Oprah: "It's Great To Have A Private Jet"

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We can practically hear the cheering in Wichita from here -- Oprah Winfrey said in a speech to the graduating class at Duke University on Sunday that "it's great to have a private jet." With CEOs across the country shamefaced about corporate excess, and aviation workers paying the price in thousands of lost jobs, could Oprah single-handedly make it OK again to fly? "Anyone that tells you that having your own private jet isn't great is lying to you," she told the grads. "That jet thing is really good." Whether her enthusiasm will turn the tide and make private jets fun again is still an open question -- it could make things even worse.

While The Wall Street Journal's "Wealth Report" blog found it encouraging --"Perhaps [the private-jet industry] should forget all the boring arguments about jobs and productivity and efficiency and run a picture of Oprah..." -- others were less impressed. According to Perez Hilton's blog, the message was not a positive one: "Lesson to learn, graduates: It's good to be Oprah and sucks to be everyone else!" The New York Times noted this week that private jets have lost that "feel-good factor." "In the midst of global economic crisis, "indulgence in what has been consistently branded as the ultimate luxury, feels excessive," writes Aline Sullivan. Oprah flies a Global Express XRS built by Bombardier, which goes for about $42 million.