The United Airlines flight attendant union has come out in support of a staffer who leaked details about Senator Ted Cruz’s travel plans after a highly controversial trip to Cancun, Mexico while millions of Texans endured a power and water crisis. United Airlines said on Friday that it was investigating who leaked the details to the media and that “all options” were on the table to deal with anyone implicated in the leak.
Sen. Cruz jetted off to Cancun on Wednesday in the midst of a severe weather crisis that has left millions of Texas residents in despair. When the media found out that Cruz had travelled south of the border, the Republican senator for Texas initially implied he had only ever intended to go for 24-hours to act as a chaperone for his two daughters.
“Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” Cruz wrote on Thursday as details about his trip to the sun and warmth of Mexico was revealed. “My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” he continued.
But within hours his explanation was blown out of the water after a United Airlines insider revealed that Cruz only booked his return flight to Texas on Thursday morning and after his whereabouts had been unearthed. The source claimed Cruz had originally been booked to return to the U.S. on Saturday.
The leak prompted Cruz to admit that the trip was “obviously a mistake” and that “in hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it.” Cruz said he started getting second thoughts about the trip the moment he stepped on the plane.
“It’s against United’s policies to share personal information about our customers and we are investigating this incident,” the airline said in a statement on Friday. No options are “off the table,” to deal with the leak noted a spokesperson for the airline. Options include dismissal.
Potentially thousands of employees could have had access to data systems that would allow them to look up and share the personal travel details of customers. The use of these data systems is logged and monitored. Analysis of access logs could reveal which employer helped share Cruz’s travel plans.
But on Friday evening, Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) came out in defense of the insider and suggested United should drop the investigation.
“@tedcruz is not a “customer,” he’s a public servant who has lied too many times. WE’RE ALL THE LEAK,” Nelson, who represents around 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines including United, wrote on Twitter.
“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,” the Tweet said.
In a follow-up, Nelson tagged the official United Airlines Twitter account with the same #WeAreAllTheLeak hashtag. The airline did not publicly reply to Nelson’s Tweet.
In order to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rules, Cruz would have needed to of taken a COVID-19 test within 72-hours of his return to the U.S. It’s not clear whether Cruz managed to get a test and result during the short time he was in Mexico or whether he had taken a test that was still valid before leaving Texas.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.