Only 13 people used that Delta NRA discount

A spokesperson for Delta told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that only 13 tickets have been sold under the group travel discount for the NRA. Delta discontinued the NRA's special arrangement February 24 in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Delta announced on Saturday it would no longer give discounts to NRA members travelling to Dallas in May for the organization's annual meeting. That is not the case. But Bastian said the Georgia-based company stands by its decision to cut ties with the NRA despite backlash from state lawmakers, who passed legislation in retaliation Thursday to kill tax exemptions on jet fuel Delta uses.

"We can not continue to allow large companies to treat conservatives differently than other customers, employees and partners", Cagle wrote in an opinion piece published by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale", Bastian said.

The state's Republican-dominated House and Senate both overwhelmingly approved the bill, which removed a sales tax exemption on jet fuel.

Deal has said he intends to sign the bill into law quickly, likely early next week.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal criticized the Delta controversy as an "unbecoming squabble" but said he would sign the broader tax measure in whatever form it passed. "We are called on to listen to all voices and draft policies to benefit Georgia". He said Delta had "tried to interfere in the legislative process".

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Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, a Republican who is running for governor, said companies can't "attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back". United Continental Holdings Inc. made a similar move, while companies including Symantec Corp., Hertz Global Holdings Inc., Avis Budget Group Inc. and MetLife Inc. also ended relationships with the gun-rights group.

Deal and House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, raised concerns that the national political flame-fanning by some lawmakers didn't help Georgia's image, particularly at a time when it is courting Amazon, hoping to become home to the tech giant's second headquarters.

Democrats in Georgia sided with Delta in the battle and said the decision to end the exemption shows the GOP cares more about playing to their base than helping the state's economy.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, sent Delta CEO Ed Bastian a letter Wednesday, praising him for his "courage standing up to" the NRA following the shooting that left 17 people dead.

When it comes to other states courting the airline to fly its business elsewhere, here's what the governor says about one of the states largest job providers: "I think Delta knows better than that".

Others who took similar steps include vehicle rental firms, banks, insurance companies and another major airline, United (American made clear it never offered a discount program).