Thanks to you, the fee-paying traveler, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board members will soon be flying the friendly skies again.
The change of heart comes four years after the MWAA board was grounded by an ethics scandal involving its travel expenses. But, as my colleague Lori Aratani reported this week, a new directive is encouraging board members to get back out there and attend some conferences to “further enhance access to information on industry norms, trends and developments.”
Sure, there’s this thing called the World Wide Web, but what better way to grasp the intricacies of air travel than buying a last-minute, $9,000 business-class ticket to Prague? Or blowing $4,800 on lobster and other delicacies in Hawaii.
Oh, sorry — that’s what triggered a federal inspector general to write a scathing report about MWAA’s globe-trotting expenses in 2012. But that’s not going to happen again. That’s because, you know, the board is now encouraging travel within “reasonable boundaries,” as board chairman William “Shaw” McDermott told The Washington Post.
You, the fee-paying traveler, should be glad about these information-seeking board members and their new boundaries, because MWAA — which oversees Reagan National and Dulles International airports — draws most of its revenue from the airlines who pay rent and landing fees there, and the airlines draw their revenue from you, the fee-paying traveler.
Furthermore, in another step designed to protect everyone here, MWAA has asked these highflying board members to consult with MWAA’s Media Relations staff before making any public statements about their conference travel or professional association membership fees or a weekend in Prague or lobster.
(Just googling around, by the way, we accessed some information about what elitetraveler.com hailed as the 12 most amazing fine dining dishes. MWAA board members might want to note that one of them is chef Raymond Blanc’s “Lobster with red pepper and cardamom jus” at Le Manor aux Quat’ Saisons. It’s in England. Book now.)
This new directive on MWAA board members’ travel also couldn’t have come at a better time, what with all the proletarian unrest at the nation’s airports these days. For months now, baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, and skycaps have been making noise about their pay and working conditions. No wonder the MWAA board needs a getaway.
Just this week, when some of those MWAA board members might have been planning to access some information at a conference at a tropical resort somewhere, dozens of workers at Reagan National and Dulles International airports staged a one-day walkout. Imagine the nerve of these people, some of whom already get paid $3.77 an hour — and that’s not including tips. They want MWAA to require all contractors doing business at the airports to pay their employees $15 an hour.
What that would do to the price of lobster?
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