Why private jets are more affordable than you’d think

By Kitty Knowles 15 March 2017
Guests board a Victor flight in New York. Pic: Victor.

The Uber for the 1%.

Make no mistake, a battle to be the ‘Uber of the skies’ is underway.

If you’re not familiar with this hot new trend, high fliers are ditching private jets and instead opting for luxury flights on-demand.

You’ll still need a fair amount of dollar for the pleasure, but if you’re a frequent flyer, it means less hassle and could actually save you money.

The world of private jets is opening up.

Subscribing is sexy

In the past CEOs may not have batted an eye-lid at owning a company plane, but today the idea feels distinctly gauche.

You’d never, for example, peg a 20-something Tinder CEO as keeping six jets in the hanger.

You could totally imagine them using Surf Air, however, which offers a Spotify-like subscription model.

The Californian airline lets you can fly anywhere you want for just £2,500 per month – do a couple of business class trips and you’ll already break even.

You could soon soar in a Surf Air jet.

The Uber of the air

Sick of the hassle of keeping your own Bombardier in the hanger? Fly someone else’s on a cut-price ticket.

Apps like Victor offers ‘on demand’ charter flights you can tailor to your needs, while StrataJet keep prices low by filling up ’empty legs’ (the empty seats after a private jet has been flown one-way).

If your happy to fill those seats, you could knock up to 75% off the original charter price.

Going skiing in St. Moritz on a stag, why not rent a whole jet for the team?

A VistaJet cabin.

Welcome to lux life

Another airline, VistaJet, invites you to pay out €16,000 an hour – to fly wherever you want, whenever you want. At the drop of a hat.

That sounds like a lot, but if you spend more 100 hours a year up in the air, it’s still way cheaper than owning your own private jet.

What’s more, you benefit from in-flight perks – like fancy food from Nobu, an on-board library curated by Heywood Hill, and crew trained by the British Butler Institute.

It’s no wonder the company reported a 28% increase in passenger numbers last year.

Vista app.

The future trend

If we’ve learned anything from Uber, the fight is only just beginning.

Just as we’re phasing out car ownership in favour of ride-hailing, you can expect that aircraft sales will continue to drop year-on-year.

In our digital world we are placing less value on owning luxurious stuff, and more on enjoying luxurious comfort and convenience. If it can be wrapped up in a slick digital package, all the better.

What’s more, while few challengers seem capable of truly rivalling Uber, there is still plenty of space for innovation in the sky.

Forget taxi wars, the next battle will be for your boarding pass.