Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Can I ask for a lift on my friend's private jet?

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

Q. We have moved to the country and my husband often prefers me to drive — not because he wants to drink, but just because he’s quite a lazy fellow by nature. My problem is that his back-seat driving is making our journeys intolerable as he keeps telling me how to drive. Apart from this we get on well, so how can I end his control freakery in a car?
— Name withheld, Sittingbourne, Kent

A. Next time he asks you to drive, say you will only do so if he agrees to wear an airline-style eye mask (keep a stockpile in the glove compartment) and leave you to get on with it. This should put a stop to the nuisance and, in the meantime, he can enjoy a power nap.


Q. A grand neighbour and his wife are invited to the same long weekend as I am. I learn they are using their access to a private plane to fly directly to the house party and will thereby shave about six hours off the journey. As we live less than two miles apart and they are going to the same destination, where we will be socialising over three days, do you agree that it would not be pushy in the circumstances to ask for a lift? I am not in their league so could not contribute, as it were, to the cost of this flight but would be happy to give a present. Given that I would save around £160 on other travel costs, how much should I spend on a present for them and what sort of thing would be appropriate?
— Name and address withheld

A. You are missing all sorts of points. First, it would be a breach of etiquette for you to ask for a lift. The main reason to spend money on a private jet is that you give yourself the privacy to sleep and snore with your mouth open en route if you feel like it, plus you need not worry about whether any other passengers will be late or will have forgotten their passports. Should your neighbour happen to offer you a lift, it is a different matter. Don’t apologise for not being able to share the fuel costs. It will be obvious that you can’t. Show appreciation with a box of chocolates of nugatory financial value — along, of course, with a handwritten letter of thanks.

Q. I received a wedding present of a shop gift-card preloaded with credit but when the assistant swiped the card she said there was only £10 on it. I suspect a mistake, but since the person who sent it to me is a client who has always been very generous to me, I feel it would be grasping to ring and ask.
— Name and address withheld

A. This highlights the potential problems with electronic gift vouchers. Paper gift vouchers are also a menace as they are too easy to mislay. It would not be grasping for you to alert your client — just considerate. She may have made a bulk purchase of gift cards so other giftees would be affected, as an electronic glitch is indicated.

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