Private Jets and Airlines – Closing the Gap
Recently, Delta Airlines announced that they will be offering their top-tier passengers a chance to get upgraded from commercial to private jets. However, it’s not the first commercial airline to combine itself with a private jet company. In fact, the gap between flying commercially versus by private jet is quickly closing, with innovations on both ends taking cues from trends in the other.
Typically, many believe that there are only two types of airline passengers: those that could afford to fly by private jets, and everyone else. And if you could afford to fly by private jet, that would be the only way you would choose to fly.
But the truth is much more complicated than that. First of all, private jet charter is not as expensive as some may originally believe, with many choosing to fly by it – not just the 1%. Additionally, many private jet passengers still do choose to fly commercially, such as when combining a long-haul commercial flight with a shorter private jet flight transfer.
But as we begin to see commercial airlines merge with private jets, and private jet companies trying to become more like commercial airlines – we wonder, what does this mean for passengers? Will this allow more people the opportunity to fly by private jets, that might not previously been able to afford to, or will it encourage more private jet users to fly commercially?
We’ve decided to dive deeper into the trends on both sides, and see what exactly it means for the future of air travel.
PRIVATE JETS – FIRST CLASS APARTMENTS
The first step in commercial airliners offering the private jet experience is the airlines that are beginning to offer ultra-luxurious, over-the-top spaces exclusively for their first class passengers. A recent example of this comes from Etihad Airlines, whose A380 Airbus will include a “residence” option – aka a hotel room within the aircraft – which includes a double bed, shower cubicle, separate seating area, and a personal butler.
This type of luxurious air space is nicer than most small to medium-sized jets, however at what cost? Currently running at $20,000 for a one way flight, that price tag can quickly add up. Plus, these passengers still need to deal with the hassle of long airline lines and waiting at the airport for an extended period of time until the entire plane is boarded – both situations that wouldn’t happen when flying by private jets.
Similar to what Delta recently announced, this type of service allows loyal airline passengers the chance to upgrade from first-class to private jets.
Here’s how it would work: say you’re scheduled to fly from Atlanta to New York City at the same time an empty private jet is also headed to New York. You would be notified at least 24 hours ahead of travel time, offering a private jet upgrade (either for free or a fee, depending on the program). You would then have until 6:00 the evening before the departure to accept.
This upgrade not only allows passengers the opportunity to fly by private jet without the private jet cost, but it also allows other private jet benefits such as privacy and skipping airport lines.
COMMERCIAL & PRIVATE JETS PARTNERSHIP
The exact middle ground between private jet and commercial airline travel is when a partnership between the two are formed.
A few airlines have created new partnerships with private jets booking companies, which allows passengers from long-haul flights the chance to connect to a similar city by private jet. This allows a commercial airline to have more locations available for passengers to choose from, such as areas not served by a major airport.
However, these typically are restrictions with this kind of partnership. For example, only certain long-haul flights are eligible for this option and you have to fly in or out of one specific airport of their choosing, which eliminates a lot of your flexibility.
PRIVATE JET SEAT SHARING
This type of service is the first step towards private jets trying to be more like a commercial airline. Private jet seat sharing gives passengers the ability to book a single seat on a private jet, rather than book an entire aircraft for a trip, similarly to how one books a seat on a commercial aircraft.
What’s clear is that we’re seeing a lot of change, experimentation and innovation across the aviation industry – which ultimately is all great news for the customer. It’s fantastic to see both sectors of the air industry looking towards one another to see how the other can improve.
At the booking stage, innovations like private jet apps and online private jet booking were all first inspired by the commercial sector, and have now helped make private jet charter more transparent, accessible and tech-friendly to today’s travelers.
For private jets pricing on any jet, contact us or call our 24/7 Flight Team at (888) 507-8582