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Private Air Charter: Campaign Toy or Invaluable Tool?

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

JFK Stepping off of his campaign plane "Caroline"

The road to the White House isn’t always a straight path, and sometimes it involves transportation without using roads or paths at all, sometimes candidates NEED to fly. Forget popular culture’s view of the private jet as the ultimate symbol of extravagance. Strategic use of private charter can be the difference between a successful campaign and your candidate ending up in the dustbin of history, nothing more than a historic footnote. We’ll break it all down for you in this blog.


America the Beautiful

The United States of America is indeed a beautiful sprawling country from the purple mountain majesties of Colorado, the amber waves of grain of Omaha, and from New Hampshire sea to shining California sea. Oh, and don’t forget Florida! If you have ever packed up the family in a car and driven cross-country, you know how long (and sometimes painful) it can be to travel all of those miles. Even with the most luxurious campaign bus it can be impossible to arrive rested and ready for that next campaign stop traveling via motor coach. Comfort aside, above all, the time factor is going to be the driving force behind needing to fly between destinations. Battleground states are far apart, which means that every campaign needs a strategy to get there. Take our home state of New Hampshire, It can take three hours to get from Manchester, New Hampshire to Boston given the (awful) traffic conditions and (constant/never-ending) road construction. You could fly from Concord, New Hampshire to Florida in the same amount of time! So what’s a candidate to do when they have to be in two different cities 400 miles apart in the same day? Enter the ultimate campaign schedule tool – air charter.


O Beautiful for Spacious Skies

Make no mistake, flying private is a distinct campaign advantage, not some pampered candidate boondoggle. While some candidates are fortunate enough to be able to fly on their own private aircraft, or are able to borrow a business jet from a donor, others have to figure out a way to level the playing field. This is where strategically utilizing air charter makes tremendous sense. The typical light or mid-size business jet can accommodate between 8-14 people. This would allow candidates to travel with their campaign managers, closest staff members, and possibly even some reporters. Other staff can still fly commercially from city to city, saving on travel costs while ensuring that critical campaign engagements are kept.

Using a combination of private air charter and airline service is a great approach, but there are occasions when commercial service isn’t available or doesn’t operate into smaller communities where events are being held. That can mean planes, trains and automobiles to get to just a single destination, chewing up the time available to the candidate to shake hands and kiss babies (if kissing babies is still a thing).

So how does a candidate fly between these smaller markets with less commercial service? Many of them charter a private flight during the campaign. Especially as candidates get deeper into the race, an aircraft becomes an essential tool to get to all of the many back-to-back appearances required along the campaign trail. Often, it may be that one single connection between small town A to small town B where a private jet is the difference between making the schedule work and missing a critical event. The benefit of on-demand air charter is that you can plug and play, using it only when you need to.


God shed his grace on thee (when using private jets)

The media (and opposing campaign HQs) are sometimes quick to point the finger at candidates who utilize business jets on the campaign trail, arguing the point that if they are using a private jet then they must not care about their carbon footprint, global warming, or the working-class man or woman in the street. However, if they were to take a step back and compare an eight-hour bus drive with a two-hour flight they would realize that the high efficiency engines on a light private jet operated for two hours has around the same emissions as a tour bus would over an eight hour period. At the end of the day, these candidates are not jet setting around for fun, they are using the most efficient and fastest means of transportation available. With such a busy travel itinerary, a private jet charter is often the only logistical solution that can make a modern campaign itinerary possible.


Crown thy good with brotherhood (and private jets)

Image matters. Nothing looks more officious than a press conference whereby the candidate is standing on the tarmac with a nice, shiny business jet behind them, and nothing looks more quintessentially presidential than a candidate standing and waving from the top of the air stairs. Consider this - your candidate’s best policies and ideas will never see the light of day if the campaign is not successful. The strategic and judicious use of air charter can make the difference between making the impossible schedule possible, and getting your candidate where they need to be, so they end up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2021.


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