Posted Oct. 3, 2012
By ALEXIS KANAREK
Started just six years ago, JetSuite is a charter-jet company that not only charters planes, but also offers one the option of flying one of their prefixed routes throughout the Midwest and West Coast, providing a private jet alternative at a cost that is only marginally larger than a first class seat.
Based in Irvine, Calif., at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, JetSuite offers an option called SuiteShare, which was launched by the company in 2011.
It offers individual customers the opportunity to share a four passenger aircraft, Embraer’s Phenom 100, with others at an even lower cost, providing an even more affordable and accessible option in private air travel for business and leisure travelers alike.
“Furthering our mission to provide private jet travel to more people than ever before, SuiteShare allows you to open up your flights to others, and to avoid the hassles of commercial travel at an even lower cost than our already renowned pricing,” said JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox, a former JetBlue founding executive, in an interview this past July for Entrepreneur Magazine.
Although typical passengers include business executives or the wealthy that don’t have their own planes, with this new option, customers can choose to share the plane, in order to lower their individual flight costs, and every time another customer joins a flight the price everyone pays decreases. Seemingly complicated, this process is simple and the flights are easy to book with a computer and just a few clicks.
One simply enters their desired itinerary on JetSuite’s website and if the flight can be accommodated then the total fare will appear along with the amount that one’s cost decreases as more passengers join the flight. A one-way fare that would generally cost $1,000, for example, could be reduced to $500 if one more passenger books and to $250 if two more passengers book.
To add further incentive, the first customer that books one of these flights will fly for free if three other customers join in afterwards and a refund will be issued after the flight. So one has the potential of taking a $1,000 flight, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for example, in a private plane, that seats four, for free. To further facilitate the process, JetSuite bookings and purchases can be made online via credit card.
Although JetSuite offers some very appealing rates and private travel has clear benefits over commercial travel, prices listed are one-way only so flying JetSuite could get expensive.
Due to SuiteShare’s success, JetSuite will soon introduce SuiteShare Standby, a new product offering customers the option of committing to a flight only if a second customer joins, making these “cheap” flights a guarantee.
As of now these deals are only for preset routes, called SuiteSpots, located throughout the Midwest and along the West Coast; including Dallas, Las Vegas and Phoenix, just to name a few. However limiting this may seem, JetSuite is already expanding some of its routes to include the East Coast, with a SuiteSpot now in Westchester, N.Y., and will continue to do so.
SuiteShare, however, is not the only option other than regular chartering that JetSuite offers. The company also gives customers the option of snagging SuiteDeals through Facebook and other social media websites. Select destinations, or SuiteSpots, for the following day are offered at prices as low as $500 to the first person that comments with a booking request that matches the flight schedule.
In addition, JetSuite also offers yet another option known as SuiteSavers. Meant to serve as an intermediary option between SuiteShare and SuiteDeals, this alternative is for clients who want to book their flights in advance, between SuiteSpots, but still remain somewhat flexible in their travel plans.
Although these spontaneous deals may not always seem ideal for many travelers, for the flexible traveler, with friends or colleagues to split the bill, it offers a last-minute chance to experience private jet travel without having to pay the per-hour flight costs that can range from $2,500 to $8,000 per hour.
JetSuite has successfully transcended the boundaries between private and commercial aviation. They not only charter planes for celebrities like Demi Moore, who used JetSuite to get from Los Angeles to Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Festival last year, but also provide ordinary people with a chance to enjoy five star travel.
Private jets may not have a reputation for being cheap, but JetSuite is making what was once the domain of only the very wealthy within reach for a special trip or the date of a lifetime.
The perks of flying private are no secret and through JetSuite one can enjoy them at a more reasonable price. Faster travel, bypassing security lines, private lounges, no terminals (drive right up to the plane), plenty of legroom, and personal flight attendants serving complimentary beverages and snacks are just some of these advantages. If that doesn’t seem like enough, JetSuite even allows pets on-board all their planes.
Like other private charter companies, JetSuite also offers various membership programs for customers willing to pay for guaranteed rates. Offering four different memberships at costs ranging from $50,000 to $400,000 with no expiration, JetSuite provides a variety of benefits including, lower hourly rates, twice the grace period, more flexible change and cancellation policies, and higher priority for booking just to name a few. Becoming a member can be done by simply visiting JetSuite’s website and filling out one’s information in a five-minute process.
“JetSuite is a unique company because it has been able to capitalize on changes in regulation and improvements in technology, in order to offer regional charter service at affordable cost,” said Michael Shawn, a pilot that has flown Embraer planes in the past. “The fact that JetSuite uses the Phenom 100, taking advantage of its single pilot rating, allows them to lower their operating cost beyond the plane’s fuel efficiency.”
JetSuite, a landmark in the field of private aviation, has become the nation’s fastest-growing private jet company. A revolution for business travel, this company achieves such competitive prices by utilizing fuel efficient, single pilot jets, which lower its operating costs.
In addition, JetSuite, on deals within SuiteShare, refrains from charging the dead leg, one of the main reasons chartering can get expensive, in order to offer the cheapest alternative to commercial aviation, while providing all the conveniences of private aviation to the market, at a lower price.
“The Phenom 100, since its release in 2008, has been one of the most fuel efficient planes on the market,” said Jorge Acero, a support analyst for Embraer at their Fort Lauderdale offices. “These planes make for a much better flying experience than many of our competitors’ older, less efficient aircrafts, due to the Phenom’s latest in cockpit and cabin design, private lavatory, fuel reserves, and range of 1,178 nautical miles, which makes it capable of flying nonstop from Miami to New York, for example.”
Lunch in Miami and dinner in New York without layovers is just one of the Phenom 100’s many capabilities. As the fastest jets in their class, these planes have lower operating costs than those of competitors, including turboprops. Burning 109 gallons of fuel in the first hour and 77 gallons in the second hour, the Phenom 100 undoubtedly proves its efficiency.
For those worried more about safety than their wallets, JetSuite guarantees “new heights” of aviation safety, claiming the safety of their passengers, crew and aircraft is their top priority. JetSuite provides its pilots with some of the latest aviation equipment, as the only jet charter company to have gear like synthetic vision technology installed on every plane.
In addition, JetSuite flies the newest jets, Embraer’s Phenom 100, with seasoned pilots averaging over 8,000 hours of flight time and has obtained the ARG/US Platinum rating, the highest safety rating achievable in civil aviation.
TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATE JET
Headquarters: JetSuite, 18952 MacArthur Blvd., Irvine, CA 92612.
- Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston in Texas.
- Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe in Nevada.
- Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona.
- Los Angeles, Mammoth, Orange County, Palm Springs, San Diego, and Oakland in California
- Hartford in Connecticut.
- Westchester in New York.