Travelers question decision to deny Chick-fil-A airport concessions contract

SA City Council voted to remove fast-food restaurant from lineup of eateries

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter, Adam B. Higgins - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Some travelers coming through San Antonio International Airport on Wednesday said that the city shouldn't have denied Chick-fil-A an airport concessions contract.

The San Antonio City Council voted 6-4 on Thursday on an amended concessions contract that removed a Chick-fil-A "concept" from the 10 eateries included in the plans. 

Several people flying out of the airport Wednesday questioned the decision.

"I think anyone that wants to be here to sell food should be able to, to begin with," Kathleen Blanchard said. "It shouldn't be a party thing to begin with."

Tyler Cravy had a similar take on the choice.

"I don't think they should be banned for anything. It's about food, not anything they believe in," he said.

The reasoning for the amendment, according to District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino, who proposed the amendment, was the company's "legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior."

Mayor Ron Nirenberg was one of the other five people on the dais to support the amended contract, although he brought up a different reason when the vote came up in a mayoral debate the next day.

"There are many people in the community that's uncomfortable -- that are uncomfortable with Chick-fil-A. And I would ask you, have you ever tried to buy waffle fries on a Sunday? They're closed. Fifteen percent of sales generated in the airport come on a Sunday," Nirenberg said.

The city gets paid through a portion of airport food vendor sales at the airport. A minimum amount of money is guaranteed, but the city can also collect a cut of sales that come in above that.

Nirenberg's opponent on the stage and in the mayoral race, District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse, was one of the four votes against the amended contract. He also sent a letter to Chick-fil-A on Wednesday apologizing for the decision, which touched on both issues.

Trevino, Nirenberg and Brockhouse are running in the May 4 city election.

KSAT 12 News also spoke with a woman at the airport who said she stays away from Chick-Fil-A because of LGBTQ issues. However, she wasn't applauding the council's decision.

"I won't say it's a horrible decision, just because I don't support the company," Lisa DeCampos said. "But, you know, I don't think other people's stuff should be taken away if that's what they do want to support."
            
But there were also some to whom it just wasn't a big deal whether Chick-fil-A was available at the airport.
   
"I don't care, because there's a Raising Cane's," said Ashley McCloud.

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