FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The British Prime Minister broke protocol big time during his trip to the U.S. - he flew commercial.
As one British reporter put it, David Cameron was "slumming it in business class" on the flight from London to Washington.
How refreshing. Cameron didn't take his own private jet, he didn't even fly first class. Turns out Cameron is actually walking the walk when it comes to fiscal austerity. Britain, like much of Europe, is in the midst of making drastic cuts to many government programs in order to keep its economy afloat.
Under normal circumstances, Prime Ministers travel on their own planes. They either charter a Boeing 747 or 767 or use military jets. But Downing Street officials say that Cameron's commercial flight saved $300,000. In the grand scheme of things, the amount isn't that significant - but the gesture is huge.
As one British official tells the newspaper The Sun: "When we are asking the country to tighten their belts as much as we are it's very hard to justify hiring big jets to swan around the world. It may make his travel a little harder, but the Prime Minister believes it's up to him to set an example."
Are you listening, Nancy Pelosi?
Of course, having top government officials fly commercial can cause nightmares for security-types. And it's certainly not as convenient. According to The Sun, Cameron's meetings in Washington had to be scheduled around British Airways' schedule.
Never mind all that. It's just great. Imagine the money U.S. taxpayers could save if more of our lawmakers slummed it with the rest of us on commercial airplanes.
Here’s my question to you: Is there a lesson for our politicians in the British prime minister flying commercial to America?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Hey Jack, Perhaps if the politicians flew like us and got to work like us, they may understand "us" a little better. Unfortunately both sides of the aisle have a huge disconnect between them and us and they don't know what it feels like to be a regular person anymore.
Jeff in Minnesota writes:
It all depends, Jack. What about the security of people that ended up on the plane with him? Personally, I wouldn't want to travel with a government official that has a giant target painted on his back like the prime minister of the UK. What would the press be saying if the plane had been attacked? …It makes for great press, but it really was a stupid gesture in my book.
Wendel in Ohio writes:
I'd love to sit next to a politician on a flight. I could ask him if I could borrow a few dollars for a drink without worrying about paying him back. He'll relate.
I'd give a month's salary to say, "No breaking in line, Ms. Pelosi. You're in zone 6."
Slumming it in Coach writes:
I am nowhere near being a fan of Nancy Pelosi, but she did sit across the aisle from me in coach on a flight from Reagan National Airport to Minneapolis a couple weeks ago.
We should applaud Mr. Cameron. Now only if our pious elected officials would follow suit. If the present security for commercial travel is good for the "common folk," then it should be good for any elected official or government employee. As they say - everyone is replaceable - that is why we have a democracy.
Absolutely! And since when is business class "slumming it"? Last row of coach, maybe.
Can we ask Great Britain to take us back and save us from Obama, Reid and Pelosi?
I think it should be law that our politicians have to fly commercial. Not only would it save fortunes, but I think it would be good for them to have to spend a couple hours with the everyday citizens of this country. I'd love to get a senator or congressman in the seat next to mine on a flight! I think it's just about the only way I could get, and keep, their attention long enough to tell them anything!
And as a sidenote, we'd probably get far more effective legislation about bag fees, tarmac wait times, and other airline industry issues if the people making the laws had actually ever *used* the service....
Don't be silly Jack, do you really think our Above the Average Person Congressman would stoop to flying in a measly commercial plane, I damn surprised that each one of them doesn't want a Gulfstream Five to jet around on.
Of course there is a lesson. Will it be learned? Jack, thanks for the laugh, I needed it.
It's essential for our President to continue using Air Force One. During 9/11, it provided security for all Americans knowing that our leadership was safe and could still govern. Congress on the other hand, needs no such luxury. Have Nancy fly coach and get body scanned like the rest of us.
Airlines can now charge extra to their regular passengers whenever they are flying a VVIP on their plane. Greater security, better on-time departure and arrival, and possibly better service. Not only does it save the public's money, it will increase revenue for the airlines and contribute to improving the economy.
First, let’s get Pelosi off the hook here, and you must know this if I do, Jack. Prior to 9/11 the Speaker flew commercial like everyone else. After 9/11, President Bush decreed the Speaker, as 3rd in line to the Presidency, should also fly with security. Denny Hastert flew in a small jet to his home in Illinois. With Pelosi living in California and Hastert’s jet having limited range, they use a larger plane that can go non-stop, and that is for obvious security reasons and not Pelosi’s choice. Now, as for your question, the rest of the Congressional Clowns should fly coach like the rest of us have to. Theoretically, anyway, don’t they work for us? Since I’m buying the ticket, it’s coach, bubba.
Wow, good for David Cameron!! I'm impressed...however what does the UK spend on the Queen and her court?
Of course there's a lesson Jack but the real question should be - Will American politicians like Pelosi actually implement commercial air travel for themselves? My big money bet is ABSOLUTELY NOT. Can you imagine Nancy or any others in high political places taking a seat alongside Joe Lunchbucket? Not on your life pal - NOT ON YOUR LIFE.
Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona
It sounds good on the surface, but you just can't guarantee security on commercial airliners, even if it's in a post-9/11 world. I know that sounds paranoid, and maybe it is :).
Is there a lesson for our politicians in the British prime minister flying commercial to America?
Yes, a World Leader should be smart enough to know that Commerical Planes are easy pickings to terrorists, often late and over crowded. Sorry I'm late for my metting Mr. President my plane landed late and we sat out on the tarmac for hours.
This was just a political stunt and shows a poor lack of sound judgement.
Those poor Brits are stuck with him for how long?
It doesn't matter what The US President flies on it's still going to be airforce one. But I can imagine the president flying american airlines, until the FootBall comes up missing from the luggage compartment and they lose his other bags. Can you picture them trying to give him $1500 to pay for the nuclear missile codes? And when they end up in arizona at the lost baggage center how much will they cost?
There is a huge lesson to be learned. The President should still fly on AF1, but I don't think anyone would even notice that a representative or senator were on the plane.
There would be a lot less resentment among taxpayers if we felt our money was not being wasted. Personal extravagances of Congress is at the top of the list, and flying commercial would go a long way toward convincing us they really care about cutting spending. Not that it will ever happen!
There is no excuse for politicians to not fly regular commercial flights. I believe we fought a war a couple of hundred years ago that got rid of royal entitlements. Elected officials are supposed to represent the citizens, so why not be like the citizens and fly commercial?
Jack – I don't know about overseas trips or other junkets, but I am a frequent flyer, and I always see many in the Washington State delegation at SeaTac on Monday mornings – Jim McDermott, Patty Murray, and Rick Larson in particular. They have coach tickets and wait for upgrades like the rest of us frequent flyers...
Regardless of who is POTUS at the time, I as an American want the arrival of the President in a foreign nation to be an event. A big one. Not a "Oh, welcome Mr. President, baggage claim is down the escalator to the right."
Congresscritters? Forget it. I saw Ted Kennedy get off a Delta flight one day about 10 years ago, shouldering his own carry-on. First class I'm sure- but the point is if one of the biggest silver-spooned blue bloods in American history can fly commercial, so can Frau Pelosi and the rest of her ilk.
Lawmakers? Absolutely. The President? NEVER! It would be too risky.
And that goes for WHOEVER is in the Oval Office, regardless of race, gender or political party.
There are a few lessons in there....problem is that Americans revere the position of President to the point that he/she is unlikely to fly a small commuter jet rather than Air Force One, never mind going commercial. The Prime Minister lives in a small house, has far less power and is in simple terms the first minister to the Queen. Good luck with that.
I can't imagine our president flying commercial. There have throughout time been so many people gunning for our presidents, and some have been successful, unfortunately. We need to do everything we can to protect him at all times. Flying commercial would be suicide for him or her.
Of course our politicians could learn a thing or two about reducing costs for these types of things. Matter of fact, if they were really concerned with the deficit or pay/go for an extension on unemployment, they would cut their costs! Imagine how much money we could save if we didn't pay for their health care! They make enough money for doing nothing - let them pay for it!!!
Senator Patty Murray of Washington State flies commercial, economy class, and handles her own luggage. I've seen it on more than one occasion.
There are lesson for our politicians to learn but they are all sitting in the corner of the classroom with the DUNCE hat on. I do admit that some of our leaders in line for the presidency, for security reasons, should continue to fly as they do.
Well, it depends. It'd be a nightmare for security personnel. But it would save thousands of dollars and over time millions of dollars that the US federal government can use later in time for bills and laws. It would also show a connection between the highest elected official flying with regular every day people. How can the people of the country be asked to tighten their belts, when the elected officials won't.
Jack, many politicians do fly commercial. I've shared flights with a congressman and a cabinet member (and his staff). Obviously it would be unthinkable for the President, VP or even Sec. of State and Sec. of Defense to fly commercial. Not only are there security concerns, but flying to Kabul or Baghdad is just plain impossible. However, I'm all for Congress and domestic cabinet members flying commercial. The Secretary of the Interior, Treasury, Energy, etc don't travel nearly as ofte as State and Defense, and spend most of their time within the United States. They should fly the commercial skies like the rest of us. Heck, I'd even do my patriotic duty and let them have the window seat.
I flew home to maine from visiting DC several years ago (coach, of course). Right there a few rows back and opposite side was Sen. Olympia Snowe.
It is about time some elected officials dumped their Royal Carriages and came down to earth with the rest of us.
If a plane is not safe enough for the majority of the fliers, then why should we charter jets for our elite elected officials.
Please let me know what plane the Prime Minister will be on. Since he has to be one of the top targets for Al Queda I'd just as soon take another flight.
Sure there is Jack. Our politicians teach us to just throw money at a problem and keep spending instead of taking a step back and buying only what we can afford. After over 2 years of this economic crisis it is nice to see a World leader who finally gets it.
Yes, A huge lesson, really save us money because you are one of us. Its time to walk the walk , not just talk the talk. We are watching!!!!
I think that Prime Minister Cameron flying commercial is a magnificent gesture. Here is a politician that is in touch with the problems he is talking about in speeches he gives. I find it ridiculous for our politicians on both sides of the isle taking private jets to their districts to give speeches on financial responsibility
What other choice he has, next time he will be traveling by Ship, to save cost, as usual behind times thinking and thoughts..
No. I feel very concerned for the safety of our government officials flying commercial considering the amount of radical extremists living in our country.
New Carlisle OH
I willing to cut MOST of the so-called perks of being an elected official in this country. Being elected to public office is supposed to be about temporary service to the public and not about a permanently elevated status of publicly funded elegance.
I think the British Prime Minister is a breath of fresh air! He is there to serve his people and he knows this I hope we start to see some of this with our politicians who are so self serving.
Politicians riding side by side with their "Bosses"? Wow it could mean they will no longer be as out of touch if we had to slum with them on a flight..
I like the protection afforded to our president, flying Air Fore One, but I certainly think that the rest of the government employees, including Congress, should fly commercial. If the flights are incovenient, oh well .....
Transatlantic Business Class isn't exactly the same as slumming it with the commoners. I'll be impressed when he flies coach with the rest of us slobs.
I don't believe due to security issues that Prime Ministers, Presidents, any head of a country or second in command should fly commercial. However for Senators, Congressmen,etc. it is perfectly appropriate and would save the countries plenty of money
Two heads of state A & B are walking down the street. Both A & B have 1 million dollars in their pocket. The A head of state has a hole in the pocket and money is falling out. The B head of state has no hole and nothing is falling out. Who gets more attention ? A....or B? As head of A or B security who should get more concern. " anonymous typically refers to a person, and often means that the personal identity, or personally identifiable information of that person is not known" SO I ask you who is safer? As for being harder to schedule....99.999 % of all the rest of the world goes commjercial and it works out. Why do these folks need to go private first class WAY TO GO PM.
If there is a lesson here, it's a lesson in political stuntsmanship.
Come on, Jack. Do you really think that it's a good idea for US political leaders (of whatever stripe) to travel around on commercial flights?
I can think of one group that would just love that: Al-Qaeda.
Thank you a segment about something besides Sharrod. The
President would be hard pressed to fly commercial due to security
concerns.(Wouldn't the world be a better place if he could)
jack you are always purporting that some other person or entity is doing it better than the good old USA. Now if the British are setting such an example, lets see them turn Buckingham Palace into an art Museum and open it to the public, and stop funding the Queen and her royal entourage to the tune of 100's of millions of pounds a year. Thats a lovely gesture that the PM rode commercial, but imagine the mayhem it causes for the other paying passengers and the airport when he does that. We are a big country, you cant drive across the nation in a few hours like Britain. If the government officials need to fly, they are going to. and saving that money isnt going to cut taxpayers bill one bit. they will find some other way to waste it.
Thats not going to happen long....We will see you in six months. Although the savings are there..Are presidents must be regarded at a certain level and security is key...Nice gesture..I do applaud.
Yes, symbolic acts of austerity constitute good leadership if they're followed up by real solutions. Let's see is Cameron can get British pensioners to dine on catfood and then we'll know they've addressed their fiscal problems by cramming them down to those who can least afford it.
Oh come on Jack get real British airways is the Prime ministers airforce 1.
can you just see our president trudging through washington National airport with 2 kids and try and get through security??
he can't go out for lunch without the media comming down on him. Imagine the mess it would cause, if you missed your flight because if it.
isn't DC screwed up enough??
Of course there's a lesson – politicians below the federal level should always fly commercial. However, politicians on the federal level, such as President Obama, should indeed continue to fly on Air Force One. It is an international symbol of the United States.
Cheap shot at Nancy Pelosi. That story about her "demands" for government planes ebbed after it became known that it was recommended to her by the Ppentagon or the NSA in the wake of 9-11 that she should use a larger plane for travel home to California for security reasons – that a larger military plane could carry more fuel and thereby eliminate the need for a refueling stop halfway across the country, with the added security risk that stop posed.
Not the stupidest or most expensive blunder made in the wake of 9/11, if a blunder at all.
I know it's pretentious and everyone knows it, but the President should have Air Force One. It still serves as a sign for the most powerful nation on Earth (whatever that may mean today). As for the rest of the jokers, let 'em fly commercial and make them pay for it! With telecom so ubiquitous, our heads will snap when we see how much less they travel.
I was flying coach a few years ago when Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (now runng for governor) sat three rows in front of me (also in coach).
I think it is extremely admirable that the British Prime Minister flew a commercial flight to the U.S. Maybe our American politicians can learn something from this....I would like to think that some of our American tax dollars aren't being used to pay for ego-centered politicians who think they deserve a private flight, but unfortunately that's where some of the tax dollars go! Sit in economy in the middle seat and join the rest of the American people.
Are you listening, Nancy Pelosi, Are you listening, Barack Obama?
Our president's constant campaigning and vacation travels are costing taxpayers a bundle! Why must we pay for his campaigning for Reid and other Democrats all over the country? Why doesn't the Democratic Party pay for these trips?
You want to know where to start cutting expenses? Start by cutting campaigning and vacationing travel in taxpayers' airplanes, helicopters and buses!
I can say without a doubt that the idea of government officials spending less tax payer dollars on luxuries is a wonderful thing. Hopefully our politicians can learn to stop spending on frivolous things. Assuming safety and national security is not an issue, I think using commercial airlines is a great idea for politicians.
How about a comparison between Cameron's travel to the U.S. and Obama's to the G20 Summit in Britain? Dale McFeatters from the Scripps News Service wrote an editorial on Obama's excesses which included his own chefs, several doctors – a total entourage of nearly 500 people. While I don't feel the American president should travel on a commercial airline, the excesses of this White House during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression is appalling. Oh, and that would include Michelle and girls side trip to London for tea early in the presidency.
Of course there is a lesson to be learned, and the learning should start at the very top - remember the mulitple planes and vehicles for the entourage for a date night in NYC? The endless parties at the WH which are not official state dinners? Walking the walk is always harder than talking the talk.
I agree Jack, it's absolutely great! As a former diplomatic security agent overseas, it always made me scratch my head the money taxpayers everywhere forked over for transportation for even the most unheard of dignitary,diplomat, or head of state. You can save a lot less by using commercial means and still maintaining adequate security for Heads of State and dignitaries and that money does add up throughout the year/years. In this day and age, we're all saving where we can or should be, and that should start from the top.
We need leaders to be working – not spending time in airports. Would you really want guys in charge of a $3,000,000,000,000 budget worry about saving $300,000? That's off on a scale of magnitude so huge, it doesn't even compute.
Get them back to work as soon as possible and give them whatever tools they need to do the job – regardless of whether they are R or D. The symbolic gesture would simply cost way more than it was worth.
Indeed this is a refreshing idea, and I would hope that from the top down "our" government officials will take heed.
When the USA gets rid of the people in the USA who are sending death threats – everyday to the President, and to the Congress – only when that STOPS – can the US President fly business class!
In this country we have people sending death threats – every day to the President, and to the person third in line to the Presidency – that's (Pelosi) . So they need to be protected – especially the President! And the President's family, and children!
Get rid of the nut jobs in this country who want to kill the President, and only then can we get rid of the plane he rides in!
I agree with you Jack – YOU BET THERE IS. There's no reason why Congress & Senate Reps & EVEN THE VP can't travel commercial when they're NOT traveling with the President.
Think of the ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTIONS they would be making EACH & EVERY time they do this. Heck, they'd save MILLIONS OF $$$ a year.
oh jack let me count the ways! millions here millions there 100 senators plus aids that would be a down payment on health care
Cheers to the PM! This sets the bar for the rest of the world leaders now. They could start with the next G8 and G20 summits. Instead of my tax money being spent on security for them, why couldn't they have just Skype each other. If they can keep Obama's blackberry secure I'm sure they can find the technology to hold a summit of world leaders without the travel and expense.
While our illustrious senators are battling over cuts to pay for the $33.5 bill to supply unemployment benefits to our countries most needy, Let me tell them were they can find some of that money! Start flying commercial when you go on vacations and breaks. Also limit your office expenditures! Why a senator needs 3 or 4 offices or pay $18,000 a month for an office is a bit on the high side.
During the Clinton administration, I was returning from a business trip to California to Dulles airport. Seated two rows up and across the aisle – In Coach was Atty General Reno. Interesting that this was the last administration to run a budget surplus.
The circumstances are different. Not many people would even know him, at least not in this country, if they were to see him in the airport; but let's give it some time now that he will become even less and less anonymous. However, I would not trust some of our citizens enough for the president to do the same. As for the other politicians, I definitely think they should spend less on travel, without a doubt.
Of course there is a a great lesson to be learned here. Not only would Americans have to pay lower taxes but politicians would get a better feel of "real" America. But sadly Jack, I don't think you, me, Wolf, or anyone else truly believes we will ever see Nancy Pelosi on out Southwest Airlines flight.
I love it !!!!...way to go Britain....if it's good enough for the PM there, it's good enough for anyone (well, maybe not the president of the US, for safety reasons)...let's hope Nancy Pelosi was listening....and how refreshing to see a politician practice what he or she preaches!!!....when your gig is up in Britain, we'll take you in Canada!!!
Mind you Jack He should have come through golf of Mexico.
Not only would it save money, but the more our politicians have to interact with the world the rest of us inhabit, the quicker things like the air passenger's bill of rights would get passed.
You bet-cha! Brilliant! While "business" is not exactly like the common folk travel (cramed in coach), its much closer than private aircraft. Heck, they might even get into a real conversation with a real person who has real problems, joys, pressures, deadlines, AND contributions to make. Military aircraft is ok – at least it is a way of staying in touch with the troops. Perhaps they should alternate... two or three trips on commercial and then one on military. This is brilliant stuff.... Now.. Does congress really need their own aircraft.. ?? They should sell the congressional aircraft and make them wait in line with the rest of us. Great Question Mr Cafferty!
Absolutely ridiculous! The security situation alone is enough of a reason for a head of state to not fly on an airliner. These airplanes are "time machines" for our leaders. If you think things move slowly now, let's have our officials travel on the airlines. Maybe they can schedule the next summit in the VIP lounge at JFK.
That was a truly stupid stunt by Cameron. Either there was great risk of the phenomenal cost of dealing with an assassinated Prime Minister or far more money was spent on security than was saved on the cost of the flight.
Jim, Craig, CO
This is a great example for us, not just for fiscal responsibility, but think of all the pollution that DIDN'Tt occur because the British PM flew commercial. Kudos!
Silver Spring, MD
At last, a politician that inspires, not by words but by deeds. Good for him.
There's a lesson there alright Jack but don't hold your breath waiting for our nobles to follow suit. I read how much it costs to run Pelosi around in the jet she "insisted" she needed and it made me downright disgusted. Our politicians only care about slinging mud at the other party and getting reelected. Saving "our" money just isn't part of mind set.
Of coarse there is a lesson to be learned. If every American politician who thinks he is to important to fly like the rest of us was required
to,it would probably cover the cost of running air force one and leave money left over to fund a few dozen other programs.Besides as a public
figure you should have the guts to take the same risk the rest of us do as
ordinary citizens , because we are the ones who put you on that elected
And where does the Speaker of the House stand in line for the Presidency?
The example and gesture was excellent. However in these days of security requirements that you mentioned, the need for immediate secure communications and so much more that is required of any countries leaders will make it a difficult thing to continue. As for our congressional folks we have the chain of who takes over if something happens to those above them that have some security and communications requirements that dictate private jets. Do some of them take advantage of this. You bet. We've seen everything from requested size of planes to frequency of flights. It's been going on for a long time and yes they can learn from it and trim, even if it's just a comparatively small "gesture" dollar amount, the cost of this perk.
Very refreshing. Would love to know however how much the total cost was as I am sure he traveled with a sizable entourage.
I would say Citizens of the United States should demand this of their leaders, but we try to assassinate our leaders far too often for reasons unbecoming. I think the Citizens of the United Kingdom are more formal and respectful of their leaders. The governors of states can barely get on a public plane. It is sad our leaders need that much protection from his or her own people.
Yes Jack there is a lesson that could be learned from the British Minister taking a commercial flight. Remember though that we will have to put our politicians in a special ED class, because they are all a little slow when it comes to saving money. It mayrequire a teacher for every politician we have. That's how slow they are when it comes to doing the right thing. thanks Jack. I'm from a small town in Florida
The lesson is a simple one: politicians are no better than the people they were elected to represent. The real question is are any of our so-called leaders (of either party) wise enough to heed that lesson/
This is indeed a refreshing idea. I hope from the TOP down our
government officials will take heed.
Don, Winston-Salem, NC
I think it was a suitable gesture and perhaps one that is better aimed lower within any administration. With the advent or airborne terrorism it would be better to have our world leaders isolated from obvious risk, which could also translate into heightened risk for their fellow travellers.
Nice gesture, for the Brit PM. However I can just imagine the security headaches this caused at Heathrow. President Obama & his family receive enough death threats from the wingnuts at home to put them at further risk by flying commercial, while every media outlet reports the event.
Although I can see from a security standpoint how such an approach wouldn't work for the POTUS, I think it's most feasible for everyone else on capital hill where the majority of Americans can't tell Dick from Jane. I would imagine this is where the bulk of our federal travel budget resides. But, Pelosi flying commercial...please.
A couple of years ago our UK friends arrived in the US and reported that Jimmy Carter had flown across the Atlantic in business class and actually moved around the cabin and introduced himself. Imagine that. Yes, I think our public officials could all use a little humility and traveling with the unwashed masses would go a long way toward getting in touch with those they represent.
You bet there is!
In a time of financial uncertainty such as the one we're currently under, it is the 'leaders of a group' that demonstrate just how ' for the people' they are. It's hard to justify 'first-class' and private jet travel in a time when the 'common man' not only can't fly, but doesn't even have a job!
When I'm in congress, and I am running in the future, you can bet your you know what that commercial is all I'll do....
Orlando V. Gonzalez MD
Yes, I think it is an excellent idea! Just think, politicians rubbing elbows for hours with the general public where they can't control the environment? Amazing! And the benefits: helps the economy, hear real people, grass routes campaigning, etc! Wow!
What PM Cameron did was a rediculous gesture, Jack. As a head of state, it is important that Cameron and others remember that such actions are the catnip that attract terrorists and other kooks out there. If I were a passenger on that plane, knowing that the British PM was on board, I would've been sweating bullets.
Michael Blomberg takes the subway, and there has been many reports of terrorist threats on the NY subway system. VP Biden takes the train to Delaware, yet there have been train accidents along the same line. To hear that high level officials believe that they can be normal people is absurd and reckless. As far as I'm concerned, PM Cameron and others should take a more secure method of transportation. I wouldn't want to be in coach with them on a terrorist target!
Kudo's to Britains Prime Minister for flying business class to our country this week. Yes, Nancy Polosi and all government employees take note: When you run for the House or other government positions, be it from California or where ever, you do it knowing the distance you'll have to travel, e.g., to D.C. to perform your service, etc. Do private citizens of this country get reimbursed or government planes to take them to and from their home to go to work? Of course not. Stop it now Polosi. Set an example of austerity and decency when it comes to spending our money.
Of course there is a lesson in the British prime minister's commercial flight. Although he is a world leader, he is recognizing the difficulties his citizens are going through financial and trying not to burden taxpayers with a little extra charge.
It's just decent of him. Just because everyone else travels in G-5's doesn't mean that you have to.
After all, 300K can add up very quickly when you are an important.
World Leader Frequent Flyer Miles? Maybe...
Jack- I just don't see it happening. God forbid a Republican take this risk and sit next to the little people, especially one that might be unemployed.
Jack! If all the government people start flying commercial, just think of all the turn-over potential in Washington! I know that Al Qaeda and the Taliban will be thrilled at the opportunities to get fresh viewpoints in Washington. The possibilities are endless.......
It would be very refreshing to see our leaders/politicians to act fiscally responsible like this. Unfortunately I do not see this happening.
Is there a lesson to learn? How funny, that this country was founded because we wanted to get away from having someone else "teach us further lessons", yet here we are, still learning from our former "teachers". Our politicians still have alot to learn. I think people want to feel as though Washington understands that we are all tighting our belts and that they should too. Our politicians should freeze their salaries, downsize on traveling and take whatever measures are necessary until this crisis is over.
Z. David/Bx, NY
ALL politicians should be setting an example by taking salary and benefit cuts just like their constituents.It would be one thing if there was no deficit and thing were hunky dory and filled with sunshine. This countries leaders seem to be asleep at the wheel and are quite content at letting the boat go over the falls.
The government is handing out raises to federal employees like they are printing the money themselves back in the Lincoln Bedroom. All of our leaders from the President all the way down to the Governors of each state should make cuts in their own salaries and benefits. If they set the example then everyone will follow. Salaries for all government employees should be performance based not an entitled right of tenure. That include our Congress. They get raises all the time, but the American people don't get jack didly in return most of the time.
The CEO's are another story. There should be salary and performance caps and no more golden parachutes. If you mess the company up, you get to walk out the door empty handed.
Could we at least require that the ff miles earned on flights paid for by the taxpayers be used for a coach seat on another flight which we taxpayers would otherwise have to pay for.
Sure there are some lessons to be learned, unfortunately our leaders will most likely ignore any suggestions that they should come down to earth and live like the rest of us.
The lesson that needs to be learned is for the voters who keep voting in the same people time and time again. The longer they are there the more they feel they are entitled to.
Yes I think politiansshould do what they want you todo; that is why I LIKE JERRY BROWN BECAUSE HE PRACTICE WHAT PREACHED WHEN HE WAS GOVERNOR i didn't mine doing what he asked us to do because he had a small car and state employees could not take gifts.
The US could take the government car away like Pres. Carter did.
Jack, I think that is an awful idea.I know you will be the first person to talk
about it if Tea party members attacks them in commercial airline.
As a mid-level Federal Government employee I am directed to travel in "coach." Why high level Federal Government employees are not subjected to the rules that they impose on me is baffling. Every Federal Government employee, with the exception of The President and his cabinet SHOULD be forced to fly at the very least in 'business class."
I could never imagine President Obama flying commerically especially given our current political and "racial" climate. Unfortuanetly there are very ignorant people in our society who not only disagree with Mr. Obama's politics, but will not accept him as President based upon his father's race....(people tend to forget that his mother was caucasian/white.) For security purposes Mr. Obama can not model the British Prime Minister's example.
The key word in leadership is LEAD. That is a vital lesson that all of our politicians have forgotten. Leadership also begins at the top. If the President made similar gestures (not necessarily the flight) and the Congress men and women, life would be much different for all involved.
The party that stepped up and returned a portion of their salaries – which they all voted for in the ramp up to this economic decline, and could help with the deficit, or help keep unemployment insurance going for a little more, just for example – those folks would not only win favor in the eyes of the American public who are tightening their own belts – they could also shame the other party into joining them and helping out.
If they did this we might actually believe that they listen, they care, they want to do a good job.........but is that possible?!
If you lead from the top – only good things can happen!
Certainly, sir. It's genious at work that the top of any large organization, should they fly coach. While the savings in money can amount to some real money the message it sends is, "I am with you. I am one of the people in your world." Most of these $50,000.00 suits just don't get it. They are in a different world altogether. Such a gesture means a great deal to the rest of the organization, in this case an entire nation, in terms of motivation and feelings of self worth. This is the same message I tried to convey to Mike Nelligan at Ideal Basic Industries during that Fortune 500 company's dramatic demise in 1986. Sadly, this gesture of wisdom earned me a ticket to the front of the "reduction in force" (RIF) line and ruined my career for life. My hat is off to the person in the prime minister's enteurage who came up with the idea.
Now and then the English show us the way – in this way it sounds normal that any person in government should look over his shoulder since we voted them in this position and they should use MY money very sparingly since I have friends without jobs that are in need more than what they know. Saving money when you use other people's money is a obligation.
Of course there is a lesson here for our politicians. But we know from election after election that they are poor students and slow learners. Perhaps we will be surprised and our boys and girls spontaneously start saving taxpayer money.
Jack, some people said they never thought they would see an African-American president in their life time. Well for me, it was that I never thought and don't think I will see an African-American president flying on a commercial airplane in my lifetime. But the chances of that happening would heavily increase if President Obama was elected a second term.
All gov't officials should fly business class.VPLubrano,cos cob,ct
I know congressmen who fly home on little-bitty commercial puddle-jumpers. So do our soldiers who come home from Iraq and Afghanistan in very many situations as well as those troops flying within the US. By the way, they have to pay for their own flights once back home. All in all, more government employees fly commercially than those who don't.
I was getting on a plane in Jacksonville and who gets off of that plan, Charlie Crist. The airline was Southwest who doesn't even have First or Business class. That's doing it right.
Huge lesson. There are still 1.2 million Americans called 99ers, who were left out of the unemployment compensation package, because Congress feels it's too expensive to offer help.
These people have depleted their savings, lost homes and are left to die, while politicans reserve private jets for themselves. How can they live with themselves????
What a great idea! Maybe if a few of those politicians isolated in their ivory tower on Capitol Hill and in their 'private' government aircraft were forced to mingle with us regular folks standing in line at airport security or waiting in the boarding areas, they might finally gain a more realistic sense of their constituents' daily concerns ... and not just about air travel. Imagine if Pelosi and other Congresspersons were 'captive' in a regular airliner for a couple hours with passengers bending their ear about everything from the "war" in Iraq and Afghanistan to healthcare to unemployment! They might actually learn a few things!
Of course, it's a great lesson for our leaders. But, we all know they flunk every class in common sense 101 so there's no use in even bringing it up.
The lesson is – stop throwing money away on things you think you're entitled to. Remember that you are a public servant, and as such are not entitled to anything above that of your constituents.
@Dorothy Austin, TX "I'm impressed ... however what does the UK spend on the Queen and her court?" Well, Dorothy, they spend roughly $1 per person in the UK per year. That's it.
Yes! Absolutely..especially for those espousing cutting spending and fiscal responsibility GREAT!...putting such soundbites into action....PRICELESS!
Come on jack - MOST of the people on the plane were probably The Prime Minister's security staff, and his government staff.
The UK government probably bought up MOST of the tickets for the flight, so the majority of the people on the flight were government staff members, with a FEW strangers sprinkled in.
Basically he paid for the plane, and had a few starngers out on it – but MOST of the people on the plane were Government staff members, and the Prime Minister's security staff
I agree with you Mr Cafferty. Our elected leaders need to set the example. Are you listening Nancy Pelosi? How many millions of dollars could go toward extended unemployment benefits if she didn't demand to fly non-stop to California. And, Al gore would be proud of her going green.
Yes more politicians should fly like everyone else, but I don't know how safe it would be for the president of the United States or other very high ranking officials. At the moment, Barack Obama is a bit better known world wide than the PM of Britain. Still, it is something to consider. If Joe Biden can take the train all the time, then surely lesser known members of the Congress and Senate can travel commercial, too.
First the Queen can't afford to stay one night in New York City and now the British Prime Minister has to fly on commercial airplanes. What has this world come to? But on a serious note, I don't think you, me, Wolf, or anyone else believe will see Nancy Pelosi on our commercial airplane.
I work for the most profitable airline in the country. I see Senators flying on us for years, with no security detail! I'm not going to mention their names for security reasons. Everytime I see them, I shake their hands and say "Thank you for your service". Of course all Congressmen and Senators could fly commercial!!! It's just a perk they are not willing to give away.
Our leaders are there to lead us, not be above us, to work for us, not for themselves. If THEY pay for it, fine, if we foot the bill, put them in coach, maybe then when they finally rub elbows with the real working class, then changes will be made.
"Do as I say – not as I do" seems to be the motto of our current leadership in Washington. An emphatic "Yes" is the response to your question, Jack. The fleet of aircraft used by our fiscally immature politicians should be grounded. Maybe bus tickets is the best answer – since they'll acquaint themselves with the vehicle under which their constituents are prepared to throw them. Jolly good show by PM Cameron!
It's a big food for thoughts, however; in as much as I respect the British Prime Minister's decision to take a commercial flight to the U.S, I don't, I won't and I can't afford to see the President of the number Nation in the World to take a commercial flight within the United States alone not to talk of an international flight. I sympathize with the people of Britain but please count the U.S out of such a move especially when our country stands as a primary target to terrorist. I say NO to that.
please Obama do us a favor and keep on flaying on AirForce One.
The rest of us don't want to be on flight that will be big time targeted by terrorists.
Despite the hours of delays caused by airport security measures, it is fairly clear to constant travelers, like myself, that commercial airports and airplanes are not 100% secure. I wouldn't want to trust airport security to protect our President; that said, everyone underneath of him (or perhaps some day soon, her) could manage on commercial. Who knows ... it may be that service would actually improve on commercial flights if lawmakers had to deal with the delays, dirty planes, bad food, rude attendants and lost luggage that the rest of us too often endure.
More of our lawmakers should fly commercial, but the people at the top must have Secret Service protection, so it would be too complicated to have them fly commercial often, and too much of an imposition on the other passengers and airport users.
It is a shame that the U.S. is so violent and guns are so prevalent, but they are. The Secret Service and the police have a difficult job, which they perform heroically. We should leave it to them to make these decisions.
I'd like to see Congress go a step further and do away with the weekly shuttling of Members back and forth between their district and DC. How about 3 full weeks on in DC, 1 week off in their district? If Congress had to actually learn to live with each other, maybe they could start getting something done. And with the money they'd be saving, maybe they wouldn't have to make the jobless their pawns in sad political stunts.
Do you mean to say our elected officials that work for us should have to travel the same as us? Surely you jest! My company, one of the leading technology companies in North America only allows coach tickets. I guess their candy behinds need extra cushion.... Strange that they feel they should be privaledged to get private jets, first class seats, etc.....
The "gesture" is great sure, but in terms of saving a substantial amount of money, it's nothing more than that. Plus is the dwarfed security for our nation's leader worth the pocket change in savings? I don't think so. There's plenty of ways to save money on the budget but that's not a very productive or cost effective way to do it.
You dismiss the security problems of officials flying commercial airliners. Are you serious? Just how much would be saved by high officials flying commercial given the need for increased security? This is similar to people being upset by Congressional pay which is insignificant in terms of the Federal budget.
All it really amounts to is symbolism. So, for the sake of symbols you are willing to risk the life of the Speaker of the House, whom you mentioned. How about the Vice President? The President? Air Force One costs a lot of money.
And have you even thought that it also would pose an increased risk to the safety of the other passengers?
The Prime Minister can do whatever he chooses, but I want our high officials as safe as possible.
How refreshing, I hope our Primeminister follows the example set by the British Primeminister
I think its a good idea...everyone except the Pres and Vice Pres
NO. Because in the United States most politicians have the attitude " Do as I say, not as I do". Using a commercial plane for most politician is like giving Superman kryptonite, they feel like they are becoming powerless, you know, losing their grip to live better than the average American. They did'nt go through a whole lot of mess to get elected and then have to turn around and live like they never put one foot in front of the other.
Don't compare us to Britain, Jack. Remember, this is America–land of the free, home of the crackpot with an assault rifle. Now ask us a tough question.
Ok, so when he arrived at presumably Dulles, The US Secret Service met him with a limo and full escourt? Or did he take the Washington Flyer and get Obama to validate?
Yeah the lesson to be learned is fly commercial once and give the news media something to compare to the US again. Is he going to continue to fly commercial every time. I doubt it, he has had his day of glory. We are so gullible.
I cannot imagine our politicans flying commercial!
The President has spent more hours on Air Force One needlessly visiting all corners of the country than he has in the White House.
Even flew to Columbus to turn a shovel on construction project but press was excluded. He was here for about 45 minutes. That is cost effective...
Why wouldn't the other politicians follow his lead and do likewise?
Is there a lesson, Jack? Let's call it a college major, or even a master's degree! Good luck in getting any or our big-wigs to take the bait but it would be refreshing to see just one of them step up to the plate and follow Cameron's lead. Are you listening lawmakers, cause we're all now watching. Good job and thanks, Mr. Cameron!
Go to BWI on most Friday late afternoons and see who's taking Southwest to Louisville.
Yes, that's the U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.
And there's no first or business class on Southwest.
Mr. Cafferty (and most posters) do not seem to understand the difference between the UK and US government.
David Cameron is NOT the head of state of the United Kingdom; Queen Elizabeth II is. If David Cameron dies tomorrow, the UK government will continue to function and a new Prime Minister will be appointed.
Nancy Pelosi is number 2 in line for the Presidency, directly behind Vice-President Biden. Her travel by government plane is purely for security purposes. Would you really like the USA to be without a President in a national crisis because the Speaker of the House is waiting for her luggage at LAX?
I'm fully aware that some of our Congressmen fly commercial. So does some of our head of bureaucracies. So, I don't know what the fuzz, Jack! The only people who fly private jets are those who are too close to the lobbyists and big business, Republicans or Democrats.
I have a real NEWS FLASH for all of you .I work in the corporate aviation industry, and I know that Nancy Pelosi turned down using a Gulfstream III(G-3) at the 89th airlift wing at Andrews Airforce Base at approx.$3000.00 an hr..She stated it was too small for her entourage.So she asked and got a Boeing 737-800 at approx. $8000.00 to $10000.00 an hour.I guess the position grants respect, OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS AND YOUR VOTING!
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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