The TSA wants to expand its reach to include the 15,000 private and corporate jets and 300+ small airports that are currently outside its jurisdiction. The security agency claims that many of the jets are the same size as small commercial planes and could be used to commit acts of terrorism. They want all private jet passengers and crews to pass a background check before boarding their planes. Private plane owners, pilots and corporate fliers are crying foul. Most call the proposed plan an invasion of privacy and a waste of money.
But whose money would it be wasting? According to the TSA, 85% of the $200 million per year it would take to fund the screening will come from fees charged to the jets’ owners and operators. The proposal does not include physical screening. Passengers and crews would have to provide ID and give their name and birth date. The TSA will most likely subcontract out the work to security firms that specialize in background checks. The proposal, which is more than 200 pages long, states that frequent fliers will only have to pass the background check once.
Reading about the lavishness of life for the Superbowl crowd who heads to Phoenix on Superbowl weekend makes me think of jets and donuts.
I’ve tended to pick jobs where free donuts are a treat. With coffee and half and half instead of creamer, it’s a celebration. Throw in pizza for lunch and it’s a holiday. I think perhaps I’ve aimed a bit low. But, don’t get me wrong, I love the jobs I’ve chosen. I just notice the contrasts between donuts and a corporate jet. Donuts are round for one thing–even the part that’s the hole.
For those who work in high flying corporate America a celebration is a different scene entirely. This scene is where the jets come in. According to this New York Times article, as of last Friday, 400 private jets filled with people are scheduled to land in Phoenix for the weekend to take in the excitement of being at the Superbowl. Many of the jets are chartered by companies looking to show their clients (and themselves) a good time. Others are jets owned by the companies. This is 50% more private jet traffic than last year.
Sixty thousand dollars equals 10 hours worth of jet travel, in case that sounds like a good time to you and you may want to rent a big jet yourself. Car rentals look cheap now, don’t they? Throw in a three-night-stay in a hotel and we’re talking serious cash. Three nights at the Ramada in Phoenix over the weekend is $2,382.78–and that’s the least expensive.
For those of us in the donut eating crowd, while we’re eating our glazed version of a good time, chew slowly and think about how long it’s going to take for all the private jets to leave Phoenix. It’s going to take awhile–longer than it takes to eat a donut. Some people may even have to hang out on a runway for awhile. Even money can’t speed up air traffic. How is a jet like a donut? It’s not.