How One Man Got United Airlines to Run a Non-Stop Flight to His Summer Home

by Eric

Unless you are one of the lucky few to live in a hub city, connecting flights happen to be one of the challenges of modern day travel. That is, unless you used to be the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


David Samson, 76, recently pleaded guilty to using his political influence to convince United Airlines to accommodate his private wishes for a regularly scheduled, non-stop flight to his South Carolina summer home. The round-trip flight from Newark to Columbia, S.C. operated on Thursday nights only, with a return flight Monday mornings. Of course, these flights were not offered on any other day of the week. During his court hearing, he admitted that he had dined with United Airlines officials in September 2011 and had “let it be known that the flight … made it more convenient” for him to get to his home in South Carolina. It was later acknowledged that the flight was called “the Chairman’s flight” and he took it about 27 times.

It was estimated that running the flight cost United Airlines at least $10,000 a week in lost revenue. The aviation analyst who calculated this value did not even include the cost of putting up the crew on Sunday night so they’d be in place for the flight early Monday morning.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could get a direct flight set up to our second home!

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r hirsch July 18, 2016 - 7:22 pm

was he sentenced or penalized in any way?

Billy Bob July 18, 2016 - 7:38 pm

Yes, he can no longer overly indicate that he slouches off work every single Friday.

Billy Bob July 18, 2016 - 7:38 pm

Or ‘overtly’… which in fact describes it to a T. 🙂

Amy July 19, 2016 - 12:08 pm

United paid a fine of over $2M for former CEO Jeff Smisek’s part in the scheme; $2M+ that could have compensated the Flight Attendants who have been without a combined contract sinc the merger between Continental and United was announced. The many pay for the errs of the few yet again. Meanwhile, JS walked away with some pretty heavy pockets for making one of many bad decisions. Tsk, tsk.

Captain Kirk July 19, 2016 - 12:38 pm

Don’t expect anything less from the Port Authority. It is an organization filled to the brim with dishonest, politically connected scam artists. Huge bloated salaries, huge pensions, and as you can see from this guy, it still wasn’t enough. He didn’t work on Friday, had enough money for a second home, and wanted his own United personal jet on top of it. I hope they throw the book at him.


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