Power Players

This is the last time Oprah flew commercial—it convinced her to write a $25 million check for a G4 jet

Toby Zerna | Newspix | Getty Images

Billionaire Oprah Winfrey has said that her biggest indulgence is owning a private jet.

"I would say having your own airplane is the greatest luxury," Winfrey told British Vogue editor in chief Edward Enninful. "Because it means one minute you're in New York, and then the next minute you say, 'You know Edward, I think I'll fly to London," she teased, with a fake British accent.

But before Winfrey was a billionaire with a jet, she flew commercial like most everyone else. In fact, she remembers her last airline experience clearly.

In April 1991 (five years into her successful run on "The Oprah Winfrey Show"), Winfrey was at the airport waiting for a flight on her way to an award ceremony for Aretha Franklin when a woman approached her and asked why she wasn't hugging people like she did on TV. She wanted a hug, she said.

"So I stood up and I gave her a hug and then I went to the phone and called my lawyer and I said, 'I'm going to do it, I'm going to get the plane. This is going to be my last time waiting four hours in the Chicago O'Hare Airport,'" Winfrey told The Hollywood Reporter.

Winfrey said she struggled with the idea of the purchase, trying to justify it "like, 'OK, if I put 10 people on the plane, that would've been how many airfares would I have to pay for?'" But there was no justifying it. (Bill Cosby told her at the time, "You'll never be able to justify it because it's a true luxury.") So she just went for it.

"I wrote that first check — because I can't stand bills — for my first G4 [jet] for the full $25 million," Winfrey said.

Today, Winfrey is worth $2.6 billion, according to Forbes. And she is not the only mogul who cherishes their private jet.

Tech billionaire and "Shark Tank" star Mark Cuban bought a $40 million Gulfstream V in 1999, according to The Wall Street Journal, and owned three planes by 2010.

"That was my all-time goal because the asset I value the most is time, and that bought me time," Cuban told Money.

"It means I have more hours in my day to spend with friends and family. It means I can get more work done. It means I can travel comfortably with my family. It's a life- and game-changer," he said.

Don't miss: Oprah Winfrey: This is the moment my 'job ended' and my 'calling began'

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Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec's first big splurge cost about $6 million

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to ABC's "Shark Tank."

Toby Zerna | Newspix | Getty Images
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