Federal employees, apparently including cabinet secretaries, are expected to endure economy class air travel. According to The Washington Post:
Verbal confrontations with members of the public prompted Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to switch to flying first or business class whenever possible, officials said Thursday.
Henry Barnet, who directs EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training, said in an interview that the head of Pruitt’s security detail, Pasquale Perrotta, recommended in May that he fly in either first or business class to provide “a buffer” between him and the public. Perrotta’s memo was prompted by an incident that month when a person approached Pruitt “with threatening language” that was “vulgar,” Barnet said.
Heaven forfend that public officials should be forced to listen to public opinions about how they do their jobs. And never mind that some of Pruitt's explanations of why he needed to travel first class seem a bit unsupported by evidence.
Still, I have to say that compared to the travel antics of some of his fellow cabinet members, this is very small potatoes. I think it's pretty reasonable for the top 100 or so national officials to travel first class. I'm guessing that the upper level executives of big corporations managing much smaller organizational entities are not forced to huddle with the plebs in steerage.