Amtrak Goes After Delta With Latest Lawsuit

A Delta 737 taking off (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Devin Durant)

In an interesting development, Amtrak has filed a lawsuit demanding Washington D.C.’s Union Station take down advertising that has been placed by Delta Air Lines.

In a statement from Amtrak’s legal filing, the company stated: “The D.C./ New York market is Amtrak’s largest and most important market anchoring the frequently traveled Northeast corridor. Winning Amtrak customers’ business is undoubtedly Delta’s goal.”

In the lawsuits, Amtrak states that Delta competes with the company. They claim that their sublease with Union Station states that advertising by competing transportation services is not allowed without consent from Amtrak.

Delta Air Lines provides service to many destinations throughout the United States and many of these are in the Northeast corridor that is also served by Amtrak. The advertisements Delta has created do not promote any specific destinations, but rather promote D.C. as a city that Delta is dedicated to provide service to.

The lawsuit came just days after Amtrak executives wrote to Union Station on May 5 and May 16 demanding that the ads be taken down. The station refused to comply with Amtrak’s request and responded to the rail company by stating that the ads are not “causing Amtrak irreparable harm.”

Union Station believes that if they comply with this request it will only lead to more absurd prohibition of advertisements for any other type of transportation.

Additionally, this is not the first time that Amtrak has complained about airlines advertising in Union Station. There was a dispute between US Airways and the company after they began promoting hourly shuttle flights between Washington D.C. and New York and Boston.

Competition will always exist between airlines and rail companies, with each offering their own unique advantage. Railroad service providers continue to advertise the friendly atmosphere of trains and the scenic routes, while airlines such as Delta can focus on advertising destinations and the efficiency air travel provides for people.

Mateen Kontoravdis

Mateen Kontoravdis

Mateen has been interested in aviation from a very young age. He got his first model airplane at six and has been airplane spotting since he was nine years old. He has always had a passion for aviation and loves learning about different aspects within the industry. In addition to writing for AirlineGeeks, Mateen is also an editor for his high school’s newspaper. You can also find him on Instagram (@Plane.Photos) where he enjoys sharing his aviation photography with thousands of people everyday.
Mateen Kontoravdis
  • jim

    A government subsidized train company that sues “for-profit” transportation companies that seek to compete on a level-playing field… maybe it’s time for Amtrak to go away. Why should the US taxpayer be on the hook for Amtrak?

    • oorfenegro

      Because rail is the most efficient form of transportation, particularly point to point destinations of 500 miles or less, which is within the distance between Atlanta-New Orleans, Los Angeles-San Francisco, Dallas-Houston, St Louis-Chicago, Cleveland-Cincinnati and New York-Washington. One 10 car Amtrak train carries a thousand people, as opposed to the roughly 150 passenger capacity of the average airliner.
      Point to point trains are not subject to delays related to weather in other parts of the country. If the weather is good in the northeast or California, trains running between New York and Washington or SF and LA are not going to be delayed by bad weather in Chicago, Atlanta or Texas that are keeping planes going to the northeast or the west coast on the ground.
      The nation should not have only one form of transportation in that when issues prevent the airlines from operating on time, as is often the case on the northeast corridor, there should be other option. Given the choice, most people are choosing the Acela over the airlines in that the Acela usually beats the plane between DC and NY when there are no delays at LaGuaridia, which has more delays than just about any other airport.

      • jim

        My point was… Treat commercial trucking, airlines and rail the same. I don’t care if it is subsidizing the operations side or the infrastructure side just treat all types of transportation the same. I am a fan of rail actually, but they should be treated equally.

  • Hiawatha Pete

    Road/air subsidies: huge, growing & safe; Amtrak’s are small, shrinking & attacked:

    http://allaboardohio.org/2012/09/21/road-air-subsidies-huge-growing-safe-amtraks-are-small-shrinking-attacked/

  • jim

    Road and air subsidies?…they’re not subsidies. These taxes pay for infrastructure whether or not any commercial company uses them. Time to end Amtrak subsidies for operations, tax money should only be used for infrastructure. If a Rail company can’t make a profit than it should disappear. Amtrak would NOT exist without taxpayer money. Not so for commercial trucking or the airline industry.

    Furthermore, except for a small percentage of the US population, Amtrak is inconvenient (i.e. is doesn’t go to or from anywhere near most of America).

    • oorfenegro

      OK then, since airlines are private businesses they need to wholly own and operate their own airports, control towers and air traffic control networks that are all government funded, as are the government agencies that registers and inspects commercial aircraft and issues licenses for airline mechanics and pilots.
      No rail operation in the world, with the exception of a few boutique lines are funded solely by ticket sales; many nations provide 100 percent funding for rail.
      Amtrak doesn’t go to more places because of budget cuts including zero funding increases during the Bush years
      Finally airline consolidation is eliminating or sharply reducing service, but increasing fares to smaller cities that once had air service and people living in these smaller cities have to drive or take Amtrak for the 2-3 hour trip to Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco and other airports whee the airlines are concentrating flights.

      • jim

        My point was… Treat commercial trucking, airlines and rail the same. I don’t care if it is subsidizing the operations side or the infrastructure side just treat all types of transportation the same. I am a fan of rail actually, but they should be treated equally.

  • BernieFlatters

    It seems that Union Station is really the one they should be suing.