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Private jets are reserved for the rich and famous, right? While that was once the case, specialized programs are making more exclusive aircraft readily available to the non-billionaire set looking for an A-list experience.
Now, one company is offering fares starting at just $29. No, that’s not a mistake.
Starting Feb. 6, JetSuiteX will offer flights between Southern California's Santa Monica Airport and San Jose, Las Vegas and Carlsbad on luxuriously configured Embraer 135 aircraft starting at just $29 each way for a limited time. Santa Monica residents will also receive 25 percent off all fares to and from the city after their first round trip and verification of residency.
If you’re not a resident or miss the promotion period, the fares are still a steal, starting at $79 for four weekly flights between those same destinations with a stopover in Santa Monica. A quick search of the same flights on a commercial airline yield results of just under $100 round trip, meaning that for about $60 more you can skip the hassle of airport security and arrive as little as 15 minutes before your flight.
“We are excited to offer the people of Santa Monica an affordable service which they can use,” Alex Wilcox, CEO of JetSuite, which runs JetSuiteX, told TODAY in an email. “Our public charter service now provides the Los Angeles area with two departure points, Burbank and Santa Monica, making those Vegas and Bay Area trips so much easier.”
The discounted airfares are for quick flights, and you are only purchasing a single seat much like on a commercial airline. Unlike with other companies, JetSuiteX clients don’t need to pay a monthly subscription or travel in small propeller airplanes. Depending on the flight, you get a seat assignment on a 4-, 6- or 30-seat jet, depending on the route, each with legroom and service comparable to domestic airlines’ business class service.
If you're feeling a bit more like a rock star, JetSuiteX's parent company, JetSuite, also uses the new aircraft for private flights, where the whole jet may be chartered for around $8,000 per hour, or nearly $300 per person per hour for a group of 30.
For travelers in other parts of the country, similar private jet companies have popped up over the years, offering a variety of ways to score seats on longer routes. JetSmarter was dubbed the "Uber of aviation" when it launched free scheduled JetShuttle flights around the country, with routes from New York to Florida, Chicago to Los Angeles, Dallas to Houston, San Francisco to New York, Los Angeles to San Francisco, and more. When you’re a member (membership rates start at $10,000) you can book a free seat on a flight and purchase tickets for travel companions.