Recession de Luxe in New York City

by Dirk Elsner on 2. Januar 2010

 (Foto: flickr/Incandenzafied)

How to fly on a private jet for under $150 per person

No security lines or TSA pat downs. Cushy leather seats and legroom for days. Fido curled up right next to you. The perks of flying on a private jet used to be something only the rich and famous enjoyed. But that’s changing — and in some cases, you can fly on a private jet or plane for the cost of coach (or less) if you know how to shop smartly.

A handful of sites and private jet companies are following the lead of hotels and hotel websites and offering last-minute deals on unused inventory, and others are changing the cost structure of private plane travel to make it vastly more affordable, check out the latest update in rules for private jets.

JetSuite.com, which flies to more than 2,000 airports, aggregates private jet flights with empty seats to offer daily “next-day” deals. You can rent the entire plane — a max of 6 seats — starting at just $536 each way, which shakes out to less than $90 per person. Past deals have included a flight for six people from Oxford, Conn., to Philadelphia for $536.43 (that’s about $90 per person, which includes the 7.5% federal excise tax), a flight for four people from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for $499 (that’s about $124 per person); for four people from Orange County, Calif., to Chicago for $536 (that’s about $135 per person); and for six people from Teterboro (in New Jersey, near New York City) to Nassau, Bahamas, for $1,074 (that’s about $179 per person). (In all of the above cases, to get the per person rate, you must book all seats on the plane.)

It’s not the only company offering these kinds of rates: Consumers may also get big last-minute deals, even when they aren’t advertised, by calling a private aviation company within a few days from when they want to depart and asking whether they have deals going on.

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.

Those living on the East Coast will soon be able to fly with Beacon, another monthly membership airline, which will begin flying later this summer, starting with 18-20 daily flights between New York and Boston, as well as seasonally in the Hamptons and Nantucket. Memberships start at $2,000 per month (plus a $1000 initiation fee, which will be waived if you join before Sept. 1, 2015).

For some, the math works out: if you take four or more flights on one of these airlines, those tickets could amount to less than the cost of coach or business class seats.

And FLITE Air Taxi offers a la carte private plane flights for reasonable rates: A flight from Boston to Saratoga, N.Y. costs $541 per person (you will need six people to fill the plane, so $3,250 for the whole flight), as does one from New York City to Martha’s Vineyard and from Block Island to Worcester, Mass.; this does not include federal excise taxes (7.5% of the cost of the flight) but does include other fees.

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