…A year after [Hurricane] Katrina a new company was launched called HelpJet, which is a charter air service that launched with the slogan “Turn a disaster into a luxury vacation.” And it’s once again this concierge model. All of these new companies work on what some of them are calling a “country club model.” You pay an annual fee, or you pay a one-time lump membership payment. So there’s another company called Sovereign Deed that is even bigger than HelpJet and is offering comprehensive VIP disaster rescue. You pay $50,000 a year.
But back to HelpJet, you pay as if you’re joining a country club, and then if a hurricane is coming to your part of Florida, you get an early alert and a concierge calls you, or you call the HelpJet concierge, and you tell them if you want to go to Disneyland, if you want to book in some five- star resort, and they bill it as an escape from the failures that we witnessed during Hurricane Katrina. It says, you know, escape the madness, the lines, the chaos; just have “a first-class experience.” I mean, it’s quite extraordinary. You read this, and it seems like something that the Yes Men — you know, the satirists — have pulled off. You know, when I first read about this, I actually emailed the Yes Men and asked them if they were behind it, but it is not satire. This is actually happening.