Today’s brand of hitchhiker isn't on a street corner thumbing rides, but at airports that serve cushy private planes, the New York Times reports. Seeking the prestige and elation of flying in a $40 million jet, these riders reserve seats with friendly billionaires. “There are a lot of people in the social world who don’t have the equipment to fly privately on their own,” says one New York high society author.
But don’t call these riders mooches: It's just that “you’re going somewhere and someone happens to have a plane," one socialite says. The free flight does with rules, a designer notes: Be on time, ask the crew where to sit, and stay in the back. And the best thank-you gift is decent in-flight food. One flier brought "100 buffalo wings," he said. "They appreciate things like that.”