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Flying on a Private Jet with PrivateFly

Flying on a Private Jet with PrivateFly

AIRLINES, LUXURY TRAVEL

Ever dream of avoiding the long lines at airports? Not being crammed in with a hundred strangers? Or, having to wait for all hundred people to be seated or to get off?  Ever dream of the luxurious life of flying private jets with relaxing leather seats? Well, you’re not alone. I too have wondered when it would be my turn to “fly private.”

I had the opportunity this week to interview, Adam Twidell, CEO and Founder of PrivateFly. PrivateFly is a global private jet charter broker that provides a booking platform for private jet charter flights covering 19 countries.  Connecting customers with available aircraft, PrivateFly makes it much quicker and more transparent to compare and book private jet charter flights.

 

Legacy 450 PrivateFly Aircraft (Image: PrivateFly)
Legacy 450 PrivateFly Aircraft (Image: PrivateFly)

 

How did you come up with the idea for PrivateFly?

Adam:    I was a pilot, and still am, and started in the military and flew in the UK Air Force for 10 years and when I left, the general route for pilots after the military is to join the airlines.  I just looked at the job of a pilot in an airline, and it wasn’t for me.  I discovered private jets and started flying private jets. I think it was during that time that I was speaking to so many customers and realized that they were flying by private jets, and a lot of passengers were unhappy because they didn’t know if they were paying too much for their flights.  I looked at very other fragmented marketplace and financial services or just airline travel, and it all had been completely changed by the internet. Here was an area of travel, private aviation that nobody was connecting customers with the aircraft operators in an online environment in the marketplace. So I talked about this with my wife, Carol, she worked for Conde Nast one of their travel magazines, and she understood about travel and marketing, and we decided to sell our house to seek money into the company and develop the software. Spoting the gap in the market was the reason for launching PrivateFly.

 

Adam Twidell, CEO and Founder of PrivateFly (Image: www.thesundaytimes.co.uk)
Adam Twidell, CEO and Founder of PrivateFly (Image: www.thesundaytimes.co.uk)

 

Do you remember the first time you flew private?

Adam:  The first time I flew privately, I was the pilot.  I think I might have been as apprehensive as a customer who never flew privately before. There are all the questions of where to go and how it works.  There are a lot of people, probably the vast majority of travelers, who don’t understand about the logistics of how you fly private. Let me demystify it.

First, there is almost always a private jet terminal which is separate from the commercial terminals. The one you see here (note, we were at the Ft Lauderdale Executive Airport) is I would say, a larger private jet terminal than is typical. In Ft Lauderdale, the Executive Airport is separate from the general airport.  Sometimes, the private jet terminal  is a small building at the general airport.  Secondly, the private terminal itself doesn’t get much use. Passengers arrive and often they go straight to the aircraft. Typically, the captain will be waiting besides the entrance.  As the passengers arrive, he will greet them, say hello, and walk straight onto the aircraft. The idea is to be in the air literally five minutes after arriving.  The private jet terminal has a nice lounge facility, but often, the passengers do not use it, they normally go straight to the aircraft.  One exception is when a small business group is traveling.  It’s funny when you fly a group of business guys, the boss is almost always the last person to arrive and the most junior guy is the first to arrive. The more junior you are the more terrified you are of delaying the boss. You will probably arrive an hour in advance just to be sure. The boss knows that if he’s late it doesn’t matter because everyone is going to wait for him (or her).  That’s one of the benefits of private aviation, you aren’t going to miss your plane.

 

Banyan Lounge Area -Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport
Banyan Lounge Area -Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport

 

Carmen:  When I travel with the family, I have to arrive to the airport so far in advance, go through security, and wait.  Do they have security on private as well?

Adam:  The security here is part of the flow and you wouldn’t know of it happening.  The same regulations apply, it’s just done in a much more informal manner.  There are certainly no queues.

 

Your vehicle is awaiting for you upon arrival (Image: Shutterstock)
Your vehicle is awaiting for you upon arrival (Image: Shutterstock)

 

If people want to use the service, what does it cost, and do they did tend to use it for business or pleasure?

Adam:  That’s interesting because I think Europeans are using private aviation much more for leisure use than business. In the States it’s more 50/50.  I think business understands in the States that it’s a business tool and if you were paying your chief executive millions of dollars a year, his hourly rate means you don’t want him at a queue for security at Miami International. You would rather have him depart straight away and do two or three meetings in the day and come back and be ready to work the next day, rather than having a long airline schedule.  It’s obviously a mix so you’ve got the  corporate use, leisure use, high net worth individuals, and also people use private aviation for one offs.  Sometimes it’s an unfortunate circumstance that they’ve got a family member who is ill, or dying and you need to get back to see them.  What’s the price you would pay to help a family member?  Other times it’s because you have elderly parents and young children and you can afford to do it, why go through the pain of going through the airport?

 

On a Challenger 601 Private Jet very spacious and roomy with PrivateFly
On a Challenger 601 Private Jet very spacious and roomy with PrivateFly

Do you allow pets as well on flights? 

Adam:    Yes, pets fly too.  “Pets on Jets” is now a thing.  There are regulations about flying pets internationally, they have to have passports and have their documents up to date.  There are no reasons why pets can’t fly.  A lot of people like that because it allows them stress-free travel for the family. Especially, people relocating. We do a number of flights across the Atlantic with people with pets. Pets are welcome on private jets.

 

 

What is the number one reason people use the service?

Adam:   Our technology is why our customers like our product, because we deliver lower prices quicker than everybody else.  We have a team of experts as well, we are online, we have an app that  you can go all the way through the booking process without having to speak to people, but we would actually prefer to speak to you because we like speaking to our customers.

 

If I was a customer and went online right now on your app, would I get an instead quote depending on where I want to go?

Adam:  The first thing you do is you put in where you want to fly, and we would return an estimated price instantly to you to give you a ball park figure.  Returning customers bypass that and go straight to the market so their flight goes to the tendering process, and that’s what would happen to your flight.  Then, the aircraft operators on our network would be quoting and quoting against each other to deliver the best valued flight.  We sell flights partially because of our speedy response.  In this day and age passengers are used to instant info when they are booking an airline flight and so why the same for a private jet? So, we feel we have have to get quotes quickly to the customers and also, the actual prices are very important.

 

How PrivateFly App Works
How PrivateFly App Works

Do customers get to choose what type jets they want?

Adam:   Yes, depending on their requirements, we can give them a range.  Some of our customers are very specific.  Our Russian customers know exactly what type of aircrafts they like to fly on, and more importantly the age, and the interior of the cabins, and how the aircraft is layout.  These are all critical decisions,  We display all of that or we can hold the hand of the customer or the customer can choose on their own which aircraft they want to fly.   We’ll go look at one in a minute.

 

The Challenger 601 Private Jet - seats 9 passengers.
The Challenger 601 Private Jet – seats 9 passengers.
Inside PrivateFly's Challenger 601 Private Jet
Inside PrivateFly’s Challenger 601 Private Jet

What’s the advantage of PrivateFly over the different fractional airlines and shared private jet structures?

Adam:   I think we are just coming out of the big recession and the customer has changed in attitude.  They don’t want to pay in advance for their flights.  They want to know what it’s costing each time.  When you buy a fractional program, you are committing for three years, and a lot of very savy private jet customers now don’t want to enter into long contracts.  They want to pay as they go and make sure they are getting the best value flight every time.  Having the freedom and not having the financial commitment is important.

 

What are your most popular routes and destinations?

Adam:  The most popular route is Los Angeles to Los Vegas.  Those are selling like hotcakes.  It’s a relatively short flight and on a small aircraft, it doesn’t have to be that expensive per seat. You can get it down to $400-$500 per seat if your sharing a 6 or 7 seat aircraft.   Other routes such as New York across to LA, New York to Boston, and New York to Miami are very popular.  From here, Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean is very popular.  In Europe, Geneva to Paris is the most popular followed by Moscow to Geneva.  Geneva is a business and banking center and a skiing center so it’s popular with business and leisure.  Ibiza was the most popular destination this past summer. There were days that there weren’t enough slots or parking positions for all of the private jets that wanted to come.  So, customers had to be flexible because of the congestion. They’re building another 20 parking slots for next summer.

Will you be adding more routes soon?

Adam:  The beauty of private aviation is that there are no set routes. Two thirds of our flights go on routes that commercial airlines don’t fly. And that’s even on board. So, if you book a flight to go to Nassau in the Bahamas and you might get a phone call enroute that the yacht that you are going to join is now at St Maarten. When you’re flying private, you can just go up to the pilot and give him a change of plans.

Wow, that’s not something that I can do on a commercial flight!

So that’s the story. I got to sit on the jet for a half hour and frankly, it’s fantastic.  Now that I’ve seen what a private jet is like, I’ve put a private jet flight on my personal bucket list.

If you have any questions on private aviation, or need private jet hire prices you can contact the team of jet experts at PrivateFly 24 hours by phone on 866-726-1222 or use the app PrivateFly.

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

26 Comments

  1. Carol Colborn
    October 25, 2015 at 1:04 am
    Reply

    Wow, the height of luxury travel! I should try the LA0Las Vegas popular route!

    • Carmen
      October 25, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      For only a couple of hundred dollars I would jump on the opportunity to fly a private jet to Las Vegas.

  2. Karla | karlaroundtheworld
    October 25, 2015 at 2:59 am
    Reply

    This seems to be a well taught of business and a great service to provide. I love the ease of online booking though an app. I can imagine how LA to Vegas will be a popular route. I haven’t considered this but perhaps in the future, or for a honeymoon perhaps, this would be a great idea.

    • Carmen
      October 25, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      I like the idea of driving up to the plane getting out of the car and taking off in 15 minutes. The app makes it easier to get an idea of what it’s going to cost, and they have agents available 24/7 if you need assistance.

  3. Traveling Rockhopper
    October 25, 2015 at 3:18 am
    Reply

    wow, that’s an interesting idea! Looks amazing inside! 🙂

    • Carmen
      October 25, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      The plane was very spacious inside, and had plenty of room to stretch out your legs. I can certainly get use to flying this way.

  4. Claudia
    October 25, 2015 at 3:56 am
    Reply

    A private jet – never even crossed my mind. But hey, it is a great idea if traveling with pets actually. I would never want to place my cat or dog in the stressful situation of being placed in the baggage cabin of a plane!

    • Carmen
      October 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      People don’t realize that many of these private jets have empty seats available that they would like to fill up when the plane has to return to its original destination. It’s a great way to fly with your pets and have them sit next to you on the plane.

  5. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    October 25, 2015 at 4:17 am
    Reply

    Looks like such a luxurious way to fly! I always imagined private jets being something only celebrities and politicians tend to use so it’s great to learn of services like this making it more accessible to others who want to fly that way.

    • Carmen
      October 25, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      That’s the way I thought about private jet too, that only the rich and famous were able to afford it. It’s not that way anymore.

  6. Jen
    October 25, 2015 at 6:22 am
    Reply

    Traveling like this would put first class to shame. Looks like luxury at its finest.

    • Carmen
      October 25, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      I fly first class all the time, and although it’s a great way to fly you still have to arrive at the airport way in advance and it’s time consuming. Flying on a private jet you don’t have to wait, or go through long security longs. You can take off as soon as you arrive.

  7. Trisha Velarmino
    October 25, 2015 at 10:34 am
    Reply

    Not just flying first class but a jet for yourself! Must have been a really memorable experience! Next time, I will come with you! Xx

    • Carmen
      October 25, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      I didn’t fly this time. I interviewed the owner and founder of the company on the jet. Who knows maybe one day soon I will fly private.

  8. Erica
    October 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm
    Reply

    Luxury and convenience– I like that! Take me next time please!

    • Carmen
      October 25, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      I think my whole family wants to go on a private jet ride now that they saw this.

  9. Aileen Adalid
    October 25, 2015 at 7:13 pm
    Reply

    Now this is amazing! It’s really luxurious, and certainly if I’m someone who has the money to do these things, I would love the ease and the swift service that Privatefly provides! The app booking really helps too.

    • Carmen
      October 26, 2015 at 2:19 am

      My husband is worried now that I’m not going to want to travel in commercial planes anymore. I don’t blame him, after you’ve had a chance to experience a private jet it’s hard to turn back.

  10. Toccara
    October 25, 2015 at 10:16 pm
    Reply

    How swanky! I’m sure it’s on everyone’s bucket list to fly on a private jet. Nice to know that there are companies like PrivateFly that make it easy to book and (relatively) affordable.

    • Carmen
      October 26, 2015 at 2:22 am

      You’ll have to add this one to your bucket list if you don’t already have it listed. I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want to fly on a private jet.

  11. Pinay Flying High
    October 26, 2015 at 9:18 am
    Reply

    I would looooOOOOOVVVEEEE to experience this! Sadly, I can only afford an economy class flight most of the time. :p

    • Carmen
      October 26, 2015 at 10:59 am

      I think all of us want to be able to experience flying on a private jet at least once in our life. 🙂

  12. Julius from Traveltipy
    October 27, 2015 at 6:54 am
    Reply

    To be honest, I don’t like leather seats at all, but I would definitely want to be on board of this private jet! 🙂

    • Carmen
      November 18, 2015 at 1:54 am

      I love sitting in First Class in the large leather seats, I find them much more comfortable than the others.

  13. Sue @NoFixedAbodeForSue
    November 5, 2015 at 9:58 pm
    Reply

    This is very high on my bucket list of must do activities. My husband has flown a private jet many times and I am getting increasingly jealous 🙂 Im plotting with a few girlfriends for a trip so my time might be soon.

    • Carmen
      November 18, 2015 at 1:55 am

      Funning that you mention a girlfriends trip on a private jet, because my friends said the same thing when they saw my article.

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