BOEING747400
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Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:32 pm

I'm wondering if any billionaires ever fly commercial?

If so, what airlines and class of service do they most frequently choose?
 
KaiGywer
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:41 pm

I'm sure they do, and I'd assume they buy a F/J ticket just because they can...then again...most billionaires are billionaires because they don't waste money on things like a private jet, so who knows, maybe they fly coach  
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delimit
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:48 pm

Most billionaires are business people whose work time is considered valuable enough that their company pays for them to fly private. For instance, Steve Jobs gets paid $1.00 by Apple (and a huge amount of stock options), but they bought him a jet.

What they fly on vacation is anyone's guess. That said, I'd be willing to bet a good chunk of them fly private.
 
B6JFKH81
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:50 pm

Rich people don't always fly in private aircraft "because they can" financially, but because of security. I know this thread is popping up because of the entire "how did Oprah fly" thread so I'll use her as an example.

Can you imagine the chaos it would cause for her to pull up in front of a terminal, go through check-in, security, waiting at the gate, and boarding in plain sight of hundreds, if not thousands, of people? Then, on the flight the same thing. And if she wanted to do fairly secretive/important work for her new network (OWN) while on that flight, with people peeking over her seat? It's just not safe.

This is also why many companies have their own corporate fleet or have contracts with firms to fly private jets...security for the folks they are flying and the information that they are carrying.

So, while I know that my airline has seen its fair share of famous people regularly traveling on flights, I am sure some billionaires do fly commercial, but it isn't always safe...
"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
 
aklrno
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:54 pm

I know of at least one. One day he was flying his large family to Europe not just commercial, but economy. When he got to the airport the check-in agent told him he was a day late. His tickets were now worthless. The only seats left were in F. He pulled out a credit card and bought 7 round trip F tickets from SFO to Europe. No problem.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:58 pm

Although it's down a notch in the scale of things, I will always remember seeing an old man riding around on his ancient bike near to where I used to live. It had no gears, his clothes were worn, and his house was ramshackled - but he never accepted charity. When he died it turned out that he had an eight figure fortune, which just goes to show that no matter how much money some people have, they won't spend it if they don't have to. So yes I would imagine some people with huge fortunes either sit down the back in coach, or take a bus or train instead.


Dan  
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fbgdavidson
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:04 am

1) Depends on which currency you're basing your billionaire assumption

2) There are the old urban legends of Bill Gates only flying economy, (hence MSFT's stingy travel policy) and Ingvar Kamprand (founder of Ikea) only flying economy too. Personally I don't buy into them...

3) It's hard to judge but I suspect most billionaires could comfortably afford private jet travel on longhaul, although owning a 550 or Global Express is a quite expensive proposition. I do know someone who met Michael Bloomberg on BA in F a few years back. When the conversation turned to flying private he said, "I don't need to be in the US urgently. Why spend 100K when I can spend 10K and be just as comfortable ? I didn't get rich by wasting money."

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 3):
I know this thread is popping up because of the entire "how did Oprah fly" thread so I'll use her as an example.

And she has been spotted flying BA First and at LHR's Concorde Room on multiple occasions!

[Edited 2011-01-20 16:08:32]
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chrisair
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:05 am

I do. And I fly WN.
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  j/k...unfortunately.

I have seen several movie stars on my flights over the years. Also flew with a Sr. VP of Chevron on a LAX-OAK flight a couple years back. It's not as common as you might think for CEOs of large companies to fly private, especially on non-work related travel. Remember, a lot of large companies have really cut their private jet fleet or the amount spent on them, especially in the wake of the auto industry congressional hearings.

[Edited 2011-01-20 16:07:19]
 
Okie
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:05 am

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 1):
I'm sure they do, and I'd assume they buy a F/J ticket just because they can...then again...most billionaires are billionaires because they don't waste money on things


I do not know about billionaires but I have known several multi-millionaires and they always flew economy, maybe that is why they were multi-millionaires. Now let me stipulate that they did not fly much on business but did for vacations.
Okie
 
RogerThat
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:06 am

I sat in the same row as a billionaire on a 2004 AA flight MSY-LGA - Economy class.

I was in the window seat, he was on the aisle. As he was deplaning, he tried to help a girl get her bag down out of the overhead, but she refused his help.
 
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Stitch
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:14 am

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 6):
2) There are the old urban legends of Bill Gates only flying economy, (hence MSFT's stingy travel policy) and Ingvar Kamprand (founder of Ikea) only flying economy too. Personally I don't buy into them...

I have sat in an Exit Row on UA with Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer on one occasion and know of one other person who has done so, as well.
 
wjcandee
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:30 am

David Koch. He was in the 737 that landed on the commuter prop at LAX, and recites a harrowing tale of almost dying from fumes following the flashover b/c the exit door wouldn't open. He finally got it open a crack as he was passing out, and the fresh air revived him enough to stay conscious. An article I read says that he now carries a smoke hood. Bottom line, BTW, is that flying commercial is a heck of a lot safer.
 
ei2ksea
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:33 am

I know of one as I was lucky enough to overhear the hilarious conversation between her PA and a travel agent when it was realized that the executive in question was booked in Y for the SLC-JAC section of a BOS-SLC business trip which had a weekender to Jackson Hole added on. The problem of course was that the flight to JAC was presumably on a Skywest CRJ and there simply wasn't any F however the personal assistant just wasn't getting it. The person in question is one of the wealthier females in the USA but it seems her Dad had the family business jet over the week in question! I have also seen the same person using public transit on occasion in Boston so it's not all that surprising I guess!
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n92r03
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:38 am

Rumors are abound re Warren Buffet flying only economy. Not true. He owns NetJets, so why would he? As many have said, it is about security and productivity. Executives simply can't be bothered with delays, hassles at the airport.

A friend is a multi millionaire and has a Lear 31, I've been on it once. He is a generous person, but not wasteful. He and his family fly commercial on any trips over 1500 miles or so. He could certainly charter a G-IV but simply does not see the value in it.

As they say, there is a reason millionaires are millionaires, they save their money.

As long as we're mentioning who we sat next to...I sat next to Sen Joe Lieberman on a Delta Shuttle flight back in '03. Very nice man.
 
Gr8Circle
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:38 am

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 6):
There are the old urban legends of Bill Gates only flying economy, (hence MSFT's stingy travel policy) and Ingvar Kamprand (founder of Ikea) only flying economy too. Personally I don't buy into them...

Azim Premji, CEO and majority shareholder of Indian software giant Wipro, is famous for flying Economy class......I have actually seen one of his employees, who became an employee of Wipro after his own company was brought out by Wipro for millions, flying economy class from BOM to BLR.....

As for Bill Gates, the story is true....a picture of him sleeping in an economy seat on a plane was published about 10 years ago, when he was very much a billionnaire.....
 
Viscount724
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:45 am

Around 20 years ago I was on a flight from FRA somewhere (forget where, probably GVA) with Donald Trump. Not sure whether he was a billionaire then or not.

Around the same time I was on a Swissair flight ZRH-GVA with Saudi billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi who later lost much of his fortune in various bankruptcies and legal issues related to the Iran-Contra affair. He was arrested in Switzerland and extradited to he U.S. over that affair but was eventually acquitted. He once had a VIP DC-8-73 (an ex-Eastern DC-8-63, acquired by CP Air in 1972 and sold around 1981; after its VIP service it was converted to a freighter.) Photos of that aircraft below (the 2nd while owned by Khashoggi.) He also once owned one of the world's biggest private yachts.


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Fairly recent (2009) NY Times article on Khashoggi. He was certainly flying on scheduled flights then (note the 6th paragraph and 2nd last.)
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/world/middleeast/14khashoggi.html

[Edited 2011-01-20 16:59:18]
 
rfields5421
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:53 am

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 6):
I suspect most billionaires could comfortably afford private jet travel on longhaul, although owning a 550 or Global Express is a quite expensive proposition

I think it is the other way around often. They fly private jets for short haul, and go commercial for long haul - especially overseas trips.

This of course depends upon what business they are in. For someone in real estate, or who has to travel a lot - they are going to fly in a private aircraft - just to save time. Two or three hours spent waiting in an airport, and time on a plane without live data and phone connections - are very expensive waste of productive hours.

But for long haul - such as across the oceans - they are going to enjoy the additional space and comfort of J or F. Those who earned their own money are likely to balk at a full-price F ticket, but J on a restricted fare - sure.

Those traveling with their families will probably fly a bit better than they might fly alone. Unless the private aircraft is BBJ size, most families would prefer F or J in a wide-body. Often better ammentities and service.

People who seldom fly would be more likely to fly economy - because again, if they made their money - they cannot see wasting it on a short flight for a little legroom. Unless it they are 6'e"

But there is a relatively small group of extermely rich people which most people would recognize. They cannot fly commercial because of the commotion their presence causes. People just will not leave them alone. I once flew AA from DFW-ATL and in first class was a recognizable celebrity, with a huge body guard. The pilot finally came on the PA and told people to quit using the front toilet and an excuse to try to talk to her.

I'm sure the same would happen to Bill Gates, or Buffet.
 
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MillwallSean
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:15 am

Ingvar Kamprad, founder and owner of IKEA, and usually on the worlds ten richest men list always fly economy class.
he should be good for around 25 billion.

He even mandated his employees to only fly economy and stay in 3 star hotels. Compliance was pretty high at least when I worked there.
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fbgdavidson
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:28 am

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 16):
I think it is the other way around often. They fly private jets for short haul, and go commercial for long haul - especially overseas trips.

Maybe it was just my wording...If a billionaire genuinely couldn't afford to fly private shorthaul I'd be very surprised, unless of course the assets are all tied up in non-liquid form.

Longhaul whilst exponentially more expensive chartering is certainly affordable. Making the step between fractional ownership for a G-550, GEx or the ilk and actually owning one outright as an individual is hugely difficult to justify for all but the very wealthiest.

Just like with cars I bet there are some people out there who are the ghetto fabulous of the private jet world!   
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ltbewr
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:28 am

Bill Gates did fly commercial until a number of years ago and bought with his own money his own bizjet. His personal schedule needs had reached a point where scheduled flights were not practical or wasted too much of his time.

About 7 years ago, I worked on a case involving a former and well know big USA corp CEO. Corporate rules forbade him or his immediate family to fly commercial, only on the company or authorized chartered a/c. Mainly this was done for security, possibly at the direction of the company's security advisors and insurers as to kidnap, ransom and other insurance for top executives.

For some well know executives, being in a public place like an airport or on a commercial flight could make them a target of terrorism, kidnap and ransom, personal attack by a nutcase, a disgruntled ex-employee or lawsuit plaintiff and so on. Of course, there is the time factor even with no-waits for check in or security. Go to get the corp jet at Teterboro and be on the corp or chartered a/c in less than an hour from leaving your office or home or 2 or more hours if go to JFK or EWR. You also don't have to be with the 'riff-raff'.
 
777ord
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:56 am

When I worked for AA, I was flying F from LHR-MIA and sitting next to me was Leonna Lewis(She in 3A, me in 3D), the British Pop star. Granted she had several of her assistants with her, but I acted as if nothing was special bout her. And yes, she is gorgeous in real life. Can I technically say I've "slept with her"as she had her seat in bed mode, next to mine? LOL. Ok, I'll keep dreaming

I've had the pleasure of "Jared the Subway guy" come to my counter to get checked in for a trip to IND via ORD. But, he was not bothered and even took the time to talk to people and discuss healthy eating.

One of my old classmates was non-reving back after a 3 day trip to his base, DFW, and sat next to Chipper Jones formerly of the Atlanta Braves (Baseball), and he had NO CLUE.

As awesome as it is to see a famous person come thru, I give them no special liberties. I treat them as any other human being by way of the "golden rule".

But, to answer the question originally asked. I worked for a (now defunct) charter company @ KDPA while in high school, and every week we had the top exec's of many major engineering, pharmasutical companies come thru. And, the owner of Dale Earnhart racing kept a jet of his there.

Lance Armstrong came thru twice. Real friendly down to earth guy.
 
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:08 am

I've been told the Bass brothers were flying commercial until an unsuccessful kidnap attempt was made on one of the brothers' wife (can't remember which). They now have private security wherever they go and fly biz jets. Whether the decision was theirs or imposed by their k&r carrier I do not know.
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steex
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:42 am

Quoting 777ORD (Reply 20):
One of my old classmates was non-reving back after a 3 day trip to his base, DFW, and sat next to Chipper Jones formerly of the Atlanta Braves (Baseball), and he had NO CLUE.

Chipper Jones would be very disappointed to find out he is only FORMERLY of the Atlanta Braves! He is heading into 2011 as their starting third baseman!
 
BMI727
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:15 am

Quoting BOEING747400 (Thread starter):
I'm wondering if any billionaires ever fly commercial?

Richard Branson has found himself on a few commercial flights. But then, he does own the airline.  
Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 3):

Rich people don't always fly in private aircraft "because they can" financially, but because of security.

And for business people, time really is money.

Quoting n92r03 (Reply 13):
He owns NetJets, so why would he?

Because that's just the way he is. He did buy a private jet, however, and then made jokes about how excessive it was.

Quoting 777ORD (Reply 20):
Lance Armstrong came thru twice. Real friendly down to earth guy.

Nice to know that being possibly the biggest fraud in sports hasn't gone to his head.
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fbgdavidson
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:23 am

Quoting 777ORD (Reply 20):
When I worked for AA, I was flying F from LHR-MIA and sitting next to me was Leonna Lewis(She in 3A, me in 3D), the British Pop star. Granted she had several of her assistants with her, but I acted as if nothing was special bout her. And yes, she is gorgeous in real life. Can I technically say I've "slept with her"as she had her seat in bed mode, next to mine? LOL. Ok, I'll keep dreaming

I've had the pleasure of "Jared the Subway guy" come to my counter to get checked in for a trip to IND via ORD. But, he was not bothered and even took the time to talk to people and discuss healthy eating.

One of my old classmates was non-reving back after a 3 day trip to his base, DFW, and sat next to Chipper Jones formerly of the Atlanta Braves (Baseball), and he had NO CLUE.

As awesome as it is to see a famous person come thru, I give them no special liberties. I treat them as any other human being by way of the "golden rule".

But, to answer the question originally asked. I worked for a (now defunct) charter company @ KDPA while in high school, and every week we had the top exec's of many major engineering, pharmasutical companies come thru. And, the owner of Dale Earnhart racing kept a jet of his there.

Lance Armstrong came thru twice. Real friendly down to earth guy.
Quoting blueflyer (Reply 21):
I've been told the Bass brothers were flying commercial until an unsuccessful kidnap attempt was made on one of the brothers' wife (can't remember which). They now have private security wherever they go and fly biz jets. Whether the decision was theirs or imposed by their k&r carrier I do not know.

None of these people are billionaires. Not by a long way....

I guess it was inevitable it would turn into a 'sort of famous people I saw thread'...
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
whatusaid
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:41 am

Trump was on a OGG-LAX flight, a couple rows ahead of me once.... So, yes....
 
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cpd
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:50 am

Ingvar Kamprad is probably the single most famous example. He also drives (or drove) an old Volvo 240 station wagon, and uses public transport frequently. He's renowned as being very frugal with his spending habits.
 
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airportugal310
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:58 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 23):
Because that's just the way he is. He did buy a private jet, however, and then made jokes about how excessive it was.

Thats interesting, considering some of the advertising he does for NBAA...

http://www.nbaa.org/events/amc/2010/...videos/20101020-warren-buffett.php

[Edited 2011-01-20 21:00:05]
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Mudboy
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:36 am

Not a Billionaire, but Tom Cruise in one that has his own jet. Since I frequently travel through Dubai, it is know that he has been there filming MI 4. The discussion came up that he probably takes the EK DXB-LAX when traveling between Dubai and LA, because for one, it would be much cheaper, and second, I would imagine a private jet, would require more than one fuel stop? Another thing is, on routes of this length, it would make more sense to travel in a F class suite, than on a cramped private jet?
 
777ord
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:44 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 23):
Nice to know that being possibly the biggest fraud in sports hasn't gone to his head.

Of course not! lol. Fraud? Naw....

Quoting steex (Reply 22):
Chipper Jones would be very disappointed to find out he is only FORMERLY of the Atlanta Braves! He is heading into 2011 as their starting third baseman!

Well, shows how much I care about baseball.   
 
Pellegrine
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:51 am

Even if I was a billionaire with a jet I'd get tired of flying my own jet. I mean....who wouldn't want to at least try new SQ R, CX F, BA F, KE F, etc.? But then again I'm a travel nerd, and a lot of billionaires probably aren't, they just want to get to their destination in adequate luxury befitting their means and necessities. I tend to be pretty inconspicuous, so I'd not have to worry about the crowds hounding me for an autograph. If I had Michael Jackson or Jay-Z fame...hell no I'd fly private all the time.
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peh
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:03 am

Rupert Murdoch is rennowned for his relative frugalness. It's been reported in a variety of sources that he would always fly commercially between continents but he would purchase two first-class or business-class seats so no one would sit near him.

He would also stay in nice hotels but insist on standard rooms. Most hotels, however, would automatically upgrade him (for free) when they realized who he was.
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thediplomat
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:24 am

Another great example was the founder of the DFS duty free empire. Chuck Feeney. He was a billionaire who only flew economy, and gave all his money away to charity incognito - no buildings or institutes named after him.

A really good man.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Feeney

[Edited 2011-01-20 22:24:45]
 
JFKPurser
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:53 am

I had George Soros on a CUN-JFK last month after the climate conference. His companion explained he flies commercial to keep his carbon footprint low. That's walking the walk.
 
cptspeaking
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:02 am

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 16):
They fly private jets for short haul, and go commercial for long haul - especially overseas trips.

Exactly.

I fly one such businessman in his Beech Premier. It's a great airplane for flights around the east coast to his several residences, but when he and his wife go to their house in the UK, they fly BA first class. He could easily afford something that could make the hop across the pond and still be within reason (CL60, or even something like a CL30, C750 or G200 with a fuel stop), but it just doesn't make sense.

Not only do you end up with acquisition and operating costs for the airplane, but also landing and parking fees, as well as crew salary, accommodations, and expenses. On top of all that, then you have an airplane that is significantly more expensive to operate on the more frequent day trips around the east coast. It's just not worth it, and sleeping in First Class on a long haul is the same as sleeping on a private aircraft. Time wise, you don't lose much on the airlines comparatively when talking about such long legs.

So the answer to the thread title is a solid yes, they do. Sometimes.
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DocLightning
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:04 am

Quoting delimit (Reply 2):

What they fly on vacation is anyone's guess. That said, I'd be willing to bet a good chunk of them fly private.

Richard Branson flies Virgin's Y-class when he travels with his family. He said so. "If it's good enough for our customers..."
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keuleatr72
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:09 am

I know you´re talking about billionaires but how do former heads of state travel? E.g. Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Jaques Chirac, George H. & George W. Bush?
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DocLightning
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:10 am

Quoting keuleatr72 (Reply 36):
I know you´re talking about billionaires but how do former heads of state travel? E.g. Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Jaques Chirac, George H. & George W. Bush?

I don't know about the foreign heads of state but I do know that US Presidents get lifetime Secret Service protection. I would be surprised if any former President ever were allowed to set foot on a commercial flight.
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a380900
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:17 am

I think that first class service is an alternative to jet. Hence the crazy pricing. I saw how Air France deals with first class passenger in the A380 to nyc. They almost don't see the regular terminal. They go in the first class lounge in CDG and they have a huge black mercedes bringing them at the aircraft prior to departure. They access the aircraft from the ground through the airbridge. Don't even set foot on the terminal. They don't even see anyone from the other classes during the trip. Last to embark, first to disembark... Pretty much like a jet. Except you have to share your air with some other super rich fellows...
 
YYZRWY23
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:20 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):

There was once a link posted on a.net of former President Jimmy Carter boarding a commercial flight, and saying hi to people as he walked to his seat (in Y i believe). he was flying to Obama's inauguration.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmjj9vezIw4

And as for the lifetime secret service (who you can see in the video), I think that was ended during the Bush presidency (the recent one). I think secret service security is now only for the following 10 years after exiting office (not 100%). But I am sure exiting Presidents will be able to pay for their own private security.

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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:29 am

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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:29 am

Quoting keuleatr72 (Reply 36):
I know you´re talking about billionaires but how do former heads of state travel? E.g. Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Jaques Chirac, George H. & George W. Bush?
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):
I would be surprised if any former President ever were allowed to set foot on a commercial flight.

Actually, Bill Clinton does fly commercial-and not always on US carriers. A few years ago I was flying LH from JFK-FRA and he was on the flight, although it was very "hush hush". I had a friend working there who said that he checked in at the very end, was brought through a private security screening, and went right to the gate. We did have to wait a few minutes at the gate in NYC for "final preparations" which I took to mean final security scan. Not sure what his final destination was, but we had to wait for about 10 mins in FRA at the gate for him to be "clear". I am guessing he and the SS had the entire F class to themselves.
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:35 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 37):

Thanks DocLightning

Last night I watched NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and he had the 41st President, George H. Bush, former VP Dick Cheney (although I didn´t recognized him at first), the former Secretaries of State Jim Baker and Colin Powell and some others on the show. And I thought about it how they travel to their various interviews, meetings, dinners, etc.

About 15 years ago, I was on a flight from HAM to DUS when I saw the former german chancellor Helmut Schmidt boarding the plane. No security detail, no personal assistant.

[Edited 2011-01-20 23:36:58]
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:40 am

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 39):
There was once a link posted on a.net of former President Jimmy Carter boarding a commercial flight, and saying hi to people as he walked to his seat (in Y i believe). he was flying to Obama's inauguration.

I had a Delta FA tell me that once everyone is seated, he walks up and down the aisles, shaking everyones hand.
 
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AirPacific747
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:20 am

I once sat right behind the Danish prince Joachim on a flight with SK from CPH to NCE back in 2006 or so. Although not a billionaire, he is considered a VIP.
 
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:33 am

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 24):
None of these people are billionaires. Not by a long way....

My bad, in my corner of the world, the Bass brothers are the four nephews of Texas oilman Sid Richardson. The poorest of the four is worth $1.5 billions according to Forbes.
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:34 am

I few months ago I was flying CAN - SHA on a CZ 777 in domestic F. The flight was held back for about 30mins and in came a senior ethnic Chinese guy along with an entourage of about 10 guys, 5 of which sat in F with us and the rest in the front rows of Y.

Turns out he was Goh Chok Tong, current head of Singapore's central bank and former Prime Minister of the city-state. I'm sure through Temasek and GIC he must be worth quite a bit   

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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:57 am

Without getting off topic too much - the issue came up about security being an issue.

David Cameron (British PM) and entourage flew on a scheduled VS flight to the US last year. Technically the UK is a 'billionaire'?

I doubt there would be many people who were interested in bothering him like they would a celebrity, but maybe wanting to beat him.
 
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:08 am

Most billionaires are not recognizable famous people so i think they could get thru security and stuff easily.

Like anything it depends on the person. I am sure there are some that only fly economy and are cheap which is why they became rich and others that would never touch a commercial aircraft. Depends on the person and the situation. Some people like being normal people and like to be in the crowd and people watch. The CEO of Virgin America not a billionaire but someone with obvious access to first class for free prefers to fly coach and likes it better to be in the action and feel normal. Sometimes commercial is faster than getting your pilot to the airport or hiring a plane and emergencies do happen to everyone
 
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RE: Do Any Billionaires Ever Fly Commercial?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:09 am

Quoting Mudboy (Reply 43):
I had a Delta FA tell me that once everyone is seated, he walks up and down the aisles, shaking everyones hand.

Thats also what Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia does, obviously for promotion reasons. I was once on a flight DPS-KUL, where he started greeting everybody, posing for hundrets of photos, starting a show and karaoke contest over the PA, where the winner would receive a free return STN-KUL trip.
I couldnt resist talking to him too, asking what the purpose of his flight was. He told me he made a quick hop to sign a contract for his new private seaside Villa on Bali.
He is famous for stating, that his Lowcost Carrier product is so good, good enough for him as a CEO to travel with.

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