Apple buys 50 business class seats to Shanghai every day

By

United Airlines
A United Airlines flight attendant uses an iPhone.
Photo: United Airlines

Apple shells out a total of $35 million every year to buy 50 business class airline seats from San Francisco to Shanghai.

The numbers were shared by United Airlines, which revealed that Apple is the airline’s biggest customer at San Francisco International Airport. While Apple’s products are, famously, “designed by Apple in California,” the majority of its supply chain is based in China. Tim Cook has also talked about the importance of China as Apple’s second-biggest market.

The $35 million isn’t the entirety of Apple’s airline budget, either. In total, the company spends $150 million sending employees from San Francisco International Airport to a host of other countries and cities. Some of the most popular destinations include:

1. Shanghai
2. Hong Kong
3. Taipei
4. London
5. South Korea
6. Singapore
7. Munich
8. Tokyo
9. Beijing
10. Israel

Even these figures don’t quite tell the whole story, however. While Cupertino is Apple’s most famous location, and the home of Apple Park, Apple has offices in many other places around the U.S. and the world. We also know that some employees who travel regularly, such as Tim Cook, fly private instead of on commercial airlines.

Ultimately, while $150 million a year sounds a massive number, it’s a drop in the ocean as a percentage of Apple’s overall earnings. Apple also has upward of 130,000 employees. If those 50 people are the only ones flying to China on a daily basis, that’s just 0.00038 percent of the company’s total workforce.