Here’s an interesting story from Bloomberg about how a once weekly United flight between Newark and Columbia may have been operated exclusively for the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
For 18 months, a 50-seat regional jet left United Airlines’ Newark hub each Thursday night bound for Columbia, S.C. On Monday mornings, United Express flew back to Newark.
Federal prosecutors want to know if United offered the flight because David Samson, then chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, spent weekends in Aiken, S.C., about 50 miles from the Columbia airport. The Port Authority and United have received subpoenas from U.S. investigators examining Samson’s travel and his communications with United, The Record newspaper in New Jersey reported earlier this month. Samson referred to the Columbia route as the “chairman’s flight,” the newspaper reported, citing a source it did not identify.
United ended the flight on April 1, 2014, three days after Samson resigned from the agency amid the political turmoil that followed the release of e-mails showing that aides to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Port Authority officials had orchestrated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013, snarling traffic for several days in Fort Lee, N.J.
This would be the first time a flight operated by a 50 seat regional jet with no first class would be considered a “prize.” 😉
It’ll be interesting to see what the investigation finds.
Anyone have an opinion — was the flight operated for the Chairman of the Port Authority, or was it a coincidence?