Private jets you can sort of afford
Proving your month of not showering with Occupy Des Moines wasn't for naught, the private jet biz is finally opening its aircraft doors to the 99 percent -- offering fares that rival first-class (and with super-busy booking options on your smartphone). A flight fantasy just a few years ago, these five companies are selling baller commutes free of security lines, fussy flight attendants, and all the horrible people who fly “commercial” (cough).
Launched in 2009 by one of the founders of JetBlue, JetSuite was an early pioneer in the not-so-pricey private jet travel space and now reaches more than 2,000 airports across North America and the Caribbean.
What a flight will set you back: Jumping on one of their online SuiteDeals (where empty flights are posted daily for last-minute travelers), you can snag a six-seater from Teterboro, NJ (just outside NYC) to Miami for as little at $999 plus taxes. For all six seats!
While amenities like leather swivel seats and iPod docks come standard on private jets, XOJET raises the bar with its GoGo Text and Talk, a service that allows passengers to use their smartphones in-flight.
What a flight will set you back: Known for offering value without discounts or promotions, XOJET charges $16,500 one-way for a mid-size jet (up to nine passengers) from New York to Miami. At under $2k per person, it isn't much more than a last-minute, first-class ticket on one of the Big Four.
Desert Jet flies some famous faces (including Condoleezza Rice, Keith Urban, and Vince Vaughn), and is popular for shuttling passengers direct on routes that commercial airlines usually break up with layovers.
What a flight will set you back: A business trip from Palm Springs to Fresno (for six passengers) costs just under $6,000 direct, while a similar flight on a major carrier requires a stopover in Phoenix, LA, or Las Vegas.
What started out as an exclusive, invite-only airline featuring Ashton Kutcher as both a primary investor and frequent user has recently opened its planes to the general public. They've also unveiled an easy-to-use Smartphone app that allows customers to book a seat in a matter of seconds.
What a flight will set you back: After shelling out $2,500 for the annual membership fee, a coast-to-coast flight runs around $3,500pp. Ok, so this one isn't actually that cheap at all. But you should still know about it.
Clay Lacy Aviation
Popular with the Hollywood set, CLA's been around since the LBJ administration and employs some of the most attractive flight attendants in the biz... in case that's important to you. Using their Executive Travel Program, passengers score hefty discounts and priority bookings on any type of plane.
What a flight will set you back: The quick hop from LA to Vegas on your own Learjet 35 runs roughly $6,000. But, round up seven of your buddies and those eight seats are a mere $750 a pop. Look at that combined purchasing power on display!