RIP, Business Travel Columnist Joe Sharkey

The award-winning writer, who contributed to BJT for many years, has died at age 77.

Joe Sharkey, a longtime columnist for Business Jet Traveler, has died in Tucson, Arizona, at age 77. His wife, Nancy Sharkey, reported the cause as a hypertensive stroke.

Sharkey spent 19 years as a weekly columnist for the New York Times. For the first three of those years, he wrote about New Jersey; after that, he began “On the Road,” a business travel column that ran in the Times until 2015. When he left the paper, he became a regular columnist for BJT, contributing his “On the Road” essays to our publication from 2015 to 2021. He also found time to write six books, including Above Suspicion: An Undercover FBI Agent, An Illicit Affair, and a Murder of Passion, which was turned into a 2019 movie starring Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke.

Sharkey had the ability to turn just about any subject into a colorful column, and he proved it with BJT pieces on everything from weather forecasts, sleep problems, and highway signs to eating well on the road, flight attendants’ woes, and the view from a business jet’s window. His most memorable article for us, though, concerned a disaster: Sharkey was on board a business jet, on assignment for BJT, when it collided in midair with an airliner over the Amazon jungle in Brazil in 2006. All 154 people on the airliner died, but Sharkey and the other occupants of the business jet all miraculously survived. Besides writing about the experience for our publication,  he recounted it for a front-page story in the Times.

Our readers weren’t the only ones who appreciated Sharkey’s work: In the prestigious Folio: Eddies competition, his columns for BJT won a 2019 award for Best Column in a Consumer Travel Magazine and a 2016 honorable mention for Best Series of Articles in a Consumer Travel Magazine. In the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ Azbee competition, meanwhile, he won awards for Best Regular Contributed Column in 2016, 2019, and 2020. In 2000, also, he received the National Business Aviation Association’s Gold Wing Award for Journalism Excellence for his work in the New York Times.