This is among the most exposed of truths I will tell you yet on this blog. I value a certain level of anonymity, but I believe it is a very important truth to tell you, and I tell you this in an open letter to Delta Airlines. This post reflects my personal views and experience and may not reflect the stance of the organization that I identify in this blog.
To Whom it May Concern at Delta Airlines,
My husband is an active duty military soldier. I am a military spouse. During a recent layover on Thanksgiving day we attempted to enter your Delta Sky Miles Club as we know that Delta has a policy of allowing active duty soldiers to relax in your club between flights. The club was quiet and we were excited to be able to spend a few hours together. We are both employed full-time, additionally I am a full-time graduate student, and my husband had only recently returned from a mission. Our lives have been very busy lately, and we have been able to see each other very little. We walked in excited for a beer and a few uninterrupted hours together during our layover. Though I had and showed my military issued dependent card and had entered the club with my husband, we were denied access due to the fact I am not active duty. According to your attendant, I am not military and do not sacrifice. He was polite and offered to allow my husband in, but denied me entry. It is my understanding this is your policy.
Originally I left, embarrassed by the incident but when I returned, about a half hour later during my layover to kindly speak with a supervisor about the policy, the counter clerks were very rude and would not allow me to speak with a supervisor. They told me to find someone in a red vest, the person in the red vest told me to talk to a supervisor, and ultimately no-one was able to offer me a sure answer on where I can go to address the policy. I addressed this issue online, but received no response.
I think it is really important that we address the distinction your employee made that day in my sacrifice, and that of my husband’s during that incident, based on a policy that your company enforces. I recognize the difference in the sacrifice of my husband, and the sacrifice I make. My husband is a soldier, the one who suits up, puts his body to work, and can ultimately give his life. Though I am not a soldier and will not give my life, I will, during our time jointly serving this country, give many other things. I may not ‘be military’ by the standard perception, though I disagree with that assertion wholeheartedly, but I do serve and sacrifice for this county. I, alongside my husband, live all over the world, far away from my family, far away from my friends, far away from the familiarity of home and any level of stability. I have, and will continue to sacrifice access to good employment opportunities. While my husband advances in his career, mine has proven to continue to move laterally, as many companies do not want to employ transient people, despite my abilities, education, or people skills. The military does not have jobs that utilize my skillset so I cannot gain stable employment through the government, and civilian employers do not want to hire people that will be guaranteed to move.
Heaven forbid my husband make the ultimate sacrifice and give his life, a low level fear I have had to deal with every day since his commissioning, I will be left the collateral damage with little to no support system and the task of picking up my life from scratch, starting all over again alone, while simultaneously having my sacrifice ignored. With the exception to possibly dying and serving overseas, him and I make the same sacrifice; but anyone who truly loves, knows that a loved one dying means part of you dies too. We both carry our own types of fears, our own types of mental and emotional baggage, our own types of stories based on this life…and Delta team, this incident has become part of mine. When he deploys, I too am far away from both my spouse and family. My husband defends freedom, but we both sacrifice our lives for it. I too serve the military, as an essential component of support. I too dedicate my life to the protection of freedom, knowingly, willingly, and intentionally. Our soldiers cannot do what they do without a strong body of families who support them and make what they do possible. We serve the home front while they serve on foreign soil. These are just a few ways, among the many, in which I sacrifice.
Active duty military and spouses represent less than 1% of the United States population collaboratively, but because your company fails to recognize our collaborative sacrifice, a sacrifice that allows your company to operate in this country safely, we were not allowed to sit. This incident represented an egregious lack of cultural competence or awareness within the fibers of your corporation.
Because I take few things sitting down, lack of employment opportunities included, I started an event planning business nearly three years ago. Surprisingly, and contrary to so many statistics, I was able to turn a profit each year that my small business has been open. My business has taken me from coast to coast in the United States, and in the multiple trips I made, I flew almost exclusively Delta Airlines.
Due to the fact your company has a policy that blatantly disregards the sacrifice of military spouses and the joint efforts of military couples who sacrifice for this country, and exclude us from the same services our spouses receive, I will no longer be flying with Delta. It is my military dependent status and drive alone that led me to open the small business that I still own and operate, a small business that brought you a frequent flyer.
So to whom it may concern on the Delta team, I encourage you to consider this – you are a company that is deeply vested in the business of business, the business of adventure, the business of both possibilities and impossibilities, and the business of love. These are and will remain of core importance to the human race. You get people to their loved ones, you make adventure possible, you help to connect us as a world. Forget not the people who sacrifice and protect what it is that you make possible.
Love and Light,