FREQUENT FLYERS

Congress Seeks $550M for New Planes

Wonder if they'll still serve those mini pretzels: Congress announced plans Friday to spend $550 million on eight new jets—including two 737s and two Gulfsteam V planes—which will help to accommodate the growing travel demands of congressional officials. While the new fleet will replace "seven aging and more expensive business jets," as the House Appropriations Committee said, the purchases are somewhat ironic: just last year, Congress harshly criticized the use of private jets to fly company members in the weeks after the government bail-out of the banks. Congressional travel has increased ten-fold since 1995, and the new jets will be equipped with cooking galleries and worktables designed to be "an office in the sky."