Editor's Desk: Escape from Terminal C

Business Jet Traveler » August 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 5:00am

I wouldn't normally comment about something I saw in an advertisement in this magazine, but the PlaneSense ad on page 65 in our 2010 Buyers' Guide hit too close to home to let pass without relating a recent tale of airline-travel-induced woe.

The ad showed the nose of a Pilatus PC-12 turboprop with the words "Escape from Terminal C" written in boldface type across the sky. Now, I'm sure there are plenty of escape-worthy Terminal Cs in the world, but for me the tag line immediately brought to mind the infamous Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

It's not that Newark's Terminal C is necessarily worse than any number of faceless airline terminals at other mega international airports around the world-especially if newness is your gauge of what constitutes an acceptable passenger waiting area. It's just that Newark's Terminal C-an expansive space ruined by a thoroughly weird layout-happens to be the concourse where I've spent far too much time.

A few days before seeing the PlaneSense ad I was raised to Olympic sprinter status trying to catch a Continental flight from Newark for my grandmother's 100th birthday celebration in Florida. My dad and one of my brothers were still stuck somewhere in an obscenely long security line, and would reach the gate just in time to have the airline representative shut the jetway door in their faces. I was luckier in that my Elite status allowed me to join a shorter security line and make the flight with minutes to spare.

Admittedly our late arrivals to the gate had less to do with the long check-in and security lines than with a cellphone gone haywire and several ill-timed miscommunications that started hours before our scheduled departure time. Still, as I raced through Terminal C I couldn't help but think of all the fortunate travelers who get to stroll through some tastefully decorated FBO lobby to the door of their waiting Gulfstream, Falcon or Challenger and be whisked airborne minutes later.

Out of breath and straining to see the distant speck that was my departure gate, I started doing the math in my head, calculating what it would cost to transport the whole family to Fort Lauderdale on a charter flight. Maybe it was a similar experience that led you to business aviation-some mad dash through Terminal Whichever as you tried to catch a connecting flight to wherever it was you were flying next. One missed flight, one quashed business deal, and the numbers can start swinging convincingly in favor of private jet travel.

The advantages of business aviation far outnumber those of airline travel. The only advantages I can think of that pertain to the airlines are 1) the tickets are still reasonably cheap and 2) I can get my shoes shined while I wait for my flight to be called (though I can't avoid having to remove them for the security check).

The advantages of private jet travel, on the other hand, are numerous and substantial. A special section in our next issue, in fact, will focus on the many reasons for flying privately, starting with a clear, dollars-and-cents case for business jet travel and continuing with articles that highlight the tangible and intangible benefits of private aviation. We'll also include ways to save, how to make the most of your time on board and the reasons many of the luminaries we've interviewed for BJT say they fly privately. We'll be offering expanded distribution of the issue at the National Business Aviation Association Convention in October so that this information can reach an even wider audience.

Meanwhile, the issue you hold in your hands is packed with information you can use to make better travel choices. There are also interviews with a jazz legend and a hot Hollywood director, who give their reasons for flying privately. And we've got reviews of two notable business jets, the large-cabin Gulfstream GIV and a brand new ride, Embraer's game-changing Phenom 300 light jet.

Most regular BJT readers probably don't need convincing to accept the arguments in favor of operating business aircraft. But listing the advantages can serve to underscore the reasons you should continue doing so. And if you know people who have yet to escape from Terminal C, by all means, pass your issue of BJT on to them.

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