Company perks: the sky's the limit

When it comes to perks, the most that many of us can expect is a company car, the odd lunch on expenses, and a boozy shindig at Christmas. Company jets tend to be way off the radar.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

There may be a lot of jealous eyes, then, at the news that a US telecoms chief exec has secured the use of his firm’s private jet to ferry his stepdaughter to school – 800 miles away. Edward Mueller, boss of Qwest Communications, had a clause written into his contract permitting his wife and stepdaughter to commute across the Rockies between Colorado and California. Seems a costly way to avoid Chinese burns and peanut ties on the school bus.

Over here we’d probably find such a practice excessive, especially when mothers doing the school run in SUVs causes such consternation. Indeed, if Qwest were based in the UK, its workers would probably have to navigate the prone bodies of climate protestors, super-glued to the doors of its headquarters, just to enter the office in the morning.

Still, in the US jet travel is not such an alien concept. With the sheer scale of the country, people use planes like we do trains. Ebay’s chief exec Meg Whitman ran up a bill of $773,467 in private air travel last year – outdone by David Hanna of CompuCredit, who enjoyed $1m of flight time on his company jet. And what is CompuCredit? It’s a sub-prime credit card issuer. Good to know that while sub-prime lending threw the rest of the world a market crisis, it at least meant he could enjoy complimentary peanuts at 30,000 feet.

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