Why More People Are Flying Private — and How to Become One of Them (Video)
We all love arriving to new and thrilling destinations, but sometimes the journey can be a real pain in the butt.
From the very start of booking commercial travel you must choose a seat, which you’ll likely pay more for, pack light, because you don’t want to pay extra to check a bag, arrive hours in advance, and still run the risk of getting bumped off your flight.
But there may be a way to avoid all of this: flying private. No, really, hear us out.
According to research by JetSmarter, a members-only service that allows users to book a private jet rental through an app, more people than ever before are jumping on the private air travel bandwagon. In fact, in 2017 alone, the company saw a 110-percent increase in its membership database. For 2018, the company is projecting growth by yet another 100 percent.
The average age range of a JetSmarter member spans all the way from 26 to 55, the company added in an email.
And while companies like JetSmarter are negating the (incredibly expensive) need to own your own plane, they're also making flying private even more approachable by letting passengers book single seats. JetSmarter members could book a seat from New York City to Los Angeles for $540, according to the company's website (though they're also paying $5,000-15,000 a year in membership fees).
JetSuiteX lets passengers share private planes along West Coast routes like Los Angeles to Las Vegas, San Francisco to Salt Lake City, and more. Right now, a weekend flight from Los Angeles to Vegas will run just over $400.
As the company shared in an email, “because JetSuiteX flies between private terminals, travelers arrive at the airport just 30 minutes ahead of takeoff. No never-ending security lines, cattle-call boarding or baggage claim crowds. And forget ancillary fees – baggage up to 50 lbs, wifi, and drinks/snacks (including beer, wine and cocktails) are totally free. All while enjoying leather seats (no middle seats!) with business class legroom.”
JetSmarter and JetSuiteX aren’t the only options for people looking to fly private, and that’s a good thing. All that competition, like LinearAir, BLADE, and Victor, simply means that prices on private jets will likely continue to decrease.
“There’s clear potential to expand the market,” Douglas Quinby, an analyst for the travel market-research company Phocuswright, told The Points Guy. “There is definitely a ton of excess supply — private jets sitting on runways or flying under capacity. The challenge is, can these startups find sufficient demand and supply within the right bucket of city pairs to make this work?”
Beyond booking single trip travel, there are also new subscription jet services available for frequent fliers, like Surfair, which further drives down the price because the more you fly the more you save. The company’s “all you can fly” membership starts at $1,950 a month.
While it may still seem over the top, next time you go to book a flight perhaps scan over the private companies — it never hurts to weigh your options. Who knows? One day you too could kiss long TSA lines and airport wait times goodbye.