Dale Earnhardt Jr. happy to fly the friendly skies, for now

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. –  One of the perks of NASCAR stardom is the ability to own and maintain a private jet.

But the use of a private plane isn’t about luxury. Given the scheduling demands of top drivers, getting from place to place as quickly and efficiently as possible is an essential aspect of the job.

As a consequence, a driver of the stature of Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t fly commercial aircraft too often, but when he does, Earnhardt can find reasons to enjoy the experience.

And after he puts his full-time driving career behind him at the end of the year, Earnhardt may see his frequency of commercial travel increase.

“I don’t fly commercial that often, to be honest and up front about it,” Earnhardt said. “So when I do, I’m like ‘Man, this is going to be neat.’ And (wife) Amy’s like, ‘Oh no, it ain’t. You’re not going to like it. Wait until this happens or that happens’… and she’s just naming things that happened.

“But I don’t mind doing it. I like to do it. Especially flying in and out of Charlotte we get to go by Whisky River (one of his nightclub locations is in Charlotte Douglas Airport). I don’t really get a lot of time to go by there to see what’s going on. But sitting around and waiting on the gate to open and all that stuff, I’ve not done it enough to hate it.

“So that’s really where it is. And I guess I’m spoiled would be a good way to put it. Certainly, as I go into this new chapter in life, and get further down the road, I don’t know that owning a private plane is a long-term situation for me. So I’m understanding that there are going to be some more commercial flights in my future. So maybe one day I’ll grow to hate it. But, for now, I don’t mind it too bad.”