Delta Airlines Discovers the Depths of Islamophobic Fear Mongering

Delta Airlines Discovers the Depths of Islamophobic Fear Mongering

by Sheila Musaji

The past few days there have been all sorts of alarmist articles on Islamophobic sites about a new Delta/Saudi Air “sky team” partnership. 

We expect headlines like Delta Airlines adopts Saudi “no-Jew” fly policy from Pamela Geller in an article she opens with If Delta airlines can adopt the “no Jews” policy of a Muslim country like Saudi Arabia, would it not be fitting and in the spirit of reciprocity and mutual respect to adopt a “no Muslims” policy on certain airlines? Lord knows travel would be so much easier and enjoyable again, and cheaper (with security costs dramatically cut). You certainly would have no need for the TSA. 

Geller also posted Delta Sharia Airline which opened with While Delta Airlines obfuscates and dancing around the truth, they have really perfected the art of taqiya, their website tells the story. Go to Delta Airlines website and look at the information listed there.  Delta doesn’t just work with Saudi Airlines, they post their info on the Delta website.    Not only are Jews not welcome, but women are told to cover their arms and to to wear heavy clothing among other sharia compliant rules. Further Muslim women are restricted from travel without a husband or immediate member of the family.

We also expect this sort of paranoia from Robert Spencer who posted an article Delta Airlines adds Saudi airline to partner companies, will uphold “No Jew” policy on flights to kingdom which he opened with No right of return to occupied Yathrib. Not even if you work for the airline. Of course, this is the price of doing business in Saudi Arabia, whom petro-blackmail allows to function as one of the most backward and depraved closed societies on the planet. Delta, as one of the world’s largest airlines since it took over Northwest and head of the SkyTeam Alliance that Saudi Arabian Airlines is joining, has passed up a golden opportunity to insist on a higher standard of ethics and service than the Saudi airline is willing to uphold.  Spencer was concerned about Delta last year for allowing a Muslim woman wearing hijab to work at a gate at Reagan National Airport.

But, two Huffington Post articles U.S. Jews Not Able To Fly On Delta Flights To Saudi Arabia by Michele Chabin and Delta Adopts Saudi Arabian Airlines’ No Jew Policy by Rabbi Jason Miller were truly a disappointment.  Rabbi Miller claimed that That fact makes it especially troubling to learn that Delta will add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance of partnering companies and would require Delta to ban Jews and holders of Israeli passports from boarding flights to Saudi Arabia.

USA Today also posted an article which it subsequently removed.  MSNBC reports that USA Today pulled its original article, citing “incomplete information,“and now directs readers to a new post with the headline “Airline to Jewish rumor: ‘Delta does not discriminate.’ “ 

By the time they pulled their article, the damage had already been done.  The original USA Today story drew the attention of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, who cited it in a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration. “I am deeply concerned by the June 23, 2011, report in USA Today entitled ‘US Jews may not be able to fly on Delta flights to Saudi Arabia’,” Kirk wrote. “According the report, Delta Air Lines may have entered into an agreement with Saudi Arabia that prohibits Americans of the Jewish faith from flying solely on the basis of their religion.”  This is the same Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois who had previously said “[I’m] okay with discrimination against young Arab males from terrorist-producing states.”   He joins the much too lengthy list of U.S. elected representatives who don’t question or actively join in Islamophobia.

Delta posted a response to the allegations on their blog which included this:

“That said, some have raised questions about whether Saudi Arabian Airlines’ membership in SkyTeam means Delta is adopting any type of policies that could present barriers to travel for some passengers, including Jewish customers. For this particular concern, it’s important to realize that visa requirements to enter any country are dictated by that nation’s government, not the airlines, and they apply to anyone entering the country regardless of whether it’s by plane, bus or train.

We, like all international airlines, are required to comply with all applicable laws governing entry into every country we serve. You as passengers are responsible for obtaining the necessary travel documents, such as visas and certification of required vaccinations, and we’re responsible for making sure that you have the proper documentation before you board.”

Another article reports that the Delta spokesman also said “Delta’s only agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines is a standard industry interline agreement, which allows passengers to book tickets on multiple carriers, similar to the standard interline agreements American Airlines, US Airways and Alaska Airlines have with Saudi Arabian Airlines.  Delta does not intend to code-share or share reciprocal benefits, such as frequent flier benefits, with Saudi Arabian Airlines, which we have confirmed with SkyTeam.”

After Delta made this statement, “Marisol” at Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch site posted another article calling this a “scramble for damage control” and saying They say they have to respect local laws in any country they fly into. Exactly how many of those discriminate against Israelis and “Jewish-sounding” names?

Actually, in order to board a flight to any country that requires a visa, there is no airline that will let you board without an entry visa.  The airline has nothing at all to do with the visa requirements of any country.  All the airline does is check that you have the proper visa if it is required. 

Here is a list of airlines that fly to Saudi Arabia which includes Air France, Air India, British Airways, Lufthansa, etc.  And, here is a list of airlines that have a code-share with Saudi Arabia including United Airlines.  So, why is there so much uproar over Delta, and no comment at all about United Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways and Alaska Airlines, etc.?

The Wall Street Journal points out that Delta is entering into a partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines through its SkyTeam Alliance, beginning next year. Delta planes don’t actually fly there, but Delta customers will be riding on Saudi Arabian through an interline agreement. (They already do that today through a standard interline agreement.) Delta says it won’t code-share with Saudi Arabian — place its flight code on Saudi flights–  and won’t offer reciprical frequent flier benefits. Like any airline, Delta can’t board Saudi-bound passengers without a visa.    It would be the same on Lufthansa or British Airways or Air France flights to Riyadh, or for that matter on their U.S. code-sharing partners–United, US Airways or American. Without a visa, American won’t board you for a flight to London if your ticket connects you to Saudi Arabia. In terms of airline policy, there’s nothing new.

A blog for frequent flyers Flying with Fish points out that First off … Yes, Delta Air Lines is a founding member of SkyTeam, as are Air France-KLM and Korean Air.  Delta is not adding Saudi Arabian Airlines to the airline alliance, the airline was voted in my its member carriers. SkyTeam is comprised of 14 airlines, 12 airlines, from four continents, were members at the time Saudi Arabian Airlines was voted into the alliance.  While Delta Air Lines supported Saudia’s membership, it did so to gain a foothold in a vital untapped market … in short, its business.  This article discusses the issues raised in depth, and also includes this Fourth … and most importantly … Saudi Arabia does issue visas to Jews. While the country previously rejected many visa applications based on a person being Jewish, this is no longer the case.  Travelers who have Israeli stamps in their passport should seek a duplicate passport, and submit the duplicate passport, with no Israeli stamps, for entry into Saudi Arabia, regardless of their religion.    As for Israeli passports, as a general rule (with very limited exceptions), a visa granting entry into, or transiting through, Saudi Arabia will not be allowed.  In fact, Israeli passports are not accepted by Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Djibouti, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia (with limited exceptions), Pakistan, Qatar (with limited exceptions), Somalia, Sudan, Syria, The United Arab Emirates (with limited exceptions) or Yemen.

Delta has not “adopted a"no Jews” policy”, and “adopting a “no Muslims” policy on certain airlines” would not only not be fitting, it would make no sense at all, since no airline has anything to do with any countries’ visa policy.  If any airline were to adopt a “no Jews” or “no Muslims” or “no anyone” policy, they would be doing something despicable.  No airline has adopted such a policy, and encouraging them to do so is bigoted in the extreme.

Delta doesn’t “ban Jews and holders of Israeli passports from boarding flights to Saudi Arabia” and neither does any other airline.  All airlines, do ask for a valid entry visa from the country you are travelling to.  Delta is not a “Sharia Airline” and posting the requirements for a Saudi visa for the information of passengers has nothing to do with any Delta requirements. 

Delta is not involved in promoting “creeping-Sharia”, or “enforcing Sharia” or any of the other insane and bigoted claims that have been made.

If Saudi Arabia has restrictions as to who may obtain a visa to Saudi Arabia, and if those restrictions exclude some people on the basis of religion, or even on the basis of previous travel to Israel - then your anger should be directed towards Saudi Arabia.