When it comes to traveling long distances, there’s no arguing that flying is the way to go. Yet, even the most seasoned travelers grimace at the thought of boarding a commercial plane.
But as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. The world of private jets allows passengers to skip the airport congestion and unexpected delays. Private planes can land at more than 5,000 airports in the U.S. (versus approximately 500 airports for larger commercial aircraft), bringing travelers closer to their desired destinations. These aircraft aren’t subject to TSA restrictions, so travelers can arrive as little as 15 minutes before departure—international destinations included—and take whatever they want in their carry-on bag. Passengers know they’ll arrive at their destination on schedule (while private jets are subject to the same weather and air traffic issues as commercial airliners, they have the flexibility of changing routes to avoid such issues), and they won’t have to deal with delays, lines and lost luggage.
Sharing the Skies
For those who make a few short trips a year—Paris on a whim or a mother-in-law’s birthday party—jet cards are an easy way to pre-purchase private jet flights at a locked-in price. Clients prepay for a set number of flight hours at a discounted price in a chosen aircraft that best fits their needs—liken it to a debit card for the sky.
Sentient Jet offers a 25-hour jet card starting at $124,825. Despite the fact that clients don’t own the jet per se, they still receive the unparalleled services. “Our flight planning and customer service teams work to provide the correct jet size and class for each trip as well as catering needs,” says Andrew Collins, president of Sentient Jet. “Additionally, we pay close attention to our customers and often provide ‘surprise and delight’ amenities such as special decor for travel to games and events or Champagne for an anniversary.”
Ready, Set, NetJets
NetJets, a private jet-sharing company owned by billionaire Warren Buffett, can arrange a flight at any time with as little as four hours of advance notice. Because private jets enjoy the incentive of flying into smaller airports as fixed-base operators (FBOs), passengers will have to worry less about backed-up air traffic and circling in the air for what sometimes seems like light-years until the go-ahead is given for pilots to land. “Flying privately gives our customers access to literally thousands of airports that commercial flights cannot fly into, which saves time and money, and increases productivity,” says Pat Gallagher, executive vice president and head of sales for NetJets.
The company also integrates a variety of amenities into each fleet to further enhance the traveler experience. Plush interiors, mood lighting, noise reduction, the latest avionics, state-of-the-art entertainment systems that can be controlled with a passenger’s electronic device, and more all ensure that clients are pampered from takeoff to landing.
NetJets offers fractional ownership for those who fly more than 50 hours per year; owners not only initially choose one aircraft that suits their needs, but also have access to the company’s full fleet and can exchange one plane for another depending on the size and scope of their trip. The company also has a prepaid Marquis Jet Card in 25-hour increments starting at $135,000 for clients who prefer more flexibility and less commitment.
Soar With the Seasons
Even the hospitality industry is getting on board with private planes. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has tapped into this demand for its most elite guests by combining its singular services with first-class travel. The luxury hotel group has commissioned its own jet, a retrofitted Boeing 757 with only 52 seats for maximum space, which boasts upgraded features, including in-flight Wi-Fi and on-demand entertainment. Guests can book the jet for private charter to any location or for one of the hotel group’s curated escapades in destinations such as Bali, Indonesia; Sydney; and Istanbul.
Additionally, guests flying on the Four Seasons Jet will experience a host of glamorous amenities—they might even forget they’re at 30,000 feet—including state-of-the-art flatbed seats handcrafted in Italy and five-star dining. Using only the freshest ingredients and catering to any personal dietary needs, a dedicated Four Seasons chef travels with guests and carefully curates menus that incorporate culinary influences from around the world. A concierge team comes along on every private jet travel experience to fulfill each guest’s wishes, whether it’s customized itineraries when back on the ground or booking a spa appointment at the hotel.
—Written by Alli Tong