“Time is our most precious commodity, and there are conveniences that wealth brings to essentially get you more time. —retired Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, explaining why he commutes via private jet from his Seattle home to watch games of the Los Angeles Clippers, the basketball team he bought last year for $2 billion. ”
Why I fly privately
"Once you have sipped the sweet nectar of freedom, you don't go back. If I had to fly commercial and could stay in the suite in the top of a hotel or take a private plane and stay in just a room, I'd say, 'Give me the plane.' The airport experience is an ongoing, deteriorating horror story."
--political consultant James Carville
"I couldn't have done many of the things I did without a business airplane. It afforded me the opportunity to be home with my family and at the same time accomplish the things I had to do to make my business and career successful. Whether you fly your own or hire a crew, a business jet far outperforms any other mode of transportation."
--golf legend Arnold Palmer
"When you take a commercial flight, it's either late, been postponed or whatever. Years ago I had the luxury to say, 'All right, I missed a plane.' I can't afford that anymore. I have to fly in, fly out, be in another place the next day. The only way to do that is on a private plane."
--personal finance guru Suze Orman
"An aircraft used properly is the most unbelievable tool especially if you are dealing with different cities or countries. People think that in the Caribbean, you just step from island to island. But Jamaica to Trinidad is 1,200 miles and Jamaica to Miami is 660 miles. Getting around is tough. Having your own airplane is money in the bank."
--Sandals Resorts owner "Butch" Stewart
"The productivity of the people at the top determines how many jobs there are for people not at the top. And when a guy misses an important sales meeting because Delta Air Lines had a mechanical [problem] at Kennedy and it reverberated across the system and he winds up in Chicago in a fleabag hotel while the meeting's going on in Tucson, the [corporate] airplane pays for itself."
--attorney F. Lee Bailey
"Traveling on a business jet changes your life. Instead of waiting sometimes three or four hours in an airport, you go right on the plane when you want to. You don't have to go through security and you can eat and drink what you want."
--chef Wolfgang Puck
"You can go to one meeting in one state flying commercial or you can have an airplane and go to four meetings in four states in a day. And if you have the motivation to do that, you make more money, you do more deals. It's an incredible business tool."
--Residence Inns founder Jack DeBoer
"We have a meeting this morning [in Southern California]. Then we fly to New Orleans and have several meetings there, and tomorrow morning we go to a convention and I'm able to fly back to my home in Florida tomorrow and spend the night with my family. You just can't do that on the airlines."
--golf great Gary Player
"By using private airplanes, I think I'm three times more productive. During the campaign, sometimes I had nine or 10 events a day. You just can't do that on commercial flights."
--former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani
"Tomorrow there's a road trip of about 400 miles...If you drive, you get there at like six in the morning, but it's a 55-minute flight....Even if we do just one extra show a month [as a result of flying privately], we'll be able to afford to fly to all the inconvenient places and take opportunities to arrive in time to rest."
--Mick Jones, leader of the rock group Foreigner
"Early in the morning, we flew out of Dallas to New York for a speech. Then we headed back to the jet to do a town meeting in Albuquerque, N.M., and then we raced back to the jet so I could get to Los Angeles to do Jay Leno that night. The next day we were off to Salt Lake City to do a town hall meeting for the Pickens Plan. Someone said, 'This is crazy. You'll never get in all these appearances.' But we did. We always get there. And there wouldn't be a chance in hell for me to get there if I went commercial."
--oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens
"I really have difficulty when I have to go on a commercial airliner. They're so bad now. It's not just the nuisance of the airports. It's the service. And the seats are thinner and the legroom is less and the food is lousy. I can remember flying in the '60s on the first jets and it was a great sense of luxury, but now it's just become a cattle wagon. So yes, I'm spoiled."
--the late film director Sydney Pollack
"It's a bit of a no-brainer. It saves so much time but the difference it has made on my golf performance is huge as well. The less stress on the body the better when your body's a tool of the trade."
--golf pro Adam Scott
"About 25 years ago, I was trying to get from Puerto Rico to the British Virgin Islands and I was with 50 other passengers who were meant to be on an American Airlines plane. And as airlines sometimes do, they decided to cancel the flight and we were all left stranded at the airport. So I said to everyone, 'Hold on, let me see what I can do.' So I chartered a plane for the 50 passengers, divided the other 49 passengers into the price, and sold out the plane. That was my first charter experience."
--Virgin Airlines founder Sir Richard Branson
"For me, private jet travel had become such a necessity. There were too many times when we'd have late games and we'd have to stay the night. It was important for me to be home with the kids as much as possible."
--NFL Hall of Famer Troy Aikman
"[Flying privately is] terribly, terribly effective. For example, while we shot Terminator. Albuquerque is about 1,000 miles from L.A. and I came home every weekend and was able to recharge my batteries and get work done on the flight. And the stars would come home with great regularity, and it kept them happy because they could see their families. And I would stay on top of my other business interests in Los Angeles with a personal touch as opposed to being stuck in Albuquerque."
- Hollywood director/producer McG
"With cancer, your first chance is your best chance to take care of a problem. So we've used the jet to go see patients quickly...We couldn't do that if we flew commercially. Even if you got lucky and could book a flight the same day, it'd take you six to eight hours and then everyone would have to come in after the [cancer] center's closed for the day."
--oncologist Eric Rost, M.D.
"It [his Boeing 737] gives you a lot of respect. When it comes to signing up a case, people know you've earned your stripes...And if I want to go to three states in a day and be home for dinner, I can...If I was sitting in airports and traveling commercial, there's no way I could do all these things."
--billionaire attorney Willie Gary
"Since I've owned the GV there are too many examples to count of how the airplane has helped me. Flying out after a late-night game to be at a meeting the next morning. Leaving a meeting to get home in time for my daughter's first daddy-daughter dance...It means I have more hours in my day to spend with friends and family. It means I can get more work done. It means I can travel comfortably with my family. It's a life- and game-changer...I just hope I compete with [people who don't fly privately]. I get to work while they get to stand in line at the airport."
--entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban