Need to leave New York in a hurry? Private jet memberships may be a great alternative. In addition to JFK and LaGuardia, they depart from Teterboro, White Plains and Farmingdale airports with as little as a four-hour notice.
The top five memberships are:
The original membership company, it now has 700 planes ranging from light- to large-cabin. Reserve by either buying fractional ownership of a jet or by purchasing a prepaid jet card. For smaller aircraft, 25 hours costs $170,000; 25 hours for larger models like a Gulfstream V is $374,900 plus tax and fuel surcharge.
For a $200,000 initial fee and an $8500 fixed hourly rate, XOJets will put you on one of its own 41 midsized or larger planes, or charter one for you. XOJets backs up its brand emphasis on luxury by offering concierges for hotels, resorts, and hard-to-get event tickets. In 2017, XOJet introduced an economy plan for members flying less than 25 hours a year.
Also featuring 72 larger planes, Vistajet offers two separate membership options. The Program, aimed at CEOs and other ultra-rich frequent fliers, is a multi-year commitment that averages $1.4 to $1.9 million a year for 120 hours. The VistaJet Direct program, begun in 2016, allows cardholders to order flights for $11,000 to $17,000 an hour depending on the plane. Direct members are also offered discounts on otherwise empty ferry flights. Direct programs require either a $50,000 or $100,000 refundable deposit and a monthly flight management fee.
4. Wheels Up
For thriftier travelers, Wheels Up offers a $17,500 first year membership, renewable at $8500/year after that. Instead of jet cards, Wheels Up members pay as they go. Hourly rates for one of 15 Citation Excel jets is $7295. Committed skinflints can buy the first year membership through Costco and save $3500.
CNBC called JetSmarter “Uber for jets.” While it doesn’t operate its own planes, Sergey Petrossov’s JetSmarter claims a network of over 4000 charter aircraft. The company allows members to book flights, but its most popular offering is ridesharing; for an annual subscription of $9000 to $15,000 members get unlimited free flights on otherwise empty or space-available flights. For inveterate networkers, the JetSmarter app alerts members if celebrities will be sharing the trip. Actors Emily Ratajkowski and Jamie Foxx, as well as SharkTank’s Daymon John, have shared planes with fans.