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Old Jan 4, 12, 4:18 pm   #1
 
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Do celebrities and other wealthy people usually fly commercial?

After reading about the Alec Baldwin incident on American Airlines (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...ght-lax-1.html), I got curious.

Do celebrities usually fly commercial? I wouldn't have expected to run into someone like that sitting next to me on a regular flight.

Don't they all use NetJets or something? Or do they use that sometimes and go commercial when they can't schedule a flight in advance? Or what?

Any FTers know how it works for celebs and the ultra-wealthy?
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Old Jan 4, 12, 4:39 pm   #2
 
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Here's how it works. It's super secret, (but I'll tell you).

A-List celebrities fly on private jets.

B-Lists fly 1st class commercial.

C-Listers fly Business class.

D-List flies coach.

E-List flies Southwest Airlines.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 5:21 pm   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan38103 View Post
Here's how it works. It's super secret, (but I'll tell you).

A-List celebrities fly on private jets.

B-Lists fly 1st class commercial.

C-Listers fly Business class.

D-List flies coach.

E-List flies Southwest Airlines.
LOL. Awesome.

I see A-List celebrities flying commercial all the time. Celebrities do fly privately but I see them frequently on commercial flights.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 6:38 pm   #4
 
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Absolutely.
I've seen a few A-Listers in First Class (when I used to fly first class).
I also remember seeing the Billy Joel special on the final play at Shea Stadium, and how Sir Paul McCartney was whisked from his first class seat, rushed through customs, and police escorted to Shea Stadium just in time to sing a final song with Joel.
If Sir Paul can fly commercial, I guess we all can... And he can probably afford to buy a few Jets. But why? First is pretty good and you don't have to put up XXX Million in advance just to have a seat.

I've actually known a few moderately wealthy people whom are more prone to fly private than celebrities. Most of these guys are serious entrepreneurs and need to be, say, in Dallas at 8:30, then Chicago at 2:00, then back to NYC for a late dinner with their banker. For them private works.

PS. "E-List flies Southwest Airlines" - I guess I'm an E-Lister. "E"conomically-Minded

Last edited by RobbieRunner; Jan 4, 12 at 6:45 pm.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 7:29 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobbieRunner View Post
Absolutely.
I've seen a few A-Listers in First Class (when I used to fly first class).
I also remember seeing the Billy Joel special on the final play at Shea Stadium, and how Sir Paul McCartney was whisked from his first class seat, rushed through customs, and police escorted to Shea Stadium just in time to sing a final song with Joel.
If Sir Paul can fly commercial, I guess we all can... And he can probably afford to buy a few Jets. But why? First is pretty good and you don't have to put up XXX Million in advance just to have a seat.

I've actually known a few moderately wealthy people whom are more prone to fly private than celebrities. Most of these guys are serious entrepreneurs and need to be, say, in Dallas at 8:30, then Chicago at 2:00, then back to NYC for a late dinner with their banker. For them private works.

PS. "E-List flies Southwest Airlines" - I guess I'm an E-Lister. "E"conomically-Minded
It is easy to fly private withing North America or Europe or Asia with smaller business jets when you are flying mainly over land. However to be ETOPS rate over water one need larger aircraft so there are more reported sightings on TPAC/TATL flights.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 7:40 pm   #6
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For U.S. based celebrities, the specifics of their travel arrangement is generally covered by the SAG / AFTRA agreements:

Quote:
AIRLINE TRAVEL
A. Business Class Travel
The Agreements shall be modified to require business class travel. When business class is
not available, first class shall be provided. Business class travel may be provided only if no
other employee of the Producer who is represented by a guild or union is furnished a higher
class of transportation on the same flight by reason of the minimum terms of the collective
bargaining agreement under which that person is employed.
B. Coach Class Travel
1. Coach class travel may be provided on domestic flights of less than 1000 airline miles,
on non‐stop flights only, measured from the departure point to the final destination
point, under the following terms:
a. Elevated coach class travel will be provided where available (e.g., economy plus or
extended leg room).
b. Producer shall reimburse performer for baggage fees and in‐flight meals upon timely
submission of appropriate receipts. Timely submission shall mean within 30 days of
the flight.
2. Toronto and Vancouver
a. Travel by coach between Toronto and a city in the U.S. less than 1000 airline miles
away shall be permissible.
b. Travel by coach between Vancouver and a city in the U.S. less than 1000 airline
miles away shall be permissible.
c. Travel by coach between Los Angeles and Vancouver shall be permissible.
3. Coach class travel may be provided only if no other employee of the Producer who is
represented by a guild or union is furnished a higher class of transportation on the same
flight by reason of the minimum terms of the collective bargaining agreement under which that person is employed.
(Individual actors are free to demand F on three-cabin transcons and overseas flights - the above is the base agreement.

As for commercial vs private, many celebs fly commercial when the studio or production company is paying (why not?), then choose to pay for a charter when traveling on their own dime, for reasons of privacy, direct travel vs connections, private clearing of immigration/customs, and many other similar reasons.

Imagine, for example, when the Jolie-Pitt clan travels as a unit: parents, kids, nannies, assistants, security, etc. It may actually be cost-effective to charter than to buy tickets for all those people, not to mention the issues of keeping the paparazzi at bay. A classic example was when Ms. Jolie was filming in Romania and going to be with the family during her time off at their leased compound in rural France. If she had to do it commercial, much of her precious free time would be lost if she tried to go commercial.

Other times, promoters of concert tours, for example, use charters to move the singers etc. between concert cities, in order to make a grueling multiple city schedule possible.


A few celebrities, and a different number of wealthy non-celebs, have outright ownership of their own aircraft (often through corporate entities). Tom Cruise is one celebs who owns more than one jet (flown by private crews), while John Travolta owns a Boeing 707 and holds commercial pilot ratings for that and other commercial jets.

Some industrialist/corporate types use the Boeing Business Jet (a modified 737) as their personal aircraft. When he owned the Miami Dolphins, I often used to see Wayne Huizengs'a BBJ (painted in Dolphins colors and with team logo affixed) parked at the Ft. Lauderdale Executive airport. Likewise, when I flew through EWR a lot, I used to see the Forbes "Capitalist Tool" 727 parked on the tarmac. And of course, the founders and CEO of Google (Messrs Brin, Page and Schmidt) personally own a 767-200 (purchased from Qantas and retrofitted):

http://www.planenation.com/google-jet
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Old Jan 4, 12, 8:10 pm   #7
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If you watch any of the late night shows, you will often hear A types saying they came in or will be leaving on the Red Eye.

If you watch TMZ or any of those type of shows, they often are hanging out at LAX or other airports stalking people coming and going.

I think way more people fly commercial than most people would believe.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 8:17 pm   #8
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Some just fly themselves


Iron Maiden lead singer/pilot Bruce Dickinson



Actor/pilot John Travolta, with his runway/driveway hanger/garage

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Old Jan 4, 12, 8:52 pm   #9
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a friend of mine has a jet, but flies commercial intl, like argentina....
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Old Jan 4, 12, 8:55 pm   #10
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Presumably, Johnny Depp would be considered "A List". I had the pleasure of flying with him, his S.O., Vanessa, their 2 very well-behaved children in FC on AF a few years ago. Their "entourage "consisted of one nanny.
Have also flown BA with George Harrison (he was definitely "A List")
Anthony Hopkins on BA
Peter Falk AF
I'm thinking it's the music folks who spend the big $$ on private jets, etc. Real movie stars seem quite content (IMHO) to get some VIP service at airport and , generally, read scripts while on board.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 9:15 pm   #11
 
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my friend in california often spot celebrities and athletes on southwest... recently hall of famer steve young
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Old Jan 4, 12, 10:27 pm   #12
 
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I think there are a few factors at work:

1. There's A-list and A++++ list. Regular old A-list seem to fly commercial. A++++ fly privately. Oprah probably never flies commercial (though I was on a flight with Stedman last year). OTOH, I recently saw something about Ryan Gosling flying commercial.

2. Remember that when it comes down to it, a lot of "being a celebrity" involves sitting around. When it comes down to it, the time of a Fortune 10 CEO who works 70 hours a week is probably more valuable than the time of an A-list celeb who works 7 months a year.

3. Even a lot of celebs--particularly those who are hot but have only starred in a couple movies--don't have that much money when it comes down to it. Once you've paid your agent, manager, assistant, etc., you're not banking as much as people might expect on an annual basis.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 11:20 pm   #13
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Not sure I agree with assessment by chgoeditor. I think it is more likely that some of the more C- list folks are flying private jets. (Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan come to mind). Johnny Depp is a+++++++++ and flies commercial. I believe the Affleck family also is known to fly commercial.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:01 am   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
I think there are a few factors at work:

1. There's A-list and A++++ list. Regular old A-list seem to fly commercial. A++++ fly privately. Oprah probably never flies commercial (though I was on a flight with Stedman last year). OTOH, I recently saw something about Ryan Gosling flying commercial.

2. Remember that when it comes down to it, a lot of "being a celebrity" involves sitting around. When it comes down to it, the time of a Fortune 10 CEO who works 70 hours a week is probably more valuable than the time of an A-list celeb who works 7 months a year.

3. Even a lot of celebs--particularly those who are hot but have only starred in a couple movies--don't have that much money when it comes down to it. Once you've paid your agent, manager, assistant, etc., you're not banking as much as people might expect on an annual basis.
Whats the definition of A+,A++, and A+++ then?
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:43 am   #15
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On the other hand "other wealthy people" who are not celebrities and who would not necessarily attract any attention from the general public probably do fly commercial. This presumably includes a lot of highly paid traveling consultants flying commercial on tickets paid for by their employers.
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