Was Sofia Coppola’s Teen Daughter’s Great Helicopter Escape Possible?

It really is tough out here for the children of the very famous and wealthy these days. This week, Romy Mars, the 16-year-old daughter of auteur film director Sofia Coppola and Thomas Mars, the lead singer of the indie pop band Phoenix, went viral for a TikTok she absolutely was not supposed to be making.

By now you’ve probably seen it: According to the New York Times, more people watched this TikTok than they watched the finale of The Last of Us on HBO.

“My parents’ biggest rule is, like, I’m not allowed to have any public social media accounts,” Mars, filming in her kitchen and attempting a pasta recipe because she’s bored and being punished, begins in the since-deleted post. “I’m grounded because I tried to charter a helicopter from New York to Maryland on my dad’s credit card because I wanted to have dinner with my camp friend.”

Set aside the veil of privilege, the never-ending nepo baby conversation and the joking teenage inexperience on display—Romy cracks that she can’t tell the difference between garlic and an onion—and let’s focus on the real issue here. Are well-moneyed teenagers actually getting away with chartering their own helicopter journeys? Was the only thing standing between Romy and that camp friend dinner her incensed, credit-card wielding father? Would she have been able to follow through with her trip otherwise?

A representative for the elite private helicopter service Heliflite told The Daily Beast that the charter company wouldn’t secure a private helicopter journey, say, from NYC to Maryland, for a minor: the person booking the flight has to be over the age of 18, and every passenger must provide ID.

The representative also told The Daily Beast that name on the credit card used to book a Heliflite trip also has to match the name of the primary passenger on the helicopter journey, so using your dad’s credit card without your dad present definitely wouldn’t fly, whether you’re a teenager or a cash-strapped adult. Minors also can’t fly alone on Heliflite: an adult passenger must also be present, though the adult doesn’t necessarily have to be the minor’s parent or guardian, the representative said.

Similarly, any individual looking to book a flight via the helicopter charter company BLADE must have a BLADE account, and its terms of service require all users to be at least 18. BLADE’s terms of service also state that the company’s services “are not directed to children under 13.”

Riptinder Singh, who manages private chartering services at HeliNY, told The Daily Beast that you have to be 18 to book a flight, and that the price of the flight, its duration and luggage details are all factors that are taken into account and double-checked.

In other words, it would be nearly impossible to sneak a joyride past one’s parents or the company.

“We’ve never had that kind of situation where a minor has tried to book a helicopter,” Tinder told The Daily Beast. “Sure, people have used fraudulent or stolen cards, but it doesn’t happen that often. It’s very, very rare.”

Plus, Tinder said, when the children of very wealthy or very famous people take chartered helicopter journeys, “they’re always accompanied by the parents or the nannies. There’s always someone with them, they’re never alone.”

Better luck next time, Romy! The Daily Beast reached out to Coppola and Mars for comment.

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