By Stephen Myers
Executive Vice President, Elite Jets
Traveling around the holidays is stressful.
Busy airports. Packed planes. Delayed flights. And it’s the start of cold and flu season.
Going to see your family shouldn’t be such a hassle.
This year, industry experts are forecasting lower holiday travel numbers because of COVID-19. However, you still can enjoy grandma’s Thanksgiving turkey or watch your nieces and nephews unwrap Christmas gifts.
Charter companies, including Elite Jets in Naples, are experiencing unprecedented growth as business and leisure travelers forgo their elite status with commercial airlines to charter a private jet. The glamour of flying first class isn’t as appealing as a generation ago – enjoying a hot towel and cold beverage in flight don’t make up for the fact that you still have to endure long lines at security, lug your carry-on through the terminal, squeeze into a plane with 150 or more strangers and possibly have to make connecting flights.
A primary reason that travelers are booking private charters this holiday season is because of safety. Although commercial airlines adopted enhanced cleaning measures, groundcrews often have less than an hour turnaround time between flights. By comparison, Elite Jets uses EPA-approved disinfectants to clean arm rests, tray tables, seatbelts, window shades and lavatories after each flight. All aircraft undergo a regular fogging disinfection process that kills 99.9% of viruses, bacteria and allergens. Magazines and brochures are for one-time use only. Private jets discharge cabin air into the atmosphere while capturing and treating fresh air, rather than recycling and treating cabin air like commercial planes.
Additional reasons to charter a jet this holiday season include:
- No long lines: It’s just you, your traveling party and pilots. Travelers can arrive just a couple minutes before a flight because they don’t need to check bags, go through security and hike to the gate.
- No extra costs: Commercial airlines tack on fees for seat assignments, baggage, early boarding, drinks and snacks. All of those amenities are included on a private charter. At Naples Airport, parking also is free and just steps from the terminal building. Elite Jets also offers car detailing services so your vehicle will be clean inside and out upon your return, or if you don’t want to drive, the company provides door-to-door chauffeur service in its new Tesla.
- No baggage limits: Charter companies don’t restrict luggage and carry-on bags. Passengers can buy and wrap Christmas presents in advance without fear of TSA agents unwrapping gifts during a security check.
- No basic economy: Standard amenities on a private jet include plush leather seats, high-speed Wi-Fi, a fully stocked bar, personalized temperature controls and a digital entertainment system to watch movies, TV shows and news programs.
- No seat switcheroos: Commercial airlines do not guarantee that passengers, even parents and children, will sit next to each other. On a private jet, traveling companions sit side-by-side.
- No delayed connections: Private jets run direct routes to most destinations in the continental U.S., so passengers don’t have to worry about connections in Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago or other hubs.
- No busy airports: Charter flights often operate between small airports located closer to passengers’ final destination, thus avoiding traffic congestion and crowds that define holiday travel.
- No lost baggage: Attendants carry baggage directly to the jet as passengers board, then unload it by hand as travelers exit.
- Pets welcome: Commercial airlines have tightened their pet travel policies, with some even temporarily prohibiting all pets that aren’t service animals. Private jets still allow pets on board.
Elite Jets serves destinations across the U.S. and abroad with a fleet that includes four Phenom 300 jets, one Legacy 500 jet and a Bell 407 helicopter. For reservations, please call 239-900-9000.