My trip on the new “affordable” private jet
It’s a desperate, sweaty thought any of the thousands – no, millions – caught up in endless airport delays, cancellations and lines must have had this summer: “I can’t not have a private jet, I’m not made of money. But is there really no other way to travel by plane than *this*?”
Well, fictional frustrated passenger, there actually is another way. A luxurious and seamless way, with little hassle, only a few other like-minded travelers and no queues longer than four seconds. You also don’t have to be “made” of money to take it, just…mostly made of money. 70 percent silver, say. 60, maximum, if you’re only going one way. All hail the rise of “semi-private” air transport. The semi is silent.
The idea is simple: per-seat reservations on small, personalized jets that fly between some of the most popular destinations in the world, carrying no more than 16 people, and all with the quality of service and space you would find on a private flight. Think of it like UberPool, the taxi app service that allows passengers going in the same direction to reduce the cost of their trip by sharing the price, only in the air, crossing continents and each fare costing more than a big. In fact, Uber’s prices aren’t that far off these days.
Despite regularly making headlines for its climate emissions, the private jet industry has rarely been in such poor health. A mix of skyrocketing commercial ticket prices, airport chaos and a low post-pandemic tolerance for dodgy foreigners meant that the monetary view shunning traditional airlines was increasingly worth it. This means private hubs are on the rise.
According to TailHail, Farnborough Airport in Hampshire is reporting a 19.2% increase in flights over pre-pandemic levels, while Biggin Hill in Greater London is up 74%. And as the number of companies – Aero, Blade, JSX, XO, Wheels Up and many others – offering semi-private services grows year after year, many of those planes will be filled with wealthy strangers. who calmly gauge each other.