Jet set on the cheap - Macleans.ca

Jet set on the cheap

A California company called JetSuite is offering use of charter jets for one-way, low-cost fares

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Jet set on the cheap

JetSuite

The discount airline model has transformed the air travel industry. Now can it do the same for the private jet business? A California company called JetSuite is offering use of charter jets for one-way, low-cost (relatively speaking) fares. For instance, for US$999, passengers can travel from Van Nuys, Calif., to Las Vegas. And that doesn’t just buy a seat, it gets you the entire plane.

To keep costs down, JetSuite flies four-seat, fuel-efficient Embraer jets. And it keeps routes short (fares go up based on hours in the air). The airline is one of several moving to offer lower cost private jet services. Lufthansa Private Jet recently offered 30 per cent discounts for Canadian travellers.

During the financial crisis, executives were sharply criticized for their use of private jets, which became symbols of Wall Street excess. Steep discounts may be the surest way to revive, and rehabilitate, the industry.