Delta CEO Reflects on Revoking NRA Discount One Year After Parkland Shooting

Feb 17, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Almost a year ago to the day, Delta Air Lines made headlines after a controversial decision to cut ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA), whose members received discounts on group travel. The decision to cut ties came in the wake of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in the deaths of 17 students and faculty.

Many viewed Delta’s decision to cut ties with the NRA as a political statement. Delta refuted the claim. In a recent interview with LinkedIn’s Daniel Roth, posted nine days prior to the anniversary of Delta’s decision to end the NRA discount, Delta CEO Ed Bastian opened up about the decision and the events that followed the controversial decision.

ed bastian
Delta CEO Ed Bastian (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

“We can’t be seen as being advocates in any way.”  — Delta CEO Ed Bastian

In the interview, Bastian referenced the fact that in the wake of the shooting, the NRA engaged in “divisive commentary.” Bastian said he did not want Delta to be seen as an advocate of the NRA and the NRA’s response to the shooting. He recalled discussing the matter with fellow colleagues, saying, “We just can’t be doing this. This just is not who we are.”

When asked by Roth about Delta’s decision, Bastian did not hesitate to explain why he and other individuals at Delta acted to end the discount. “We can’t be seen as being advocates in any way,” Bastian explained in the interview. While many saw Bastian’s decision as a stance on the gun control debate, Bastian reaffirmed that the decision was not political. “We weren’t anti-NRA,” he added.

Shortly after Delta announced that it was cutting ties with the NRA, Georgia ended a major tax exemption for Delta Air Lines, an exemption that would cost the airline $40 million in taxes. Bastian didn’t seem too fazed by that number, noting that Delta as a brand “is worth so much more.” He continued to say that the company’s “values are not for sale.”

Bastian also noted that he was well aware of the risks involved in the decision to cut ties with the NRA, and said of the decision that it “wasn’t easy” but ultimately, “it was a quick one.” While some pro-NRA flyers claimed they would boycott the airline, Bastian confirmed that the negative press and tax changes were only temporary. Georgia eventually reinstated the tax exemptions.

When asked whether or not he would have changed anything if he were to make the decision again Bastian responded saying, “There’s learnings in everything we do but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

A Delta A321 (foreground) and MD-88 taking off from Atlanta airport (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)
A Delta A321 (foreground) and MD-88 taking off from Atlanta airport (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)

The entire interview with LinkedIn’s Daniel Roth can be seen on Roth’s LinkedIn post as part of LinkedIn’s #ConversationsWith series.

Featured image via LinkedIn

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.