Delta executive's children bump first-class passengers

Father pushed policy that tightly restricts such arbitrary moves

Airlines

April 21, 1999|By COX NEWS SERVICE

ATLANTA -- First-class passengers got bumped to coach on a Delta Air Lines flight last month to make room for a top executive's children, according to an account circulated by pilots in a union newsletter and posted on the Internet.

Delta spokesman Tom Slocum conceded that "several mistakes" were made in the way Delta employees handled the children of Chief Financial Officer Warren Jenson on a March 4 Atlanta-Denver flight.

But Slocum said Jenson was not present and had no direct involvement, adding that the youths also were blameless. "If he were there, this never would have happened," he said.

Slocum said Jenson, who joined Delta last year from NBC, reimbursed the airline more than $1,000 for the cost of vouchers given to the bumped passengers.

The article said Jenson's secretary brought three of his children and one of their friends to the gate for Flight 969 as it was about to depart. First class was full, but there were open seats in coach. The secretary had an agent move first-class passengers to coach so the youths could sit up front.

"The flight attendants and pilots were incensed," the unsigned article said. "They had been ready for an on-time departure and now members of a senior manager's family were causing a delay and inconveniencing passengers."

The flight left 24 minutes late.

The article said the Jenson children flew free, and a friend, who had a discount coach ticket, got a free first-class upgrade. That violates a policy championed by Jenson in which agents cannot waive ticketing rules in most cases, the article said.

Slocum declined to provide additional details.

Pub Date: 4/21/99

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