I probably daydream about rich-guy stuff a little more than is healthy. The sports cars, the mega yachts, the penthouse apartments with a frickin’ slide. By my moral calculus, I deserve it all. But there’s one accoutrement of wealth that rises above all others: the ability to fly private. Sure, you can point the Eclipse toward St. Barths, but that’ll take forever if you’re starting out in New York, and time is money. If you’ve got a jet at your disposal, you have truly achieved freedom. Wake up and decide where you want to go, then go there as quickly as possible, avoiding all the hassles and indignities of commercial air travel. There’s simply nothing more luxurious than flying private, it’s the ultimate indulgence, enjoyed by an air-kissing slice of the 1% while the rest of us pile our shoes and belts into a plastic bin at LaGuardia and regret not stuffing that $12 bottle of sunscreen into the checked bag. But now, thanks to a company called JetSuite, private air travel is finally available to middle class people with regular jobs in the publishing and service industries and okay that’s a huge lie. It’s still expensive, and you, gentle reader, still can’t afford it. But you’re getting closer. A lot closer. You can’t afford it, but your friend with a slightly better job probably can, and maybe he’ll take you along on a trip to thank you for turning him on to this innovative new aviation company.
JetSuite owns a fleet of quick and spiffy 4-passenger and 6-passenger jets with cool red racing stripes that are available to hire by the hour. You go to their website and enter the date and place you wish to visit, just like on any other airline website. And here’s the thing: it costs about $3,400 per hour for your flight, which is half the cost of the company’s nearest competitors. For a quick jaunt from New York to Boston, you’d just need to get everyone to kick in $850 or so. Sure, that’s a fair bit more than a commercial seat to Logan, but: A. You’d skip the lines; B. You’d leave whenever you wanted to; and C. You’d be a rock star. There’s definitely some value in that. (They also have these last-minute SuiteDeals, where you can get a whole jet for $500 on a "repositioning" run, but there aren’t many of these, so don’t count on this option working out for you.)
I recently met with JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox, who told me that business has been brisk since the company launched in 2009. JetSuite attracts fliers from both the higher end (rich folks used to flying with some fractional jet ownership company who love a good deal) to the lower end (people only slightly wealthier than you and me who never thought flying private was an option). There are even actual rock stars who use JetSuite, and while I can’t reveal their names here, one of them plays for a massive band that I always thought was a bit overrated.
People are taking these zippy little jets all over the place, from quick weekenders in Vegas to life-affirming jaunts to Caribbean islands, to, of course, business destinations all over the place. (Apparently the Midland-Odessa, Texas area is hot with JetSuite-loving natural gas prospectors these days, so invest there or something.)
Like I said, this stuff is still pricey. Getting bottle service at a nightclub is pricey too. But it’s fun. And when you and your friends pool your money, it makes the bite that much less painful, and then you have a table and a great view of everything, and everybody thinks you’re cool for doing it. You get so much more than a bottle of vodka and a carafe of cranberry for your money. You get an experience.
A trip on a JetSuite jet is similar. Like most nice things in life, it’ll cost you, but you get a lot for your coin. You get the ultimate travel experience, and you can almost afford it. You’re thisclose. Get there. And then give me a call, I know a great little bar on Barbados we should visit.
For information on JetSuite, presented in a more elegant and mature way, visit the company’s official website.