Waiting until the last minute isn’t an option for most travelers, of course. For those whose schedules can’t accommodate a last-minute booking, there are other options, though they can be pricier. West Coast airline Surf Air offers unlimited private plane flights to and from roughly a dozen California and Nevada locales like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Santa Barbara for $1,750 per month (plus a one-time $1000 initiation fee); the airline operates up to 90 flights each day and it added Monterey, Calif., to its list of itineraries on July 13, 2015.
Steve Wooster, the managing director of services and air operations for the luxury travel network Virtuoso, said that the proliferation of private jet brands has led to these lower prices. “There are many more suppliers than there ever used to be, and competition means prices have dropped,” he said. “Private jet flying is now open to a diversity of passengers, not just C.E.O.’s.”
JetSuite is one of several private aviation companies attempting to make private jet flying accessible to travelers who aren’t part of the billionaire or even millionaire set. In many cases, these companies such as Blade and JetSmarter, are able to offer flights at appealing prices because the trips are shared with a small group of other passengers. While this may not be private flying in the vein of having an entire plane to yourself, travelers fly in and out of small, private airports where they usually don’t have to deal with the Transportation Security Administration and can arrive just five to 15 minutes before their departure time.
On an A&K Private Jet Journey, your small group of 50 like-minded guests travels on an exclusive itinerary packed with immersive insider-access opportunities, fine dining and invitation-only cultural events curated by our local experts around the world. Jet from one destination to the next aboard a chartered Boeing 757 with fully lie-flat, first-class seats and featuring a staff of expert tour managers, a dedicated flight crew, an Executive Chef and an onboard physician. Finish each day in accommodations chosen for their comfort, hospitality and true local character on a journey that combines luxury, authenticity and expertise as only A&K can.
No matter what company you're flying with, be sure to ask if there two pilots or one. (Though two pilots are standard on commercial flights, regulations vary for private planes of all sizes.) It also helps to ask if the operator owns the plane—typically, companies that own their planes offer better service. Never forget to ask about daily minimums and taxi fees. "If the hourly rate is $9,000 and you have a single 40-minute flight, you might assume you are going to pay $6,000," says Doug Gollan, creator of PrivateJetCardComparisons.com. "But if your provider has a daily minimum of 1.5 hours, you are going to actually be charged $13,500, plus taxi time, which in my comparisons I have found varies between being included and up to 12 minutes per segment."