United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: UAL) has begun an internal probe to determine how data on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s Feb. 18 flight from Cancun, Mexico, to Houston was leaked to the media.
What Happened: Cruz has been the subject of criticism after it was discovered he left Texas on Feb. 17 for a trip to Cancun with his daughters while many of his constituents were without power or water due to an unexpectedly harsh winter storm. When news of his Mexican excursion broke, Cruz issued a statement saying that he was only accompanying his daughters to their vacation destination and would be back in Texas the next day.
However, Edward Russell, a reporter with the online travel news site Skift, tweeted that an unnamed source within United informed him that Cruz had “rebooked his flight back to Houston from Cancun for this afternoon at around 6 a.m. today (Thursday). He was originally scheduled to return on Saturday.” Russell acknowledged the leak after another travel industry journalist, Thrifty Traveler editor Kyle Potter, tweeted a photo showing Cruz’s name on the upgrade list for the Feb. 18 afternoon flight from Cancun to Houston.
What Happens Next: United Airlines issued a statement to the online news site Politico saying the leak to Russell was under investigation.
“It’s against United’s policies to share personal information about our customers and we are investigating this incident,” the statement said, adding that no options were “off the table” and the leaker could be terminated.
But tracking the leaker could be a daunting task, as tens of thousands of United employees have access to customer flight data. And sympathy for the leaker was expressed on Twitter by Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.
“Perspective: whoever the ‘leak’ is, she/he/they have over 10k @united colleagues & families in TX who are freezing while their US Senator skips town & then tries to lie about it,” Nelson tweeted. “@tedcruz is not a ‘customer,’ he’s a public servant who has lied too many times. WE’RE ALL THE LEAK.”
Photo courtesy United Airlines.
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