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Posted: March 02, 2018

In wake of NRA flap, Delta reviewing all group discounts of a ‘politically divisive nature’

FILE PHOTO: A Delta airlines plane is seen on the tarmac of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: A Delta airlines plane is seen on the tarmac of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

By Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In the wake of the controversy over Delta Air Lines’ end of an NRA discount for travel to the group’s convention, the Atlanta-based airline said it is reviewing all discounts “of a politically divisive nature.”

“While Delta’s intent was to remain neutral, some elected officials in Georgia tied our decision to a pending jet fuel tax exemption, threatening to eliminate it unless we reversed course,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a Friday memo to employees obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale. We are in the process of a review to end group discounts for any group of a politically divisive nature.”

A Delta spokesman said only 13 tickets were sold under the group travel discount for the National Rifle Association.

>> Read more trending news 

“Our people and our customers have a wide range of views on how to increase safety in our schools and public places, and we are not taking sides. Our objective in removing any implied affiliation with the NRA was to remove Delta from this debate,” Bastian wrote in the statement. He added that many employees have gotten questions from customers, and that he knows it is “not comfortable to be caught in a highly emotional debate.”

Read the full memo from Delta’s CEO here:

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Related

Georgia Lt. Gov. threatens Delta after NRA decision

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Georgia Lt. Gov. threatens Delta after NRA decision

Delta's decision to cut marketing ties with the National Rifle Association has prompted some Georgia Republican lawmakers to question whether the Atlanta-based airline should get a tax cut on jet fuel.

>> Read more trending news

At least three GOP candidates for governor recently condemned Delta for joining more than a dozen U.S. corporations that have ended partnerships with the NRA after a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

>>More: Delta latest company ending discounts, benefits for NRA members

Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle took to Twitter Monday to voice his displeasure with Delta’s decision. 

“Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” Cagle said.

The news comes as Delta appeared close to convincing lawmakers to restore a lucrative sales tax exemption on jet fuel.

That proposal is part of Gov. Nathan Deal's larger tax overhaul, which has passed the House and awaits Senate input.

Delta said in a news release that the company's decision "merely confirmed its neutral status" in the national debate over guns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Delta latest company ending discounts, benefits for NRA members

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Delta latest company ending discounts, benefits for NRA members

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines announced Saturday it is ending a discount for National Rifle Association members.

>> Read more trending news

The move comes as some other businesses broke ties with the NRA amid debate over gun control in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida earlier this month.

“Delta’s decision reflects the airline’s neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings,” airline officials said Sunday in a statement. “Out of respect for our customers and employees on both sides, Delta has taken this action to refrain from entering this debate and focus on its business. Delta continues to support the 2nd Amendment.”

>> 3 car rental companies cancel discounts for NRA members 

The move comes as some other businesses break ties with the NRA amid debate over gun control in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida earlier this month.

Following is a list of some of the companies that have cut ties or distanced themselves from the NRA:

  • United Airlines -- United tweeted Saturday, "United is notifying the NRA that we will no longer offer a discounted rate to their annual meeting and we are asking that the NRA remove our information from their website." 

  • Delta Air Lines -- Delta issued the following statement Saturday: "Delta is reaching out to the National Rifle Association to let it know we will be ending its contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from its website." 

  • First National Bank of Omaha -- The bank announced that it would not renew a co-branded Visa credit-card with the NRA.

  • The Hertz Corp. -- The rental car company ended its discount program for NRA members.

  • MetLife Inc. -- The insurer terminated discounts that had been offered to NRA members on the NRA website

  • Enterprise Holdings Inc. -- The car rental company that also owns Alamo and National cut off discounts for NRA members.

  • Symantec Corp. -- The software company that makes Norton Antivirus technology ended its discount program with the NRA.

  • Chubb Ltd. -- The insurer announced it was ending participation in the NRA's gun-owner insurance program, though it provided notice three months ago.

  • Best Western -- The hotel chain told multiple social media users that it was no longer affiliated with the NRA, though it did not say when that decision was made.

  • Wyndham Hotels -- The hotel chain told social media users it is no longer affiliated with the NRA without specifying when that decision was made.

  • Starkey Hearing Technologies -- We have made the decision not to renew our discount program with the NRA. We will be asking them to remove our information from their website.

The NRA has released the following statement: 

"The more than five million law-abiding members of the National Rifle Association have enjoyed discounts and cost-saving programs from many American corporations that have partnered with the NRA to expand member benefits.

"Since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, a number of companies have decided to sever their relationship with the NRA, in an effort to punish our members who are doctors, farmers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, nurses, shop owners and school teachers that live in every American community. We are men and women who represent every American ethnic group, every one of the world’s religions and every form of political commitment.

"The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement.

"Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.

"Let it be absolutely clear. The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world."

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