Afraid of airlines? There is always the private jet

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“With virtually no business travel, the rebound was fueled by existing customers who travel for personal reasons and new entrants to the market,” said Mr. Gollan. “Private aviation has not fully returned, but the sector is certainly in much better shape than the airlines. There is a significant flow of customers from novice aviation to the private sector. “

XO, which offers both private charters and the ability to book individual seats on private jets, recorded a 19.8% decrease in flight hours in the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019, according to Argus data. But the company said monthly subscription sales between March and May 2020 among new private jet travelers were on average five times higher than their monthly averages.

Two other companies have also seen increased interest. Sentient Jet said more than 50% of the 8,000 flight hours in June were sold to new customers, compared to around 25 to 30% most months. And Air Charter Service said in a press release that in May and June it saw a 75% increase in year-over-year inquiries from potential customers.

The trend is expected to continue as commercial air travel may become more painful. JetBlue is blocking middle seats until at least September 8, and Southwest Airlines is doing the same until at least October 31 – but it’s unclear what will happen after that. Luxuries such as airport lounges are closed without indication of their reopening. And passengers are reporting that flights were canceled at the last minute.

Ms Gibson said that in addition to families and friends on vacation, she recently took in students who were due to return from college or boarding school and older passengers who feel particularly at risk using airlines commercial. And while airlines cut back on international flights in response to countries closing their borders to some foreigners, including Americans, it is also making a number of repatriation trips.

Private jet travel allows citizens of other countries to find a way home. For repatriation flights from the United States to a country where travel is restricted to citizens only, the plane can land, but Ms Gibson and her teammates cannot set foot overseas. The passenger leaves and the crew immediately leaves the country. It is not advisable to use a private jet to bypass entry restrictions – just look at the five American travelers who chartered a private jet to Sardinia, but were refused on arrival.

Even dogs fly on chartered planes. Elsa Chen, a Bernedoodle puppy, was purchased by her owners through a website called PuppySpot. They paid the standard flat rate of $ 799 to send dogs by air freight. But when Elsa’s American Airlines flight from Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco was canceled last month and could not be booked for several days, PuppySpot changed Elsa’s booking on a private jet and did so. arrive in San Francisco almost on time. As a result, PuppySpot now flies all of its dogs on private planes.

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