Corporate Jet vs Commercial Jet: What a Different World

Valerie Athanas

I never really thought I’d get such a close look into an industry like private aviation.  I actually started working on the commercial side, as a flight attendant.  I thought that I was getting into this glamorous, thrilling lifestyle that people only dream about.  I quickly realized that I was doomed to live out of a suitcase, in basement studios in bad neighborhoods in New Jersey for the next decade or so if I didn’t get out, and quick.  Then I stumbled upon my new dream job; working on the corporate side of things with millionaires, celebrities and every investment banker that ever hit it big on Wall Street.  What a culture shock that was.

The lifestyle that my clients lead is still, after a year in this industry, shocking to me.  I see people chartering a 27 million dollar airplane to take a 20 minute flight to the Hamptons, while the rest of us carpool, in horrendous traffic to our summer share that we are splitting between fifteen people or so.

I recently flew from New York to Athens, Greece, in coach, of course.  Now, I was stuck on a full flight, in the middle seat, of the middle row for a nine hour, overnight flight.  We were packed in like sardines, treated quite rudely by our flight attendants (which I was particularly sensitive to, since I was flying on my former employer), and fed meals that I’m pretty sure weren’t even up to par for the local state penitentiary.  So, I get it. These clients that spend millions of dollars yearly on their weekend getaways have their reasons.  They work hard for their money and deserve the best service out there.  I guess now, my next step in this business, is to find out how to end up sitting in the back of one of those airplanes, as opposed to working in one of them, up front.

Image of corporate jet interior © Timur Nisametdinov/iStockphoto