Small commercial carrier JetBlue jumped on the "Flying CEO" zeitgeist with a series of clever YouTube ads that poke fun at the image of CEOs who don't want to mingle with the hoi polloi. You can see them here, along with the unamused reaction of one self-decribed flying CEO.
The alphabet groups that promote business aviation seem to be taking a dim view of the ads. That's an entirely understandable, perfectly predictable response.
And it's dead wrong.
It perpetuates the popular image of CEOs as whiny rich men who are only interested in their money and their toys, with the business aviation industry being the chief toymakers.
Might I suggest something such as the following:
Scene - outdoors, general aviation airport. Middle-aged man in suit (carrying jacket, tie loosened) is walking across tarmac to an airplane, speaking to camera.
"Hi. I'm a corporate CEO. That means I make decisions every day that affect the people who work for my company. If I make a bad decision, they suffer the consequences. So, I try to make smart decisions - and wasting time is not a smart decision."
*looks directly at camera*
"That's why I don't fly on JetBlue."
*gestures at aircraft behind him*
"This little airplane gets me into more than five thousand small airports across the country. That's where my customers and suppliers are - nowhere close to the big airline hubs. And when I need to get someplace right away, I don't have to wait around for the next available flight. As a matter of fact, a customer in another state called me early this morning with an urgent problem. If I had to fly commercial, I'd be lucky to get there before noon, and really lucky to get home in time to put my kids to bed tonight. Most of my day would be wasted at the airport. But with this business tool, I can see my customer this morning, and be back in the office this afternoon. That's a smart decision."
*boards steps, looks back at camera, shrugs*
"I get to keep my shoes on, too."
Hat Tip Benet Wilson, via Twitter