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Not having to endure the tedious security controls, drink a glass of champagne (or those that are needed), fly in ultra-soundproof cabins … Have you ever wondered what it is like to travel on a plane just for you?
We have made the journey from Lisbon to Nice to tell you in first person the experience of sailing the sky in a private jet. And positions to choose, we have chosen the same company that has led Nadal to try to win his eleventh Roland-Garros.
Philip of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth also knew it © Getty Images
Eternal security controls at airports, hostesses and hostesses who kill you with your eyes when you spend 100 grams with luggage, … it has never been easier to catch a plane and probably never before so insufferable…. But for those who can afford it, there are very different ways to travel.
What is it like to fly in a private jet? Is it really so different from the first class of a commercial flight? How rich does it have to be to allow it? And the million dollar question, will one day the average citizen have access to this exclusive way of traveling? We tell you everything.
PRIVATE AVIATION IN EUROPE: A RISING PHENOMENON
The private aviation industry has experienced significant growth in recent years (with a growth of 7.5% in 2017, according to the EBAA -The European Business Aviation Association -).
New fortunes arising from the technological boom have helped to revive the sector, "but also a new way of interpreting luxury, " as Carsten Michaelis points to Traveler.es, director of Sales at NetJets, world leader in private aviation : "The new luxury is being able to have control of time, that is what most of our customers are looking for. ”
In the case of Netjets, only 15 hours are needed to prepare a jet at the nearest airport, ready to head towards the requested destination. When we talk about business trips, time is of vital importance, “we take our client to the meeting place and once there we wait for him until he finishes. There is no pressure from a specific schedule, ”they point out.
Dogs yes, thanks © Getty Images
ARRIVAL AT THE AIRPORT
We started our trip. Flight time: 11 am Recommended arrival at the airport: 10.30 am. "Actually" - they tell us - "it is only necessary to be 15 minutes in advance but as a precaution we ask our clients to try to arrive 30 minutes before, " says a person in charge of the Netjets company, with whom we made our trip.
Only 15 minutes? We arrived at the security checkpoint and I began to place my belongings religiously following the strict rules learned in my many years of flight: computer separated on a tray, plastic bag with liquids that in no case exceed 100 ml, belt outside, jacket to the tray, boots, I take them off or I do not take them off … The security agents look at me perplexed … there is something I am doing wrong but I am not right to know what it is.
Finally they explain to me: "Just leave the luggage on the tape, you go through the detector and that's it." Are you there? ”“ What if I had a bottle of gin? ”“ No problem. ” "What if I carried a 50 kilos suitcase?" "No problem."
The only limitation in terms of luggage is that it fits in the cabin of the plane. You can bring alcohol or perfume, regardless of size. In the United States, in addition, you can travel with firearms, yes, with your license in order.
In 5 minutes we are on the plane: a Challenger 350 of the Netjets company with capacity for nine people . The sensation of ascending the stairs recalling the image so often seen of celebrities who glamorously board their private jet is priceless.
Interior of one of the NetJets planes © NetJets
INSIDE THE PLANE
Comfortable leather armchairs, cashmere blankets, Evian water, a glass of Ruinart champagne as a welcome… no detail is left to chance.
And that includes adapting to different user profiles. Business meeting? Satellite Wifi, possibility of videoconferencing, seats that are transformed into beds to reach the destination as cool as possible, ultra-quiet cabins so that the noise of the engines does not bother us while we work … In vacation mode? A well-stocked bar, ipads, an entertainment system with movies that can be viewed from any digital device …
"Customization is a key element of our service, " they continue. That includes meals. The company has several menus supervised by a chef but can be adapted according to customer preferences. Of course, flying like this gives pleasure.
Something to criticize? The bathroom, which is still a small claustrophobic cabin and no … no shower . This would involve transporting thousands of liters of water, which is unfeasible at the logistics level. Oh, and the wifi doesn't work too well.
Mick Jagger in his private fief © Getty Images
ARE THESE AIRCRAFT SUCH AS SAFE AS THE COMMERCIALS?
"As much or more, " Carsten Michaelis tells us without hesitation. There are three reasons that support this statement:
First, the aircraft that make up the fleet of these companies are generally newer than those of commercial airlines. In the case of Netjets, 40% of its aircraft are less than 3 years old.
Another important factor is the experience of the crew: as a rule in this industry, pilots accumulate more flight hours than in non-private aviation. (In the case of Netjets these must have at least more than 3000 flight hours compared to the 1500 required in commercial airlines).
And as a final variable, personnel dedicated to operations. Every time a customer requests a private flight, a complex machinery is put in place to ensure impeccable logistics, which includes guaranteeing the highest safety standards. In the case of our flight up to 40 people have been involved in the preparations!
HOW RICH DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO FLY IN A PRIVATE JET?
To fly in a private jet, there are several modalities.
1. Buy the plane yourself. To acquire, for example, a Falcon 2000DX you need around 40 million dollars. And that just to start talking, because the cost of the aircraft would have to add the costs of crew, gasoline, maintenance etc.
Angelina Jolie or John Travolta are some of the celebrities who own their own private plane.
NetJets, a plane where you need it © NetJets
2. Be co-owner, the so-called fractional property. The American company Netjets pioneered in the late 90s in this type of "collaborative economy."
Acquiring 1/16 of a Phenom 300 would cost about $ 545, 000, according to data provided by Netjets. It would be the cheapest option that entitles 50 hours of flight.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have in common something more than being the two best tennis players in the world: both are co-owners of a plane in the Netjets company.
3. Jet card or prepaid cards in which flight hours are charged. Each hour of flight would cost between 5000 and 7000 euros depending on the type of plane. According to this, our flight from Lisbon to the south of France, approximately two hours away, would cost about 12, 000 euros. For a total of 9 passengers this would be equivalent to 1333 euros per person. A quick search on the internet shows that the price for this same first class trip is 890 euros, that is 30% less.
Netjets also markets this type of product: its most economical proposal is the Premium Light Jet Card (for a Phenom 300) with 25 flight hours and costs 179, 000 euros.
Hugh Hefner didn't have a private jet, he had his 'Big Bunny' © Getty Images
IN THE FUTURE, WILL WE ALL HAVE A PRIVATE PLANE?
Not long ago, traveling by plane was an unattainable luxury for most mortals until the arrival of low-cost radically changed the landscape. Will we attend a progressive democratization of private aviation in a similar way to what happened in commercial?
In countries like the United States, a much more mature market in the field of private aviation, this is already a fact. Companies like Jetsuite or Blade offer modalities in which it is possible to fly by private jet at prices similar to business class and without the need for any initial investment.
A shared publication of PRIVATEJETSTUDIO (@privatejetstudio) on Feb 27, 2018 at 10:33 PST
In Europe, there is still a long way to go but alternatives like Surf Air are starting to emerge, offering a subscription model similar to Netflix or Spotify: for £ 1, 750 per month (£ 58 per day) all flights can be made. are desired from London to a number of international destinations.
AND WE ARRIVED…
We landed in Nice. The landing is done in the same way: fast and efficient . The suitcases? "The suitcases wait for the client, never the opposite", is the lapidary phrase of the flight commander that perfectly summarizes the essence of this experience: service + comfort + time saving.
Of course, our plane landed an hour and a half late. And not even private aviation gets rid of strikes by air traffic controllers …
A PHOTO FLIGHT
If your dream is to travel by private jet and your bank account does not allow it … The Private Jet Studio company rents private jets for photo shoots for those who wish to live the experience of getting on a private plane or, above all, become stars of Instagram
A two-hour session reaches 200 euros ; This is what this study located in Moscow proposes. They also have makeup artists to get a look tailored to the occasion.
A shared publication of PRIVATEJETSTUDIO (@privatejetstudio) on 2 Apr, 2018 at 10:56 PDT