Has COVID created a bit of a dilemma for your travel plans? Don’t you wish you could avoid the COVID exposure in the airport and on the plane, all while actually enjoying your aviation journey?
Well, you can. If you haven’t ever had the opportunity to fly private, you’re missing out. What’s that? You’re not a billionaire and can’t afford to fly private? Me either, but there are ways to take advantage of the private aviation world as it offers tremendous benefits during COVID. Trust me, once you go private, you’ll never want to go back to commercial. It’s a wonderful alternative that makes more sense than ever due to COVID, is not nearly as expensive as you think, and more convenient. Let’s compare.
Commercial vs. Private
When you fly commercial, you have to deal with rushing to the airport only to stand in line with a bunch of strangers to check your bags in. The guy behind you is coughing up a lung, refuses to put his mask over his nose, and now you’re in a bad mood and pretty much swimming in a sea of germs. Not a fun scenario but let’s keep going.
Then there’s security where you’re touching bins and possibly singled out to receive a pat-down. Then, you have the waiting area and while it’s a large space in most airports, it’s full of germs on a normal non-COVID day. We haven’t even gotten on the plane yet. If you’re a Schitt’s Creek fan like myself, insert, “Ew, David” here. If not, why aren’t you watching?
Okay, so now you’re on the plane and people are everywhere and very close to you I might add. You have to wipe everything, and I mean everything down, and try and distract yourself from having a panic attack about the fact you’re miles and miles in the sky with no way out.
Convinced yet? Here’s a statistic that will seal the deal. A private air passenger encounters only about 40 people from home to hotel check-in, he says. For commercial flights, the average rises to 700 encounters. Again, “Ew, David.”
Now, let’s switch gears.
In the world or private airlines, there are no lines to check bags. This means no hassle and no one breathing down your neck with their COVID breath. In all seriousness, these benefits could literally save your life.
When you decide to join the world of private travel, you’re coming in contact with fewer people, both at the airport and on the plane. A healthier travel experience awaits for you and those around you.
As mentioned, on a commercial flight, you’re exposing yourself to crowds and lines at multiple points in your travel journey. The congestion element isn’t an issue with the use of private terminals and some airports even allow you to go directly from your car to your plane and vice versa. “Yay, David.”
Many older passengers who may have flown first class are opting for private. The risk is too great, especially for an immuno-compromised passenger. A large chunk of private passengers are first-timers who craved a new way to travel safely.
The LATimes.com reports that XO jets, NetJets and Surf Air report that they are booking about 80% as many flights and hours in the air as they had before the pandemic struck the U.S. And many of those fliers are new to the private jet scene.
How Does It Work?
How are people able to shift from commercial to private? Let’s explore some options that won’t break the bank and keep you much safer than on a commercial flight.
Chartering a private jet or owning one is really expensive. I mean, really, really expensive. Even most rich people can’t afford it. Marketwatch shares some private plan options where you don’t have to be “Daddy Warbucks” to participate. Do they even make great movies like Annie anymore?
- Fractional ownership of planes (where you split the costs and title to the aircraft with a small group of other users almost like a timeshare).
- Jet card membership programs (where travelers typically pre-purchase a package of flight hours on a specific model of plane to be used by a certain date).
- On-demand chartering (think an Uber-style service for private planes where you can book one on short notice).
If I told you flying private could be cheaper than flying commercial, would you believe me? Well, it’s true in some cases. With the need for private travel increasing, boutique airlines are popping up and the price tags are pretty reasonable.
One example is Blackbird Air, where you can browse thousands of flights that are already headed your way and grab a seat or pick where you want to go, choose your aircraft, and book on-demand. For $99, yes, $99, you could book a float plane from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe in 55 minutes . How about a girl’s trip to Palm Springs from $999 for the whole plane? Sounds amazing, right?
Thepointsguy.com writes about an offshoot of jet-charter company JetSuite named JSX that calls itself an “industry disrupter” aiming to “revolutionize the flying experience” with “celeb-worthy flying at an accessible price.” Basically, you’re buying a seat on a private jet rather than chartering the whole plane. Affordable, less exposure to COVID dangers, and a much more pleasant experience overall.
Linear air, founded in 2004, offers options that average about $2,000 for a passenger configuration of three to eight seats. Founder William Herp says, “When you fill up the seats and maximize the opportunity, you’re talking about $500-$800 per person.”
There are many more private airlines with options that won’t leave you counting the coins in your couch, especially when you compare it to the cost and risk of commercial flights.
The bottom line is if you can fly private, fly private. It’s not only more convenient, but it’s the safest way to travel in the skies if you have to fly, and it’s no longer an option that’s only for the wealthy and celebrities.
You deserve to be safe. You deserve to be pampered. You deserve to fly private!
Hope You Enjoyed the Read!