Think Flying Private Is Only for the Ultra-Rich? Think Again.


Photo courtesy of touristdeck.com

Photo courtesy of touristdeck.com

If you’ve ever spent an unbearable amount of time stuck in an airport terminal or seated in a plane outside an airport gate, chances are you’ve dreamed about one day flying private. There’s just that one problem: It’s ridiculously expensive. Well, now it’s just expensive.

According to a recent article in Fortune Magazine, the launch of by-the-hour programs like the Marquis Jet Card from NetJets, prices of private travel have dropped a bit in recent years but booking an entire plane can still be pretty pricey. Enter a handful of startup companies that allow travelers to book single seats instead, which means flying private is now relatively affordable for other travelers.

According to Fortune, the most innovative of these companies offer all-you-can-fly club memberships within a specific region. Travelers pay a flat-rate monthly fee to gain access to a fleet of planes flying to a group of cities at fixed departure times. Initially, these clubs focused on frequent business fliers traveling a network of routes that were in high demand. Now, however, these clubs are branching out by adding leisure destinations and sometimes providing guest passes and discount memberships for families to help broaden their appeal.

Some of the more popular options are California-based Surf Air, Texas company Rise, ClipperJet, and others. By this fall, Surf Air will offer 90 daily connections between 11 destinations, including Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Sonoma County at prices starting at $1,750 per month. Rise offers daily weekday flights between Austin, Dallas and Houston and flies to Vail, Colorado and Seaside, Florida on the weekends. ClipperJet, which focuses on transcontinental and international travel, offers flights between New York and London or L.A. and Tokyo.

What’s next? Layaway?

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