During a speech to Duke University’s graduating class, Oprah talked about the secrets and joys of success. Among them: owning a mansion and a jet.
“It’s great to have a nice home. It’s great to have nice homes! It’s great to have a nice home that just escaped the fire in Santa Barbara,” she told the students. “It’s great to have a private jet. Anyone that tells you that having your own private jet isn’t great is lying to you.”
She went on to explain that “you haven’t completed the circle of success until you help someone else move to a higher ground and get to a better place.”
The golden nugget here is the jet part. In these times of hair-shirt capitalism and envy politics, the wealthy have been going to great lengths to pretend they don’t enjoy luxury or want nice stuff. If Oprah were like most of the faux-populist rich today, she would have said something like, “I don’t need private jets, in fact I’m happier flying commercial and living in a small house. I like the simple life.” Of course, she would be lying.
But she didn’t. She told the truth, which is that flying in a private jet is one of the great material perks that money can buy. (Talk to anyone who used to be rich and they will say one thing they really miss is the jet. Apparently Oprah’s ride is a $42 million custom-build Global Express XRS built by Bombardier Aerospace).
For the past few months, the private-jet industry has been mounting an enormous public-relations campaign to get people to fly private again. It will take a recovery and wealth creation to really turn the business around. Perhaps for the public-relations part, it should forget all the boring arguments about jobs and productivity and efficiency and run a picture of Oprah with one simple line: “It’s Great to Have a Private Jet.”