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

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card

This card from Bank of America gets really interesting if you have a BofA checking, savings or investment account. Depending on the value of your combined accounts you can potentially get as much as 3.5x points on travel/dining and 2.625x points on other purchases making it the richest consumer banking bonus out there.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
  • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Low $95 annual fee
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, 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.