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Private jets a growing alternative to commercial air travel in the not-so-friendly skies

December 14, 2023

Thanksgiving weekend 2023 marked the busiest air travel day in U.S. history. As Christmas and the winter holiday season approach, plenty more travelers are expected to fly the not-so-friendly skies — even as more and more passengers search for less stressful alternatives to commercial air travel. 

What’s driving the shift? Flight delays, shrinking leg room, luggage limits, bad behavior by fellow passengers... the list goes on and on.  

The federal Department of Transportation recently reported that consumer complaints nearly doubled during the first three months of 2023 after setting a record high in 2022. And who can forget the Christmas air-travel debacle in 2022, when a service meltdown caused Southwest Airlines to cancel nearly 17,000 flights, stranding passengers for days across the country? 

A new book by a Vanderbilt University law professor asks Why Flying is Miserable: And How to Fix It. One increasingly popular alternative to commercial air travel: private air charters. 

READ MORE: Private air travel: Getting there is half the fun 

Private charter air service: an alternative to commercial air travel 

At Elite Jets of Naples, we’ve seen a surge of interest in private charter air service as an alternative to commercial to air travel since the pandemic started in 2020. Business executives and leisure travelers alike quickly realized the convenience, privacy and passenger-first approach of private jet charters supersedes the increasingly unpleasant commercial air travel experience. 

Rather than rely on regional hubs and connecting flights, private jets can fly into nearly every airport in America, including regional airports with shorter runways. Instead of building travel schedules around the whims of the commercial airliner, passengers instead determine when they depart. And with concierge-level service, private travelers avoid lengthy lines at the check-in counter, security checkpoint and boarding gates. 

At Elite Jets, every traveler is a VIP. A door-to-door chauffer service transports passengers in style with a Tesla Model X. At Naples Airport, Elite Jets’ private terminal provides direct access to our fleet of luxury Phenom 300 and Legacy 500 Embraer jets.  

Once onboard, passengers enjoy personalized temperature controls, recliner-like leather massaging seats, high-speed Wi-Fi, a fully stocked bar and a digital entertainment system to watch movies, TV shows and news. 

As for the quirks of other passengers? On a private jet, there’s just the captain, first officer and your traveling party – up to nine people on the Phenom 300 and 10 on the Legacy 500.  

As for the price? Elite Jets charges a flat rate, no matter how many seats are taken. Forget about the variable ticket pricing of commercial air travel or saving a seat for your traveling companion.  

READ MORE: First time flying on a private jet? Here’s what to expect  

Safety first 

By definition, charter/on-demand aircraft are subject to more stringent Federal Aviation Administration oversight than privately-owned, non-commercial aircraft that are regulated under FAA’s Part 91 regulations.  

Across the board, that means more hours of flight training for pilots and an overall more rigorous set of safety standards. Elite Jets does not allow the use of contract pilots. However, contract pilots can and are used regularly in Part 91 operations. Since they do not work for a single employer, they instead can hang a shingle for their services from the highest (or cheapest) bidder, with far less employer oversight.  

Elite Jets requires all newly hired pilots to spend their first two months on the job as trainees. This allows them to acquire (or hone) the necessary skills while learning about our corporate culture, values and operational procedures.  

That includes a minimum of 90 hours of online education of processes, systems, safety indoctrination, ground school and flight training, supervised by our in-house training director and assistant director.  

Of our 20 pilots on the team, fully 100% have earned their Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, the industry’s highest such rank. Think of it as a “Ph.D. for pilots” – and rest assured that Elite Jets adheres to the highest available safety standards.  

In April 2023, Elite Jets earned the coveted “Wingman status” from global air safety auditor WYVERN. The Wingman standard is the first air charter audit standard in the aviation industry. To earn the designation, charter companies must undergo a comprehensive audit that includes a full review of the company’s operational history, safety records and more.  

In addition, Elite Jets also is a platinum-rated charter through ARGUS and maintains a Stage 2 Seal through International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (ISBAO). Both designations rank Elite Jets among the top 5% of charter services in the country 

READ MORE: Rigorous pilot safety training: the Elite Jets difference 

Book your next Elite Jets getaway  

Elite Jets transports passengers to destinations across North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, on its Embraer Legacy 500 and Phenom 300 jets. The company also has a Bell 407 helicopter that provides sightseeing and travel services across southern Florida.  

Looking for an alternative to commercial air travel? Ready to book your next business or leisure trip on a private charter? There are three ways to get in touch with Elite Jets:  

125 Aviation Drive S.
Naples, Florida 34104
Tel: 239.900.9000
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