August 5, 2006

Flying Private: Think Of The Children

GulfstreamIV.jpgMock me if you must, but there was a time when I swore I wasn't going to have kids until I could stop flying commercial. Turns out the IPO gods had a different sequence of events in store for me [and then they got their butts kicked by the hedge fund gods and so have fewer planes to hand out. So why have I kept stoking the giant pyre out back with a constant supply of PowerPoint presentations and S-1's all these years? Crisis of faith! I'll get back to that. Anyway...]

But reading through Guy Trebay's heartwarming Times article about the mainstreaming of private jet travel, I realize I had it all backwards. I was thinking too much like producer Gavin Polone, who went private after a serious bummer of a JFK-LAX flight: “I was in first class and there was a woman in business with a baby that screamed for five hours. And that did it...For me what’s important is excluding myself from people who might bum me out.”

As any new parent knows, though, when you have a kid, that kind of "me-first, don't bum me out" attitude fades faster than the third-rate Warhol prints decorating the glass-walled guesthouse in Sagaponack. And that's when you stop using private jets for yourself and when you start doing it because you just want what's best for your children:

...a couple in their 30’s whose Cessna Citation X encountered instrument problems in [Aspen] not long ago, forcing the couple and their sons to board an airborne cattle-car to Denver. There, the clients’ children, 4 and 6 — never having experienced a commercial airport — sat on the floor of the vast and bewildering concourse and wailed.


Mr. Sitomer produced a note from the butler of one Blue Star client, whose on-board meal requirements were detailed to an extent (Grey Goose vodka frozen two hours before flight; ice cubes made with Fiji water; filet mignon of precise cut and dimension; and Froot Loops, Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch for the kids) that would make the most demanding rock-star diva blanch.

Waitaminnit, are you suggesting I fly on the same plane with those hyped up sugarmonkeys? That'd really bum me out. Best to put the kids in their own plane, and let the nannies deal with it.

My Other Vehicle Is a Gulfstream


Geez what's more frightening, spoiled kids that can't handle a freaking airport (our 16 month old is an old salt and has never had a fit to date) or that fact that wealthy, elitist snobs don't have a clue and choose to feed their kids crap from a box while daddy and mommy nibble a filet. Conspicuous consumption does not equal common sense.

{personally, I'm appalled that the guy at the end actually has to WRITE his $250,000 checks to refill his Marquis Jet ride card. I mean seriously, doesn't he have people for that kind of thing? -ed.]

"sat on the floor of the vast and bewildering concourse and wailed"

Man, that's exactly how I feel when I'm in the airport. My first "real" job (working for a race team) involved frequently flying around the country in the owner's private jet. Getting a jet is basically my only real goal in life, and I'm failing pretty miserably in attaining it.

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