Be Careful Who You Partner With

There is a story going around the internet stating that the partnership between Delta Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines could present a problem for certain Delta travelers.  Saudi Arabian Airlines is expected to join the SkyTeam Alliance that Delta is a part of.

CBN News reported today that there were concerns about whether or not Jewish-Americans would be allowed on Saudi Arabia airlines.  The article reports:

“”Rumors being circulated via the Internet regarding passenger flight restrictions on Saudi Arabian Airlines are completely false,” Saudi Embassy spokesman Nail Al-Jubeir said in statement sent to CBN News Friday.

“”The Government of Saudi Arabia does not deny visas to U.S. citizens based on their religion,” he said.

“Delta issued a statement Friday rejecting the discrimination claims. The airline company said it does not operate in Saudi Arabia nor does it “codeshare” (sell Delta seats on flights operated by other carriers) with airlines that serve that country.”

On Friday, Hot Air posted an article which reported some of the history a Jewish traveler in Saudi Arabia:

“Here’s an interesting series of communications from a few years ago involving a Jewish woman traveling with a group to the Kingdom whose visa was denied, even though everyone else’s was approved. No one knows why, said her travel agent, but “it is likely religion played a significant role.” It’s easier to get away with discrimination when it’s informal and ad hoc than when it’s codified in some formal policy, so yeah, needless to say, don’t expect the Saudis ever to admit that Jews sometimes are held to a different standard when applying for entry.”

This is a story that needs to be watched and the airlines held to their word that there will not be discrimination against any passengers on their flights or the flights of any other members of the SkyTeam Alliance.

The article at Hot Air also points out:

“I regret singling out Delta yesterday, although I noted (twice) that United and presumably many other airlines also serve the Kingdom. This isn’t a “Delta problem,” it’s a western-world problem shared by Delta insofar as we happily do business with the Saudis despite some truly nasty informal — and formal — discriminatory policies. (Try getting a church or synagogue built there.)”

I understand that businessmen need to make money and that overseas markets and expansion are important, but I truly think we need to take a good look at who we do business with.  Energy dependence has cost us much more than dollars, and our relationship with Saudi Arabia is one example of that.