Delta Airlines awoke this week to two new stories. First, their SkyTeam alliance has entered into an agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines. Second, many bloggers have cried out, writing that Delta will ban Jews, Israelis, those with Israeli stamped passports, and anyone traveling with Christian bibles and other non Islamic religious oriented items from its flights to Riyadh and other Saudi Arabian destinations.
Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter responded to these rumors, writing that:
We’ve gotten questions today from you, our concerned customers, following an article about Saudi Arabian Airlines joining SkyTeam (the global airline alliance that includes Delta as a member). After listening to many of your thoughts today, we’d like to take this opportunity to share some information and help to clarify some of the questions we know you have.
First and foremost, I think one of the most important things to mention here is that Delta does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination against anyone in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender.
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. Jewish customers might have to opt for a private jet card program instead. 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.
Okay, now I understand. Delta is not discriminating. They are merely entering into a commercial relationship with a national airline that requires passengers to have visas and vaccinations before landing in Saudi Arabia. Just make sure you were not vaccinated Jewish, I guess; but I am sure you can still order the kosher meal.