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Do celebrities and other wealthy people usually fly commercial?

Do celebrities and other wealthy people usually fly commercial?

Old Jan 5, 12, 4:16 am
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Thailand's crown prince flies his "own" B737 (donated by the Royal Thai Air Force) and Belgium's crown prince was on a Etihad flight last week with princess Mathilde and their kids, flying economy (saving Belgian taxpayer's money)
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Old Jan 5, 12, 6:45 am
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Most of the airline forums here have celebrity sighting threads. If you look at them you will see lots of A list celebrities. In the last 18 months Ive been run into Robert DeNiro twice for instance on AA. I was also arriving at LHR one time and saw a limo driver waiting with the name "Bono" on his placard. There are also a number of rock star sightings on the AA thread, including Mick Jagger.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 7:05 am
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Yikes - I must be Z list as I've done all of the above plus those cute little commercial Barbie planes where you play musical chairs to balance everything before takeoff , those half-a-passenger-jet planes with the midway bulkheads that zip to Prudhoe Bay, and a nifty Russian turboprop that had the pilot's side window open at altitude (to vent fumes).

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.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
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.
Related to this is the fact that many celebs never "see" their money - everything is handled by their business managers. Often, a lot of financial decisions are ceded to the manager, including travel arrangements. If the travel is for studio business and the celeb is being provided business or First travel, why pay to fly privately? For every cash-guzzling blowhard like a P. Hilton or L. Lohan, there are many more celebs who are prodent with their spending (or at least hire someone to be prudent for them).

(This is also why you see these "celebutards" hosting Vegas parties, etc - the arrangements are often for cash or other direct consideration and often bypass the managers).

Mr. Depp was mentioned, and he has implied in interviews before that he treasures (pun) his off-tine with his family - it's not difficult to understand that he uses studio-provided travel when flying to and from filming locations or for press junkets, but uses private/charter to maximize family time on his yachts and private island, etc.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by tjl View Post
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.
Then you have another class of rich, who own jets because they travel often to their many mansions/estates and to visit their philanthropic interests. One example is Gordon and Ann Getty, who own their own BBJ which is modified to be able to fly TATL.

The Gettys are major opera buffs (Mr. Getty fancies himself a composer) and fly often to attend performances and festivals, some of which are made possible by their largesse (for example, because they were uncomfortably hot in the historic Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, Italy, during the Festival held there every August, the Gettys paid for the installation of a special air-conditioning system (that would not affect the acoustics in the smallish theater)).
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Old Jan 5, 12, 8:04 am
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Absolutely.

Let's say I'm Les Wexner (might as well dream big). I have an estate in Columbus, Ohio where I am a big fish in a little pond. Me and my executives oversee "The Limited Brands" and enjoy watching Victoria's Secret models prance around. Not a hard gig. But I also have a corporate office in Boston, and need to get around big time on the fly to service my empire. I've got a runway gig in New York and then have to be in Paris for a week, then back to Miami and off to Boston, then on to Los Angeles for a huge land deal for my new mall (and a meeting with my buddy Arnold), then back to Columbus.
And when I fly, I need to get work done. I need "An Office in the Sky".

A private jet, in my case the size of a decent sized commercial bird, with office space, room for 10 or 15 executives to also work, and accommodations for a bit of rest and a shower if I need it before landing.

Makes sense. I would not fly myself as Pilot in Command because it would only waste time I could be spending doing business in my office in the sky.

Dreaming is fun. But that's how some business at that level is done.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 11:56 am
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Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro View Post
Whats the definition of A+,A++, and A+++ then?
For purposes of private vs. commercial, I think I'd define it as: Will this celeb's presence at the airport cause a riot? Oprah? Yes. Brangelina? Yes. Justin Bieber? Probably. Alec Baldwin? No. Clint Eastwood? No.

And as for reality stars like Paris Hilton, etc., flying private: Something makes me think they're probably not paying for it.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by tjl View Post
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.
To add.. The cost of a mask, fake moustache or shades, makes for low profile.. compared to the cost of flying privately..
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Old Jan 5, 12, 1:46 pm
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I have an immediate family member who is a pilot for NetJets/ExecuJet. The people he flies are way, way above your typical celebrity in terms of net worth. Lots of very wealthy people in the world you've never heard of. Celebrities are a dime a dozen.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 2:34 pm
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Yes, because they usually are not flying on their own money. They are flying on the dime of a studio or management company.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 6:54 pm
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Originally Posted by lancebanyon View Post
I have an immediate family member who is a pilot for NetJets/ExecuJet. The people he flies are way, way above your typical celebrity in terms of net worth. Lots of very wealthy people in the world you've never heard of. Celebrities are a dime a dozen.
Absolutely!
Does anyone know the name or the face of the guy (WITHOUT GOOGLING HIM IF THAT WOULD EVEN YIELD A RESULT!) that owns the Toyota Import rights for the United States? He's purportedly one of the wealthiest people in North America. You can cruise past one of his many houses if you tour the Inland Waterway near Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Next to the founder's home of Home Depot, and Charles Tandy's former home (Radio Shack), and on and on the wealth line goes. But I bet you'd never know these guys and gals if you passed them on the street. There's money and then there's MONEY.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 7:11 pm
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Originally Posted by RobbieRunner View Post
Absolutely!
Does anyone know the name or the face of the guy (WITHOUT GOOGLING HIM IF THAT WOULD EVEN YIELD A RESULT!) that owns the Toyota Import rights for the United States? He's purportedly one of the wealthiest people in North America. You can cruise past one of his many houses if you tour the Inland Waterway near Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Next to the founder's home of Home Depot, and Charles Tandy's former home (Radio Shack), and on and on the wealth line goes. But I bet you'd never know these guys and gals if you passed them on the street. There's money and then there's MONEY.
Yup.

My husband's commercial landlord, although a big fish in a small pond and nowhere close to the real money guys, but still worth A LOT, is an unobtrusive 70 year old guy that drives a ten year old dented pick up. I worked at a diner that he frequents every morning, have a half a cup of oatmeal and sits and bs with all the old farts. He has a net worth of about $50 million and we saw him grading a gravel road in front of his shop on CHRISTMAS DAY.

And we all know the DYKWIA types who pretend to be filthy rich but are up to their eyeballs in debt to maintain their lifestyles.

On topic, my parents sat next to Congressman Don Young while flying back from our naturalization ceremony. One class cabin. He didn't get the exit row, because my husband and I snagged it.
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Old Jan 6, 12, 6:46 am
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Originally Posted by CBear View Post
Yup.

.... He has a net worth of about $50 million and we saw him grading a gravel road in front of his shop on CHRISTMAS DAY....

And we all know the DYKWIA types who pretend to be filthy rich but are up to their eyeballs in debt to maintain their lifestyles.
That's right on target for so many Americans. Not sure about Canadians or the rest of the world. I had friends that just HAD to have the million dollar home, two BMW 735i's in the garage, and all the trappings of a mulit-millionaire lifestyle. But they were in debt up to their eyeballs, and filed bankruptcy when the bubble burst.

THEN, there are the guys like you mention that are the true "Millionaire Next Door" and you'd never know it. I worked for a guy that owned three huge corporations. All companies you would know. He and his family were incredibly wealthy. Yet he lived in a $300,000 home (did not stand out in his neighborhood), and drove a 15 year old truck with a slightly cracked windshield. He flew commercial COACH. The ONLY extravagance that I noticed was that his kids went to a private school. That's it.

But travel? He'd fly COACH! He'd stay at Holiday Inn hotels! Regular rooms! He dressed like any guy on the street. VERY low key. Nothing fancy.

I loved it. Yet he's walking around with half a billion plus in his bank account. You gotta' love that. He was not a target, and that was his goal.

He could buy and sell many celebrities. He could probably buy an airline for cash. Yet he flew coach everywhere. I remember he happened to LOVE Southwest. Said they were economical and "Fun". Those were his words.
Man, you gotta' love that!
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Old Jan 6, 12, 5:09 pm
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Originally Posted by tjl View Post
This presumably includes a lot of highly paid traveling consultants flying commercial on tickets paid for by their employers.
A consultant might be wealthy in relative terms, but grossing around $400,000 does not make you wealthy, just well off.

One of my friend's father, who is on the Forbes Rich List (high up), has about 10-12 private jet's, most in a company which leases out the planes (but most to his own companies). They've got a few for family only, one which will do Europe-SE Asia (never been on the private-private planes). They fly private because of security and ease of getting around but you would most likely never recognise who the guy is. My friend's brother has never stepped on a commercial airplane in his life. One of my other friends (who could easily afford a plane) flies commercial (although might do domestic flights in PJ) but she'll also fly Y if her friends cannot afford C.
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Old Jan 6, 12, 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted by RobbieRunner View Post
Absolutely.

Let's say I'm Les Wexner (might as well dream big). I have an estate in Columbus, Ohio where I am a big fish in a little pond. Me and my executives oversee "The Limited Brands" and enjoy watching Victoria's Secret models prance around. ...
If you were Les Wexner, you wouldn't be watching Victoria Secret models prance around, but I digress

I think we're also missing the thousands of regular everyday business people, most of them owners of small and medium businesses, who fly all over the country every day in everything from a Piper Archer to a Baron to a Navajo to a 25 year old King Air or Lear.

They do it because it's the most economical and efficient way for them to visit customers or business interests - flying into smaller airports without commercial service or being able to visit multiple cities in a row.

I'm sure the majority of everyday celebrities fly commercial - we've not only seen many of them (look at all the Celebrity Sighting threads in each airline forum), I'm fairly sure there are a few right here with us on FT, hidden behind some interesting screen name.

I think the number who frequently use private jets, whether owned, shared or chartered, is actually quite low.

Originally Posted by RobbieRunner View Post
Absolutely!
Does anyone know the name or the face of the guy (WITHOUT GOOGLING HIM IF THAT WOULD EVEN YIELD A RESULT!) that owns the Toyota Import rights for the United States? He's purportedly one of the wealthiest people in North America. ..
Jim Moran (just the rights to the SE US), but he's dead - so no private jet rides for him...but apparently his former yacht Gallant Lady is up for sale yet again. I would prefer to travel by yacht if I had the choice and didn't need to be somewhere right away.

Now that's the right way to travel.
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