United vs. Southwest Deathcage Match: Your Campaign Donations Scorecard

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One side of the story.
Houston City Council is currently in an uproar over Mayor Annise Parker's tentative proposal to allow Southwest to have international flights out of Hobby Airport.

Councilmembers have said the proposal is rushed and would harm United Airlines, which, of course, merged with Continental and flies internationally out of Bush Intercontinental.

An innocent outsider might argue that the more the merrier, and Southwest has surely shown it knows how to offer low fares. But the councilmembers say customs officials will be taxed to the limit and beyond serving two airports, and Southwest's proposal would cost jobs (somehow).

Anyway, the debate is currently raging, and -- especially after a committee meeting earlier this week -- council seems to be leaning heavily in favor of United.

Just for grins, we had our Blake Whitaker look up campaign contributions for current councilmembers.

Going back to 2009, there's no record of Southwest giving anything. Nor United. But Continental, which has become one with United? Oh yeah.

There are two Continental-related PACs that have donated to council campaigns: the Continental Airlines Employee Fund For A Better America, and the totally different Continental Airlines Employee Fund For A Better Government.

Only four of the current 16 councilmembers received nothing from either PAC: Helena Brown, Andrew Burks, Jack Christie and Jerry Davis.

Al Hoang got $3,000.

Those who have received $2,000 total over that time period:
Wanda Adams
C.O. Bradford
Stephen Costello
Ed Gonzalez
Oliver Pennington
Mike Sullivan
James Rodriguez

And $1,000:
Ellen Cohen
Larry Green
Melissa Noriega
Michael Laster

Mayor Parker, by the way, got the maximum PAC donation of $10,000 from Continental in both 2009 and 2011.

These aren't huge numbers in terms of overall campaign budgets, of course, but when it comes to council, four digits is four digits.


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7 comments
Tony
Tony

Competition is good.  In order to fly to CZM or GCM from PHX, you have to use Continental/United at IAH.  It sucks unless you want to fly all the way across the USA to CLT and then down on US Airways.  Sorry but I don't want to waste 2 days of my of my vacation going across the USA.  If another airline really wanted to hurt Houston, then US Airways, Cayman Airways, or Aeromexico should look at PHX as a great international hub location.  That would give us direct access without going thru IAH.  :-)  This is some PHX travelers would appreciate.

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Alex5436
Alex5436

Unfortunately, competition between United and SW over international flights will hurt Houston in competing vs Dallas, Atlanta and Miami for intl flights. And while lower Cancun fares would be nice for Houstonians, that needs to be weighed against jobs. I don't know how to weigh it, but it's a lot more complicated than "hey, I want a $200 fare to Cancun!"

Quid Pro Quo Motherfucker
Quid Pro Quo Motherfucker

Fuck United. They merge with Continental and then shut down the headquarters here and keep their Chicago headquarters. Then they move some of their better/newer planes out of Houston and move the older United planes here (at least it seems that way to me). Now they want the city to help them out so they can maintain their competitive advantage on international flights and keep their high prices (without the better service we used to get)? Get real. You've got to show some loyalty to expect it.

Bill
Bill

Ditto to The Murphy.  What jobs will this cost?  How will this impinge on competition?  It's like you strung together some random buzzwords to get everyone in a panic.  Please explain yourself Mr. United Employee.

The Murphy
The Murphy

 Can you explain how it would decrease competitiveness with those cities and hurt job numbers? im curious.

Hill
Hill

United definitely sent old planes here.  Continental from IAH to DAL or DFW used to be serviced by 737s and Embraers.   The last 6  times I have flown to Dallas post merger, the route is now being serviced by shitty turbo prop Bombardier Dash 8s.   Of the 6 flights, 1 has been on time, and 2 got cancelled. 

The only good thing to come of this was 1 of the cancelled flights I was on, I was sitting 1 seat behind Texas State Senator Tommy Williams.  Tommy nearly blew a gasket when they announced it was getting cancelled.  He immediately called his secretary and tried to get patched through to Jeff Smisek.  Jeff's assistant, after getting an ear full, patched him thru to Jeff's voicemail.  Tommy went on to rant loud enough for the front 1/3 of the plane to hear.  It was quite entertaining.  

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