Tag Archives: Port Authority

The Chairman’s Flight

Posted by Mario Damasceno.

In mid-February of 2015, federal prosecutors investigated United Airlines and its close relation with then chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Samson. The investigation arose shortly after Samson’s resignation, resulting from emails released that showed aids to Governor Chris Christie had intentionally organized lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. This is particularly significant because during his time in office, Samson would spend his weekends in Aiken, SC, which was located 50 miles from the Columbia, South Carolina airport, however, United never initially offered that route from its New Jersey hub.

The New Jersey paper known as the Record reported, “Federal aviation records show that during the 19 months United offered the non-stop service, the 50-seat planes that flew the route were, on average, only about half full,” and “was reportedly money-losing,” (The Economist). This, in turn, lead to the route being named, “The Chairman’s Flight.” The route itself “left United Airlines’ Newark hub each Thursday night bound for Columbia, S.C. On Monday mornings, United Express flew back to Newark,” (Bloomberg Business). Furthermore, federal prosecutors argued that, not by coincidence, “United cancelled the flight on April 1st, 2014—just three days after Mr. Samson resigned from the Port Authority” (The Economist).

The entire situation is worth looking into, and in fact, the Port Authority along with United Airlines have been issued subpoenas examining the communication between David Samson and the airline. Mary Schiavo, a former federal prosecutor and Department of Transportation inspector general stated, “If United realized they were offering this flight to curry favor with a public official, then United’s in the soup—it’s a bribe,” (Bloomberg).

Mario is a management major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2019.


Bachman, Justin. “Did United Put a Whole Route in the Sky for One Very Important Passenger?” Bloomberg Business. N.p., 25 Feb. 2015. Web. 27 Oct. 2015. <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-25/did-united-put-a-whole-route-in-the-sky-for-one-very-important-passenger->.

Gulliver. “The Chairman’s Flight.” The Economist. N.p., 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 27 Oct. 2015. <http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2015/02/united-airlines>.

“United Airlines: The Chairman’s Flight.” Reinventing the Company 12 Sept. 2015: n. pag. Web. 27 Oct. 2015. <http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21664209-how-new-jersey-traffic-jam-helped-topple-head-airline-chairmans-flight>.