No more legroom for bankers

Tough times are forcing the former masters of the universe to fly coach. Will the degradation ever end?

By Andrew Leonard
Published October 23, 2008 10:30AM (EDT)

OK, not just Wal-Mart moms with hungry babies are feeling the pinch of tough times. Naked Capitalism spots a Bloomberg News story reporting that "Merrill Lynch & Co., UBS AG and JPMorgan & Chase Co. are telling senior bankers in Asia to fly coach on short-haul flights and reduce non-essential travel as they step up cost cuts."

Oh, the ignominy. Bankers, in middle seats, knocking elbows with the hoi polloi. That's gotta hurt.

But don't call the penny-pinching banking overseers irredeemably heartless. UBS instructed employees that the new rules only apply to flights shorter than five hours. So if you need to make a transoceanic hop, you can still be coddled in business class. The global economy might be hurting, but the wheels haven't come completely off the bus.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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