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Because they Can - 7 Reasons Your Executive Flies Private:


By Martin Chatsworth, EJCS

Want to be an executive? The life sure looks good from the outside. Nearly everything you do at work goes on an expense account, so you can spend your extra millions in salary, bonus, and stock options on the trophy wife and 2nd Malibu home. Sure, you work an 80 hour week, but every meal is a meeting, and there are plenty of fancy restaurants to choose from.

And when you fly? Forget about it! If you're an executive, you've got your own little jet that'll take you anywhere while those pikers in "first class� have to sit there sipping watered down gin and tonics while the poor people parade to their assigned slots.

Not so fast, say the executives. First of all, if your shareholders are voting correctly, the expense is in line with the value. The hero of most executives is Jack Welch, the GE CEO who added $396 Billion in value to his company. If he were a salesman on a 7% commission, then $27.7 billion dollars should go to him. And should he have flown commercial? Probably not. When the hourly wage of an executive is figured (even at 80 hours per week) vs. the value of the exec�s time to the company, a privately chartered aircraft is a real bargain. Consider some of the flight delays you�ve experienced, and ask yourself if a corporate executive (paid by you if you happen to own stock or a 401K) is spending his/her time wisely by hanging out in an airport.

That being said, here are some of the top reasons given to us why our executives prefer to take chartered flights.

1. No fleet to maintain. Some companies still maintain their own planes and jets, and if your name is a brand (think Trump) then you have an advantage to keeping your own flying stock. Then again, you have to feed 2 pilots, a maintenance crew, and rent a hangar that only gets used when you�re going somewhere.

2. Secrecy. As the song says �It�s a small world� and even the least known CEO is recognizable to quite a few people, most of whom find themselves at airports. If someone sees the CEO of Conglomerated Widgets flying to the home base of Associated Gizmos, then there are going to be rumors, stock prices will change, and the merger could either fall through or get more expensive.

3. Time. A recently purchased company has to get in shape fast, and we have seen entire management teams sent to new locations on less than a day�s notice. Try scheduling that over the phone with an airline.

4. Reward. Yes, there is a big element of snobbery here, but if your company has the best executive for the job, and your stock isn�t tanking, then you�d better make sure that the competition doesn�t snatch up that executive with better perks.
5. Control. Here�s one nobody likes to admit, but I�ve seen it happen in person more than once. You show up at work, and the CEO from the home office on the opposite coast is already waiting outside the office. He�s got questions. You�d better have the right answers, or another private flight is going to be ferrying your replacement to sit in your chair before the end of the day.

6. Schmoozing Potential Customers. If you�re selling a system or service worth millions to billions of dollars, the cost of a luxury flight charter to a special resort for the meeting (or to headquarters for a demo) is basically a marketing expense. Even though most companies have rules against gifts, most of us have seen those rules bent out of shape until they look like pretzels.

7. Schmoozing Politicians. Most politicians who have been in office for more than 6 years have had the joy of flying back home on a corporate jet. As the New York Times pointed out, even John McCain, who goes out of his way to avoid the appearance of impropriety, did not have a problem flying with Telecom clients until someone pointed out that it looked bad. Given the amenities inside most private aircraft available for charter, we�re sure he hated every minute of it.

All in all, executives fly because they can. If you�re jealous, you can either change your shareholder vote, buy some stock so you can vote, or become an executive yourself. After all, if you want to change the rules and live with the same inconveniences as your managers and lower rung salespeople, you can always lead by example, and let all of your executive counterparts enjoy their own private pieces of the sky.

Martin Chatsworth can be contacted at executivejetcharter@gmail.com



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