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The Southwest of Private Jets

A new Phenom 100 JetSuite jet

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With the cost and inconvenience of commercial air travel soaring, many high net worth business owners are looking for a better way to travel for both business and leisure.  But the private jet world is alien even to the most successful biz owners and entrepreneurs.  So-called “fractional jet ownership” and similar services tried and failed to make private flight affordable.

Could a newcomer called JetSuite finally have it right?  JetSuite has jettisoned the ownership model for a simpler, lower-cost approach that’s more like a cross between a taxi ride and flying Southwest.  You get the whole taxi (jet) at a low, no-frills rate (well, low for private jets, that is).  And of course your luggage flies free on JetSuite!

I just flew in one of their sparkling new Phenom 100 four-passenger jets – the world’s newest – and it’s truly a sweet ride.  But here’s the phenomenal part:  You can book the entire jet (yes, pilot included) and fly four people (family, friends, clients) from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for a mere $999 (one way), as one example.  So far, destinations (called “SuiteSpots”) are limited to cities in Western U.S., and rates are higher on longer routes.   But expansion will come quickly.

I chatted with JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox about his company and his business plan. Wilcox unabashedly wants JetSuite to be “the Southwest of private jets.”  So the former JetBlue exec has bought a fleet of Phenom 100s (12 so far; 20 more on order) from Brazilian plane-maker Embraer and launched the first private jet service that – at least in some cases – is competitive with commercial airline rates.

In addition to having the newest fleet of jets anywhere, JetSuite has also earned coveted ARGUS Platinum Rating for the highest levels of safety in the industry.  JetSuite also offers SuiteKey memberships which are fully refundable pre-paid accounts that your business can use to purchase private jet flights at a discount.

JetSuite has made the booking process even simpler than buying an airline ticket.  Just let them know when and where you want to go, and how flexible your schedule is, and they’ll give you the best rate available.  It’s like having your own private airline.
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