While it once might have felt posh enough to simply upgrade yourself to business or first-class air travel, now flying private is the only way to go. And no, that’s not just because private planes are ever more pervasive status symbols in pop culture. Although let's not forget that "Like a G6" came out way back in 2010, and now every celeb worth their D'usse is doing something like this on Instagram these days:
But it's also because there are more ways than ever now for people of reasonable (but not astronomical) means to travel privately. Here are just three among the current ways to do it, ranging from a simple buy-per-ticket approach for a single baller-level getaway to a spendier all-you-can-travel membership for frequent fliers.
JetSuite private jet operator has been around for seven years and is already the fourth largest charter operator in the country. Under the name JetSuiteX, the company added 30-seat Embraer 135 jets, billed as a chance for non-millionaires to get the private jet experience at down-to-earth prices. There are no security lines at the private terminals from which JetSuiteX flies, and the company provides civilized, small-batch boarding and lounge experiences. There are no subscription fees, and JetSuiteX fares often compare closely to commercial flights, for instance on legs between Burbank and Las Vegas during promotions with advanced purchase.
JetSmarter bills itself as the world’s largest mobile marketplace for private jets. The company allows travelers to create custom charters, as well as book seats across thousands of flights across the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. JetSmarter does have a membership fee — $15,000 the first year and $11,000 yearly after — but members fly without any additional cost on all scheduled flights. That means a member who flies twice a month using JetSmarter’s JetShuttle service could actually cut costs by choosing to fly private over upper-class commercial.
Launched in 2013, Surf Air was the first so-called “travel club” to offer all-you-can-fly service for a monthly fee. Members are typically entrepreneurs and frequent regional travelers (but not necessarily all millionaires) who require the time savings and convince of this style of membership that costs about $2,000 per month. The planes fly into regional airports on the U.S. West Coast, and Surf Air also just expanded the service to Europe in 2016, with additional regions and destinations to follow.
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