All-Skate: Corporate Execs on Private Jets?

Many of America’s largest companies do not permit their highest-ranking executives to fly commercial, even when they are traveling for non-business-related reasons.  This practice is becoming increasingly common nowadays, especially at companies such as Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Walt Disney, ExxonMobil, and Ford.

The companies that impose this requirement cite concern for the personal safety of their executives.  For some companies, this is a valid concern, as they do business in parts of the world where threats to the safety of their executives are very real.  They also argue that this enhances the productivity of their executives by removing distractions from their travel experience.

But many are opposed to this practice.  Many people see it as a costly and needless expense, and many companies who engage in this practice suffer in the public eye.  A prime example was back in 2008 when auto industry execs flew to Washington in their private jets to ask for government bailout money.

Research on the economic performance of companies that require their executives to use private jets is mixed.  Some research shows that these companies underperform the stock market, while other research shows that these companies outperform their competition in some measures.

What are your thoughts, people?  Are private jets for corporate execs a necessary security precaution?  Do they really help to improve companies’ productivity?  Or are they an unnecessary perk?

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