If you want to fly in style, but you can’t quite afford a private jet of your own, semi-private airlines offer an option somewhere between buying your own Learjet and Ubering to the airport three hours early to stand in line and take your shoes off at a TSA checkpoint.
Semi-private airlines give every passenger a truly first-class experience on small, luxurious jets with just a few other passengers — and amenities that look more like a five-star hotel than an airplane. Some of them are membership-based; others are pay-as-you-go. All, however, let you spare yourself the headaches that are inherent to commercial air travel.
Say goodbye to lines, crowds, canceled flights, pushy staff and cramped quarters, and get used to VIP lounges, concierge service and luxury that’s normally reserved for the 1%. Some semi-private airlines are naturally quite pricey, but others are surprisingly affordable — even for the lower 99.
Aero offers direct, first-class-only flights to select destinations in North America and Europe.
Aero’s concierge team helps passengers plan their trips before they fly. Everything from booking drivers and brokering deals with luxury hotels to making sure their favorite drinks are ready and waiting once they board is covered.
Passengers skip the crowded airport terminal and head straight from Aero’s luxury lounge to the aircraft, personally accompanied by the ground crew. Once aboard Aero’s sleek, 16-passenger ERJ-135LR jet, it’s all about legroom, luxury and living well in hand-stitched Italian leather seats with mood lighting and expansive windows. While all that is happening, the concierge team is arranging for a driver to pick you up and transfer your luggage.
Costs vary, but for context, a two-hour and 20-minute one-way flight from Aspen, Colorado to Los Angeles costs between $1,800 and $3,450, depending on when you fly.
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Tradewind offers semi-private luxury flights to dozens of destinations across America, Canada and the Caribbean.
Passengers trade TSA scrutiny and airport terminal anxiety for luxury jet lounges and VIP experiences. Every flight comes with complimentary snacks and drinks — including champagne, cocktails, beer and wine — and those flights take place aboard elite Pilatus PC-12 and Citation CJ3 jets.
Rates for its premium private charter flight service run from $4,650-$4,950 an hour, depending on the number of hours you fly. Its scheduled flights offer free itinerary changes and flexible ticket terms, and they can be surprisingly affordable.
For example, a short flight from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts to Westchester County, New York — a little less than an hour — can be yours for $335.
JSX passengers can valet their vehicles and arrive for their flights just 20 minutes before takeoff. Fast and non-invasive security precedes a visit to a VIP lounge, followed by business-class amenities on a 30-seat jet with free snacks and drinks and two free checked bags.
JSX flies to Westchester, N.Y. and select cities in the West, Southwest and Southeast. Regional trips can be affordable if you pick the right date. Currently, you can book a three-hour one-way flight from Burbank to Concord, California for as little as $219.
Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 aircraft are the flagship jet of the Boutique Air fleet. They’re known for reclining soft leather seats, enclosed lavatories, power outlets and soundproof cabins. Boutique recently added to its fleet with Beechcraft King Air 350s, which are considered among the best business turboprops in the world.
Boutique serves more than a dozen U.S. cities, its ticket policy is famously flexible, and you’ll be one of only eight or nine passengers on a typical flight. The company’s slogan is “fly private for the cost of commercial,” which it mostly lives up to — many regional flights are available for a few hundred bucks.
Set Jet is a membership-based service that serves New York, South Florida, Baja California and cities across the West and Southwest. The membership fee is $99.95 per month and there’s a one-time security check fee of $99.95. One-way regional domestic flights start at $750 and coast-to-coast domestic flights start at $4,500 one-way. All prices include taxes and fees.
The company maintains a fleet of Bombardier Challenger 850s and Bombardier CRJ200 GLS N888WUs, with other jets coming soon. All aircraft come with oversized VIP seating and cabins finished with high-gloss wood, marble, soft leather and plush carpeting.
Members get two flight changes per month, two flight cancellations per month, two complimentary 30-day guest memberships per month and two pet flights per month.
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