The Wall Street Journal reports that "the U.S. Department of Defense ended a little-known arrangement that for years allowed the tech billionaires to travel on sharply discounted jet fuel bought from the Pentagon." The entire deal, quietly scrapped after congressional pressure from Senator Chuck Grassley, was a little governmental quid pro quo:
"The cheap fuel for the Google executives came courtesy of a special agreement with NASA, whose Ames Research Center is based at Moffett Federal Airfield, a former U.S. Navy base that is the most convenient airport to Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, about three miles away.
Although Moffett is closed to most non-government traffic, NASA in 2007 signed a deal allowing H211 LLC, a private company representing jets owned by the Google founders and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, to base aircraft at Moffett. The fleet recently included seven jets and two helicopters. H211 agreed to pay about $1.3 million in annual rent and cost recovery, while Google separately is leasing some Moffett land for a future office campus."
The Google fleet conducted a few "scientific experiments" that made up a tiny minority of fuel gallons burned. Many other subsidized flights were made on official Google business. But there's still plenty of rich-guy jetsetting, the WSJ notes, including trips to Croatia, Fiji, Nantucket, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Martha's Vineyard, and other destinations you'd expect from a wealthy CEO with a $15 million penthouse for um, "entertaining" women who are not your wife.
I suppose being a multi-billionaire comes with its' perks, but at least use your own damn billions.