In Defense Of Corporate Aircraft

This may be one of the most unpopular posts I’ll ever put up but so what. Here goes.

Felix Salmon, whom I admire greatly, has a snarky post up tonight on Portfolio.com about private jets and the executives who fly them. You’ll have to click his links to see the sarcasm he’s bringing to the subject but it’s there.

I spent the better part of my first twenty years in business on airplanes. At one point in time, I lived on the West Coast and was responsible for business in the Northeast. The job required about three of four weeks a month on the East Coast. It was simply a brutal existence primarily because most of the travel time was spent on commercial aircraft.

You can’t imagine the toll that constant travel across several time zones takes on your body unless you’ve been there. Throw in some international travel or a week of bouncing from city to city and it rises to the level of torture. Eventually, I rose to a level that allowed me to travel on private aircraft. It didn’t make it all that much easier but at least I didn’t have to spend an entire weekend recovering so I could start the slog all over again the next week.

Forget the arguments about security for senior executives. That’s B.S. Name me one terrorist that wants to waste his time trying to do in the head of Goldman or Google. But don’t for a minute think that the use of a corporate jet is simply a way of pampering these guys. It’s perfectly defensible just from the standpoint of trying to keep your senior executives functional.

The next time you’re tempted to say these guys should fly like the rest of us ask yourself if you really want their lifestyle. Do you want to get up at three in the morning so you can fly cross country for a two hour meeting, climb back in the jet and come back across the country again hoping you can get to your office by late afternoon for a meeting that will take you until eight or nine at night? And then you get to rise early again just to do it all over.

Live the life before you get too snarky.

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