Is there any other kind? Are there private squalor filled jets they could have taken? I bet they could have grabbed something off the dollar menu at McDonalds for lunch and picked up something from Subway for the trip back.
This is false outrage. (No offense, Jay.)
The jets were in place (leased or purchased) long before these guys took over the reins. Hell, Dan Snyder flies "Redskin One" all over the country to entice football players to become a part of his NFL team in Washington, D.C. It's how business gets done at that level and to suddenly point at it and say, "Why didn't they fly Southwest?" is a bit disingenuous at best.
I suppose that along with the U.S. auto industry, we should toss out Bombardier (Learjet), Cessna and Gulfstream, their workforce, the pilots who fly them and the people who maintain them along with the rest of the support infrastructure.
I work for a Northeastern regional retailer that is family owned. When the owner flies down, he takes the shuttle out of La Guardia. The fact that he HAS to be back to the airport in time to go thru security (he doesn't carry baggage for a day trip) means that he rushes through the visits to the point that there's no real productive benefit other than he shows his face and we smile and say hi. That would be good enough but frequently, he has to cut stores from his visit due to the need to make his flight and it's a huge disappointment to the stores that he missed. Now I'm not suggesting that he go out and buy a Lockheed JetStar to travel from New York to Baltimore a couple of times a year but if it was weekly or there was a cross country need, it would be a smart BUSINESS move.
The leaders of these large companies travel the country and sometimes the world to do the work they need to (hopefully) keep their business going. Scheduled airlines don't meet that need.
Think of it like that fine steakhouse that Jay and Bear made legendary in this very forum. Are the prices they command for a finely seared piece of cow justifiable? Is the restaurant supported by a clientele of people like me who think that Outback Steakhouse is a bit pricey or is the bulk of their business put onto thousands of expense accounts every year? Why do we need restaurants to serve outrageously expensive premium meat on Egyptian cotton table cloths with massive linen napkins when oak planks and paper towels will serve just as well to keep us fed?
As a matter of fact, we should eliminate ALL business expense accounts and just do web conferencing. Why do we need SEMA shows, anyhow?
We should quit worrying about people who follow currently accepted business practices and focus on their business decisions. The auto buying public has spoken clearly to the big three over the past few decades as market share has eroded. Instead of building cars that could compete with the Pacific Rim's best, we took a shortcut and built luxo "Trucks" that skirted CAFE requuirements and the public bought because gas was cheap.
Cue the Reverend.
"The chickens have come home to roost."