Brother, can you spare a jet?

Orders for new aircraft are down, so the private jet industry has decided to launch a PR offensive to counter all the bad press it’s been getting over auto executives who flew private planes to beg for billions of dollars in government handouts. The message: “No plane, no gain.”

Lo and behold, two financial columnists expressed strikingly similar views on the subject this week.

Here’s Ben Stein’s take:

Then, once the attendees get to the meetings, they have to get up very early each day, hear speeches from experts in their fields, take notes, have seminars about their notes, hear more speeches, and meet new people to do more business. Then, exhausted from a very long day, they are offered the chance to play golf — and my experience is that most of them are far too tired to do so.

Waking up early, meeting people, attending seminars, hearing speeches and taking notes! How do they manage it all? Tired is the head that wears the crown.

Members of Congress, who love to catch a ride home on a contributor’s private plane, are helping out too. Just a few months after scolding auto executives for flying to Washington, Congress approved tax breaks to help those executives buy more planes.

Meanwhile, tongue firmly in cheek, JetBlue is welcoming bigwigs.

We understand it’s not easy being a high flyer these days. The CFO is picking apart your expense reports. Congress is mad about your bonus. And you can’t even hop on a private jet to the Cayman Islands without freaking out the shareholders. But even this economic cloud has a silver lining… actually more of a bluish lining. Because now you get to try JetBlue.

Welcome aboard. Um, do you mind switching seats?

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