November 19th, 2008 by Sean
Earth to the not-exactly-Big 3 CEOs: When you fly to Washington to beg for an industry bailout, do yourselves a favor and leave the corporate jet at home. ABC News has thrown Rick Wagoner, Alan Mulally and Bob Nardelli directly under the bus, reporting that each exercised costly private jet perks for their joint appearance before Congress instead of setting an example by flying commercial.
In his taped report, ABC’s Brian Ross points out that Wagoner’s round-trip on the company G4 cost approximately $20,000. A first class, round-trip commercial ticket from Detroit would have instead cost around $900 (multiplied by however many people Rick had in his entourage). Ross questioned Wagoner about his using the jet as he was leaving the hearing. The GM CEO replied that it was used only for “urgent situations.” Alan Mulally also flew private, presumably on the same Ford-owned jet that ferries him and his wife home to Seattle on the weekends. No details were given on Nardelli’s travel specifics, other than that he too arrived on a private jet.
We understand that these are perks many CEOs enjoy, but when you’re about to stick your hand out for billions of dollars, it might help to suck it up and slum it in First Class like the rest of us. Oh, wait. Of course, the first class cabin on a Northwest Airlines jet isn’t as optimal for perfecting your presentation as a private, flying boardroom. On the other hand, a commercial flight would let the three CEOs all fly together so they can get their sob stories straight. Hang on to your wallets, everyone.