United Airlines is investigating whether one of its employees improperly accessed and leaked confidential passenger data for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), after Cruz was seen flying to Cancun, Mexico, amid a massive weather event in Texas.
Cruz, who made headlines for his turnaround trip, was photographed in an airport Wednesday. After apparently realizing the difficult optics associated with such a public trip, Cruz released a statement suggesting he was doing a quick turnaround and would return to Houston Thursday.
A United Airlines employee, though, accessed Cruz’s data and discovered that the Texas Senator had switched his flight, rebooking for Thursday from a Saturday return, in stark contrast to the Senator’s public statement. The employee then, it seems, revealed the discrepancy to a reporter.
“Spoke to a source at United Airlines, Senator Ted Cruz rebooked his flight back to Houston from Cancun for this afternoon at around 6 a.m. today (Thursday). He was originally scheduled to return on Saturday,” airlines reporter Edward Russell noted on Twitter.
That information is supposed to be confidential according to United Airlines company policy, and it is against company policy to leak it or make it public in any way.
Now, United Airlines wants to know if one of their employees is responsible.
“United Airlines has begun investigating who leaked Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s flight information for his return trip from Cancun, Mexico to Texas earlier this week,” Newsweek noted Friday.
“United Airlines told Newsweek on Friday that ‘It’s against United’s policies to share personal information about our customers and we are investigating this incident,’” the outlet noted.
Cruz has faced steep criticism for the trip, despite being a federal legislator with little to contribute to a statewide effort to restore power and water in Texas following an unprecedented winter storm that plunged the state into below-freezing temperatures and blanketed it under snow and ice.
Cruz returned from his trip late Thursday, but reporters still dogged the senator and his family, taking photos of his dog, Snowflake, at his home — the dog was being cared for by a security guard — and releasing text messages from his wife, Heidi’s, group chat with friends, revealing the family’s plans to spend the weekend in Mexico rather than in their home.
Late Saturday, reporters and photographers met Cruz’s wife and family as they returned to Texas, even though they are not in public service.
“When confronted on Thursday by a reporter in the Cancun airport, Cruz said he was returning home to help restore power to Texans cut off by the storms,” Newsweek noted. “He later called the trip ‘a mistake’ and said he decided to come back after witnessing the controversy his trip had caused online.”
“With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them,” Cruz told media upon his return. “My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas.”