• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Affordable Luxury Air Travel Is on the Rise

It’s official: 2024 is the year of luxury air travel.

Travel experts told Business Insider they had noticed an uptick in clients opting for luxury air travel experiences, from private jets to first-class and premium-class plane tickets.

Oliver Bell, cofounder of luxury travel company Oliver’s Travels, said this trend could be partly attributed to “revenge travel,” where people are “willing to spend more for incredible experiences” in the aftermath of the pandemic.

According to a Forbes Advisor survey of 1,000 Americans in January of this year, 39% of people say their travel budget in 2024 will be higher than the previous year. (That’s down from 45% of people surveyed in 2023.)

But you don’t have to be flushed with cash to experience luxury air travel. You just have to do your research.

Semi-private jets are often overlooked

Private jets are one of the most obvious ways to travel in luxury, but according to Bell, they are often overlooked because people assume they are too expensive.

“A lot of people assume that flying private is only for the rich and famous, the Elon Musk’s of the world,” Bell said.

“Of course, it’s by no means a ‘cheap’ way to fly as it still will typically be more expensive than flying commercial, but it is much more accessible than people think, which could be why we’re seeing an increase now that people are becoming more aware,” he added.

As BI’s Alesandra Dubin previously reported, June 2022 had the most private flights in the US since October 2007.


The interior of a private jet

The interior of a private jet.

Timurpix/Getty Images



Dubin recommended booking a publicly available seat on a “hop on” semi-private jet flight to save money. Numerous private regional airlines, such as JSX, offer this option.

JSX offers various routes from private terminals across the West Coast and Texas. Passengers don’t have to worry about crowds or security lines, and with a maximum of 30 passengers on each flight, you can get the feeling of flying private without actually hiring your own jet.

In June 2021, Dubin wrote about her experience traveling from LA to Vegas on a JSX flight for $99. Her ticket included a free checked bag, snacks, and drinks, including alcohol.

Alternatively, some private jet companies offer subscription services where you get full access for a set fee every month. For example, Surf Air is an LA-based private jet company that offers unlimited private flying memberships for $295 per month or $3,540 annually.

“Instead of having to wait in long queues with limits on baggage or extra payments required, you can arrive as little as 15 minutes before your flight, board directly, and enjoy complete comfort and privacy,” Bell said.

Affordable or ‘middle-of-the-road’ luxury

Some passengers can travel in first or business class for less using credit cards or airline reward points.

But for less frequent flyers or those who don’t have the points, there are alternative options.

David Guthrie, founder of safari company Tent with a View, said he has noticed an increase in clients opting for “middle-of-the-road luxury” options, such as premium-class plane tickets.

He said it’s become common for airlines to offer a “more elevated experience compared to standard economy,” but these options are “not nearly as plush or pricey as first-class or private charters.”

Airlines, including KLM, Delta, and United, offer premium or comfort-class tickets.


united airlines exterior plane

United offers premium packages.

George Rose/Getty Images



Each airline offers different perks. With United Airlines’ Premium Plus package, passengers will get bigger seats, more legroom, and an amenity kit with skincare products from TheraFace, including eye serum, facial spray, hand cream, and lip balm.

It also includes free alcohol, upgraded meal cutlery, and noise-canceling headphones on board, as well as larger TV screens, priority check-in and boarding, exclusive security lanes, and priority bag handling.

According to Martina Coogan, head of United Airline’s corporate sales in the UK and Ireland, fares start at around $1,077.

Coogan told BI that Premium Plus is “gaining in popularity with both leisure and corporate travelers, and we expect this trend to continue.”

He said it’s an especially popular option for passengers traveling on long-haul flights from the US to the UK.

Meanwhile, with KLM’s premium comfort package, passengers are seated in a “quiet cabin” with up to 28 seats with 17cm more legroom and 7.5cm more recline than an economy seat. Guthrie said this package is popular among his clients, who appear to spend double the amount on premium comfort tickets compared to economy.

Similarly, Delta’s Comfort Plus package offers more legroom (though it’s not clear by how much), early boarding, dedicated overhead bin space, and complimentary snacks on flights over 900 miles and drinks on flights over 251 miles.

link

By admin