November 29, 2008

Private Jets Are For The Children, Part XVI

If blogs didn't exist, sociologists would invent them. Or more likely, they'd just complain to each other about the unjust slowness of traditional publishing. As it is, they are able to publish eleven--count'em, eleven--fun-to-read blogs at Contexts, a [the?] magazine for sociologists who see their job as being perpetually disturbed by things, and then explaining why.

For example, there's this a double whammy prejudicing corporate male power at the expense of both women and workers, or middle management, but whatever:

I found these three ads for a private jet service in those magazines for excrutiatingly [sic] rich people that I've been posting from lately. Each ad-one for Marquis Jet and two for Delta AirElite-are pitching their service by suggesting that having a membership in their private jet service will help them be a good Dad because they can get home-for dinner, the game, or some quality time-from anywhere fast.

I'd argue that the fires of moral outrage they stoke in the breasts of starving doctoral students are probably the least insightful thing about these ads. There's a lot of huffing about how only the richest dad is able to spend time with his kids. But that ignores the reality that both Marquis and AirElite are the private jet market's entry-level offerings, which target people who are not wealthy enough to afford their own plane, and who in fact are still working in jobs that require extensive travel. They're most likely self-employed, too, with no access to accountability-free corporate jets, and the implicit alternative to private jet travel is flying commercial, with all the stress and surrender of control and scheduling that entails. More than any other private jet, in fact, these services are for people who "need" them. Which makes the pitch about "choice" and being able to attend a kid's birthday party [never mind plan or actually participate in it] all the more ironic.

Considering that this post was written just a few days ago, it somehow bears no trace of awareness that these types of private flyers are probably the most vulnerable to the current economic turmoil. I suspect there are a lot of one-time Marquis Jet Card buyers who are suddenly finding they have a lot more time to spend with the family now.

Previously: Experts help parents, children manage The Private Jet Question
Flying private: Think of the children;


Hey, I'm a sociologist and a dad!

I think you probably just doubled the readership for Contexts. It's trying to be the Psychology Today of sociology (the journal itself is actually a pretty good read for planes and the dentist office).

Hmmm...I'll have to see if I can use my research funds to fly out to the ASA in SF this year, maybe bring the whole family. How much is a private jet flight again?

this blog is nutty. I know so many good people who fly with Marquis and others like Netjet and they are far from rich snobby people. they are hard working folks who have made their money the old fashioned way - they earned it. since you blog and could probably not ever afford to purchase this product or work as hard as most successful folks do, you would never understand the meaning behind these ads that i find quite smart. they appeal to the emotion in all of us - I mean most of us who are not the jealous types who relish in others failures. good luck to you and your bicycle

I suppose that makes you their insecure, ride-bumming friend? The only reason I can afford to blog now is because of previously hard-earned money. If you'll read the post again, you'll see that I was trying to make exactly the sympathetic point about the unacknowledged realities of fractional jet people, albeit in a more sarcastic, entertaining way.

Marquis is a great company and I flew with them from NY to Chattanooga earlier this year. That said, I've never been so terrified in a plane in all my life. Gimme JetBlue anyday!

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