Members of the globalist elite who rushed to embrace private jets during the coronavirus pandemic as a means of avoiding the general public are not giving up the habit anytime soon, a report Sunday confirms.
Reuters reports a shift toward private flying that wealthy Americans saw as a necessity during the past two years is now showing signs of becoming something else: a pricey but sought-after alternative to a premium ticket on a commercial flight.
Analysts and industry executives say they see both more first-time jet owners and families and even small- and medium businesses rushing to the skies in a private plane.
Airlines had an 80 percent share of premium travel in 2021, down from 90 percent before COVID-19, according to Alton Aviation Consultancy cited by Reuters.
Business jets have long been associated with A-list entertainers, Hollywood and top executives, even as they were lecturing the rest of us to lower our carbon footprints by flight shaming those who do.
Hey, Harrison: fly any private planes lately? You're a total fraud and phony. Stick to reducing your own gargantuan carbon footprint and stop lecturing all us peasants out here who rarely ride on planes and fly commercial when we do. https://t.co/JU37ShYRVS
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) October 18, 2020
They now account for a quarter of U.S. flights, roughly twice the pre-pandemic share, according to research and consultancy WINGX.
Bill Gates for one has addressed the criticism he has received for speaking out on climate change while also producing a large carbon footprint with the use of flying in private jets.
Gates said last year such criticism is “totally fair.” He acknowledged he has a “large carbon footprint,” so he is a “strange person” to be talking about it even as he continues to book non-commercial flights.
Booking a Gulfstream G280 with nine passenger seats for a one-way New York-to-Miami flight costs $18,100, according to Jettly, a platform for charter bookings. That compares with an average cost for a single business-class, New York-to-Miami ticket of $421, before taxes, according to data from airline analytics firm Cirium for January.
For many price is simply not a deterrent, politicians included.
Global Warming lectures for us, private jet rides for her–THAT's the Elizabeth Warren way! https://t.co/GRNeQE0xRS
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 5, 2020
“I think the people we’re seeing convert from commercial are not going back to commercial,” Jamie Walker, chief executive of U.S.-based Jet Linx, which manages planes and operates private flights through a “jet card” subscription-style program.
Jet Linx charges a $25,000 membership fee as well as per-flight fees, according to its website.
Subscription-based Wheels Up Experience which offers membership starting at $2,995, excluding flights, has said active members on average spend over $80,000 a year.
The sheer cost and hypocrisy of going private when commercial choices are clearly available has been noted before.
The Reuters report outlines U.S. private aviation traffic is up about 15 percent from its 2019 levels, while airline traffic remains down about 13 percent, according to data from flight-tracking website FlightAware.
Analysts do expect a rebound in commercial flights to eventually draw some wealthy travelers back to scheduled airlines. But there are signs that some of the shift to private jets could be permanent, especially on shorter-haul U.S. flights.
All the while day-to-day fliers who have no choice but to use commercial airlines are being simply told: think of the environment and stay at home.