.

dmarks said...

Delta is the recipient of significant government largesse, and it overcharges and does even worse things. There's no excuse.

They won't lose many customers, due to government regulations that make them a monopoly in so many places. For me, it either Delta, or flap my arms.

Z said...

Oh, BUUUMMMMMMEEERRRRR! I was just going to post on this; a friend sent me the information! I'm glad you covered it...

Isn't it unbelievable?

I think it reflects terribly on DELTA, as cube suggests....

dmarks is right; it's not a big gamble for them when they might be the only plane in town going 'there'..

I must admit I've put more miles on DELTA than some pilots have after having traveled so much with Mr. Z.

Patrick Carroll said...

Yep, the best thing to do is boycott them, what a disgrace!

MK said...

Maybe if someone who is openly gay is denied a visa, the civil libertarians and all the other leftards masquerading as freedom-lovers will issue some sort of whine over it.

If it's Jews, well sorry, no one really gives a damn.

If only American politicians would grow a pair and leftards would get out of the way of drilling in your own country, we could all tell those arab savages to go screw themselves. They'll soon return to their old ways of savagery and barbarism when the western knowledge and money dries up.

WomanHonorThyself said...

oh but if they so much as pat down a Mussslim they would be terrorized by u know who! sick eh! Have a beautiful rest of the weekend~!:)

Leticia said...

dmarks, you aren't the only one who is forced to fly from Delta. Not your fault. I would pray for them.

Z, you should still post it, people need to be aware of this treachery.

Patrick, I know I will, that's for sure.

MK, I agree wholeheartedly my friend. Spot-on!

Angel, I know, this really stinks! I hope you had a great weekend also.

Teresa said...

We need to boycott Delta and stand up for our religious rights which means wear non-Muslim medals et al. or bring a Bible and refuse to take the medals off or refuse to confiscate the Bible.

dmarks said...

Teresa: This is more of an extremist problem than it is a Muslim problem. There are several different sects of Islam, other than the one that runs Saudi Arabia. You could probably get in a lot of trouble also for being the wrong type of Muslim.