Private jet travel can make great sense even if the political optics are tough especially when traveling between small cities on a tight schedule.
Walmart operates a fleet a private jets, not for their top executives but for middle managers traveling from Bentonville, Arkansas to stores in remote towns all over the country. It allows them to visit more than one store in a day versus taking two to three days per store.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, though, is coming under fire for one of his private jet flights last week: Washington Dulles – Philadephia.
He was traveling with 10 other people — which can make private jet travel more economical, however the charter company which flew the Secretary quotes a cost of “roughly $25,000” one-way for the Embraer 135LR.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services says,
“When commercial aircraft cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements, charter aircraft can be used for official travel.”
Price flew private from Washington Dulles to Philadelphia. He did so leaving at 8:27 a.m.
Price’s charter left Dulles at 8:27 a.m. A United Express CRJ-700 operated by Mesa flies daily from Dulles to Philadelphia at 8:30 a.m. American Airlines operates earlier flights from Washington National and Baltimore. Government rail options are available from downtown DC to Philadelphia downtown at 7:00 a.m., 7:25 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 8:10 a.m., 8:40 a.m., and 9:00 a.m.
My theory on all of this — the only thing that makes sense — is that Secretary Price and a couple of the other travelers were on a free JetSmarter trials and flying a free empty leg.
If not they still should have been able to get a better deal, pricing out a charter on the JetSmarter app (which I haven’t necessarily found to be the cheapest) allows for 10 people to fly at about half the cost cited by Politico.
A JetSmarter membership could be a wise move for Secretary Price who reportedly took 5 charter flights last week. Indeed considering that charter companies consulted by media covering this are saying that they’ve “never seen a flight like this for less than $20,000” and the JetSmarter app is quoting me $13,000.
(HT: Sean O.)