Mar 29, 2023 - Economy & Business

A 20-minute flight? "Succession" calls attention to private jet culture

Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

California is famous for its celebrities, its traffic — and the way that the former use private jets to circumvent the latter.

Why it matters: The fictional Roy children, the adult offspring of media baron Logan Roy on the HBO series "Succession," are no exception. In the first episode of the current season, they take a private jet to fly from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara — a distance of just 84 miles.

Flashback: We meet the Roy children — Roman, Kendall, and Shiv — in an $83 million Pacific Palisades mansion reportedly owned in real life by a 20-something billionaire who makes technology for self-driving cars.

  • Their destination: The Pierce family vineyard, being played by a $30 million Montecito estate owned by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Awaiting the Roys is matriarch Nan Pierce, who is selling PGM, the family media business.

How it works: The drive up the coast is scenic, but would take about 1 hour and 40 minutes, per Google Maps, after accounting for the inevitable traffic. And a helicopter is out of the question since they're not allowed in Montecito.

  • Instead, the Roys take a private jet — which involves a 20-minute drive to Santa Monica airport, a flight of about 20 minutes, and then another 25 minutes to drive from the Santa Barbara airport to the Montecito estate. Add in a few minutes at either end for taxiing and other logistics, and the door-to-door time is probably about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • In other words: They saved perhaps half an hour in travel time; the cost in carbon emissions alone is left as an exercise for the reader.

The bottom line: If it's good enough for Kylie Jenner, it's good enough for the Roys.

Go deeper: The Slate Money: Succession podcast, with Axios' Felix Salmon and Emily Peck, recaps every episode on Mondays.

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