Fly Private At The Price Of Commercial With JetSuite | Plus, My Interview With JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox

Sometimes, after a long and hectic New York Fashion Week, it’s always nice to get away someplace warm and calm –  running away from the snowy and bustling streets of the city as fast as you can. And, where would one want to go that would allow for a quick flight and maximum sun this time of year? Miami! I decided, in an effort to make the travel experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible, to fly privately with a new and innovative company operating in the private jet market, JetSuite.

Now, flying on a private jet can be very costly and not everyone has the resources to pay the average $7,000 per hour price tag that can come with the luxury of having an airplane all to yourself. But, with JetSuite, flying in style and comfort is now much more feasible. Unlike many private jet brokers and companies, JetSuite is a self-contained operation, owning their own new aircraft fleet and employing their own pilots. They manage every detail of your experience from their easy-to-use website, travel concierge, bookings and more.

On my flight, I flew the new Citation CJ3, which has been rated as one of the most efficient and comfortable jets in its category. The airline also operates Embraer Phenom 100s, which offer speeds of up to 480 miles per hour and can fly well above commercial aircrafts at 47,000 feet. This allows for a smoother and quicker ride to your final destination.

From the moment I arrived at the private Landmark Aviation hangar at the small White Plains airport 30 minutes outside of New York City, I was kept abreast of my plane – where it was, when it was expected to arrive for me and how long my flight to Miami would be. When the new plane touched down in White Plains from Baltimore, I was met in the lounge by my pilot who checked my identification – no laptop removal necessary! He escorted me out to the jet which was waiting a mere 20 feet from the lounge door. I boarded easily and explored the small but luxurious cabin which was equipped with 6 seats, a bathroom and a bar stocked with wine, liquor and snacks for my flight. In no time flat, the boarding door was secured and we were up in the air.

JetSuite offers the typical jet charter option which will allow people to book a flight, to most any destination, with one simple phone call. Plus, JetSuite also offers a unique and innovative option for those with more flexible travel plans. In an effort to make flying private more accessible, the company releases a handful of “Suite Deals” which offer one-way, private jet travel on select empty legs, for travel the following day. For a price of $536.43 or 1073.93 – depending on the duration of the flight – you can have the entire aircraft to yourself. And, depending on the aircraft, you can bring up to 5 friends. So, in essence, for a spur of the moment trip, this option can be cheaper than jumping on a major carrier.

My flight from New York to Miami ran $1073.93 on a 6 passenger Citation CJ3. Had I brought 5 others, that would make my flight cost about $179 per person. You cannot beat that. In just under 3 hours, I landed safe and sound at Miami’s International Airport. My pilot and co-pilot helped me out of the plane and handed me my bag. Within 5 minutes, I was in a car headed to my beachfront hotel. The experience couldn’t have been easier or more enjoyable. All of this, and the JetSuite brand, is headed-up by JetBlue founder and current JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox. Below is my interview with the aviation innovator.

IC: How is JetSuite operationally different from other private airline companies currently operating in the United States?

AW: Unlike most operators, all JetSuite pilots are employed full time and are all type-rated in the airplane in which they fly. Our airplanes are all exclusively used by JetSuite; we do not use third party airplanes or fractionalize them among several owners the way virtually all of our competitors do.

IC: What does JetSuite offer its customer that no one else does?

AW: JetSuite offers an exclusively company-owned and operated fleet, as well as completely transparent pricing. JetSuite is the only jet charter provider who offers a GUARANTEED online quote, where you know to the penny what you will pay BEFORE you fly. We also maintain the most fuel-efficient jet fleet in the sky.

IC: Describe what a SuiteDeal is and what it means to an everyday person who travels.

AW: A JetSuite SuiteDeal is a way for us to market and sell our empty legs. For example, if we need an airplane in Miami for a trip but don’t have one there at that time, we may have to fly it there empty to pick up the passengers. We call those “SuiteDeals” and post them to every afternoon for only $499 + tax for the WHOLE plane! With a SuiteDeal, you can charter a next-day flight onboard a 6 passenger JetSuite Edition CJ3 or 4 passenger Phenom 100 for the cost of many commercial flights.

IC: After years in the corporate airline arena, why launch a start-up in the private jet sector of the market?

AW: We started JetSuite because a new category of airplane had been invented. The Phenom 100 enabled us to provide rates half of the competition in a more reliable airplane. We took that new technology and put it into a new model focused on being the best at what we do and offering all the features described above without any of the encumbrances of the fractional and managed fleet models of private jet charter.

IC: Who is the JetSuite customer?

AW: JetSuite clients tend to skew male and travel for both business and pleasure. The average age of a JetSuite client is 54, but we see all types, genders and ages onboard and are pleased to welcome each of them.

IC: Why did JetSuite choose the CJ3 and Phenom 100 airplanes as its flagship carriers?

AW: We are equally proud of both our aircraft; each has its own niche. The Phenom is the ultimate short-haul jet and the CJ3 has the range and power needed to serve east coast and mountain markets.

IC: Where do you see JetSuite growth in the next ten years in the airline marketplace?

AW: JetSuite will become the biggest brand in private aviation, and we will figure out how to fulfill our vision of making private jet travel available to more people than ever.

IC: What advice would you give to a young person who may have an idea, may believe in it, but is constantly told “no” by those who think it’s too outlandish or impossible to make reality?

AW: Give it your best shot. And when you succeed, make sure you fly JetSuite!