Spirit Airlines has entered its third day of excessive flight cancellations but says the end is in sight.
“We’re pleased to share that cancellations will start dropping tomorrow,” a Spirit spokesperson told Insider.
Hundreds of flights were canceled on Monday due to a poorly timed combination of bad weather, system outages, and staffing issues that rippled throughout the week. Spirit led the US in flight cancellations as of Wednesday morning with 343 cancellations, or half of its planned flying for the day, according to FlightAware.
“We’ve dealt with overlapping operational challenges including weather, system outages, and staffing shortages that caused widespread irregularities in our operation and impacted crew scheduling,” Spirit said in a statement to Insider. “These issues were exacerbated by the fact that we are in peak summer travel season with very high industry load factors and more limited options for Guest re-accommodations.”
Spirit also suffered multiple systems outages that affected the airline’s ability to recover from Monday’s cancellations.
“This morning, there was another IT outage that led to the crew schedulers not being able to access the crew scheduling system for over an hour – meaning management was unable to make any scheduling changes or modifications,” the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said in a statement that Spirit confirmed.
Spirit and its pilot union, the Air Line Pilot’s Association, denied rumors of a pilot strike causing the cancellations.
American Airlines, which saw higher cancellations on Monday due to similar conditions, has recovered to only 98 cancellations as of Wednesday morning, or 3% of its flying for the day, according to FlightAware.
Spirit flight cancellations may have hit the high-water mark, however, as Spirit is planning to “reboot” its network and start fresh in the days to come.
“After working through yesterday’s proactive cancellations, we’ve implemented a more thorough reboot of the network, allowing us to reassign our crews more efficiently and restore the network faster,” Spirit said. “As a result, cancellation numbers will progressively drop in the days to come.”
“Spirit management has begun treating this irregular operations (IROP) as a hurricane recovery and strategically canceled flights around the system with the possibility of a system reset,” the flight attendant union wrote.
Spirit stressed that it is committed to returning to its pre-pandemic levels of on-time performance, one of the staples of its ultra-low-cost operation.
“We’re learning from this disruption and will get back to our high performance levels,” Spirit said.
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One thing that Delta Air Lines flyers won’t need to pack is a vaccination card.
Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer, told CNBC on Tuesday that the airline does not currently plan to require proof of vaccination to fly within the US, citing both challenges with mandating vaccinations not fully authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and the effectiveness of existing safety features on airplanes.
“It’s very difficult for us to come in and mandate a vaccine that isn’t even federally approved yet, the authorization hasn’t been final yet,” Bastian said on”Squawk Box,” referring to the fact that Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still on emergency authorization. “So stay tuned.”
Delta requires new hires to be vaccinated and the majority of the airline’s workforce is vaccinated, according to Bastian.
“The vast majority of our customers are vaccinated, they’re in a clean environment, they’re fully masked,” Bastian said. “Our people, over 73% of our staff are fully vaccinated and that number is growing by the day.”
Some international destinations do require proof of vaccination to avoid quarantine but the only requirement when flying domestically has been to complete a health questionnaire – for most airlines – and wear a mask in airports and on airplanes.
Bastian’s final remark, “stay tuned,” hints that the airline may require a vaccine to travel domestically once they achieve full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. Delta and other airlines had operated select “COVID-free” flights between the US and Europe where flyers are tested multiple times before and after a flight.
Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of Homeland Security for intergovernmental affairs under the Obama administration, penned an article for The Atlantic calling for the unvaccinated to be placed on “no-fly” lists.
“It will help limit the risk of transmission at destinations where unvaccinated people travel- and, by setting norms that restrict certain privileges to vaccinated people, will also help raise the stagnant vaccination rates that are keeping both the economy and society from fully recovering,” Kayyem wrote.
The unfortunately named “Delta” variant of the novel coronavirus has been largely responsible for increasing cases in the US. The former head of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottleib, believes the Delta variant will peak in late September, as Insider’s Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce reported in July, at the tail end of the summer travel season.
Airlines for America, the trade organization representing many of the country’s largest airlines, didn’t take a position on requiring vaccines when reached for comment by Insider but cited multiple studies that show the current effectiveness of aircraft ventilation systems in stopping the spread of COVID-19 onboard airplanes.
“US airlines have leaned into science and research to prioritize the health and safety of all travelers and employees since the onset of the pandemic,” an Airlines for America spokesperson told Insider. “In addition to complying with all CDC guidelines and requirements, [Airlines for America] passenger carriers have implemented multiple layers of measures including face covering requirements, pre-departure health-acknowledgement forms, enhanced disinfection protocols and hospital-grade ventilation systems.”
“I don’t think putting that requirement into domestic travel is going to change much,” Bastian said of a vaccination requirement.
Spirit Airlines and American Airlines have canceled 729 flights and counting as of Monday afternoon as bad weather and “operational challenges” plague cities across the American South.
According to the flight-tracking website FlightAware, a total of 275 Spirit flights have been canceled at the time of writing. It’s around 35% of the airline’s scheduled flights for Monday.
“We are experiencing operational challenges in some areas of our network,” Spirit wrote in a tweet. “Before going to the airport, check your email and current flight status”
An additional 159 – or 20% of Spirit’s Monday flying – have been marked as delayed, according to FlightAware.
Spirit’s main bases in Texas and Florida are the leading cause of the airline’s issues. Bad weather, including thunderstorms, has been pounding Florida and parts of Texas.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is leading the world in flight cancellations and delays, according to FlightAware, with 138 cancellations and 240 delayed flights affecting a total of 35% of the airport’s Monday flights.
Fort Lauderdale International Airport is further down on the list but still reporting 39 cancellations and 85 delays for departures. Orlando International Airport, another Spirit base, is reporting 37 cancellations and 129 delays for departures.
Spirit is asking inconvenienced passengers to use the live chat function on its website to get help with bookings.
“We’re working around the clock to get back on track in the wake of some travel disruptions over the weekend due to a series of weather and operational challenges,” a Spirit spokesperson told Insider. “We needed to make proactive cancellations to some flights across the network, but the majority of flights are still scheduled as planned.”
Spirit had been making strides in becoming a more punctual airline before the pandemic but its performance has suffered in recent months. For April, Spirit ranked 10th in a Department of Transportation ranking of US airlines. In May, it rose to 7th place.
American Airlines, which shares numerous bases with Spirit, has also canceled 454 flights that constitute just 15% of its Monday schedule. An additional 674 flights, or 22% of its schedule, were delayed.
American’s Southernmost hub at Miami International Airport is currently at 10 canceled flights and 118 delayed flights. South Florida is a gateway to South America and the Caribbean for both Spirit and American.
A list reviewed by CNBC showed that American canceled at least 30 flights due to a lack of flight crews.
But staffing shortages have been plaguing airlines since air travel began rebounding late last year. Airlines hastily parted with planes and pilots to slow the bleeding incurred by the pandemic and some are feeling the effects of “over-scheduling” this summer.
American Airlines kicked off what would be a busy summer travel season with hundreds of flight cancellations in June. Southwest Airlines had a similar incident and later admitted it too had underlying operational issues.
“While the rapid ramp up in June travel demand provided stability to our financial position, it has impacted our operations following a prolonged period of depressed demand due to the pandemic,” Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines’ chief executive officer, said in a second-quarter earnings statement. “Therefore, we are intensely focused on improving our operations as we restore our network to meet demand.”
United Airlines says that it has avoided such issues by working out an agreement with its pilot union to keep pilots trained and ready to fly.
American did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
Ultra-low-cost airlines are notorious for having no-frills, and Frontier Airlines is no different.
In-flight entertainment, in-seat power, and other perks do not come standard when fares are as low as $11, in some cases. And that’s a trade-off I’m more than fine with making because I can normally plan around it by bringing spare battery packs and pre-loading entertainment onto my phone.
That was until I forgot to bring my spare battery pack on a recent trip to Florida.
I was getting ready to fly from Miami to Newark when I noticed that my phone had around 15% battery. Even if I put it in airplane mode, I knew it wouldn’t last me long as I’d at least be listening to music on the otherwise entertainment-deprived flight.
My two-year-old iPhone 11, to its credit, lasted a good two hours before its inevitable death just before landing. But that meant I wouldn’t have a phone to use when we landed, which I needed to make arrangements to get home.
So, as soon as we landed, I went to the lavatory. I didn’t have to “go to the bathroom;” rather, I noticed during the flight that the lavatory had a standard power outlet and I wanted to see if it could give some juice for my phone.
Since it was in the lavatory, I assumed it might be for an electric shaver or something like that. Nonetheless, I was sitting in the back of the plane and easily made my way to the lavatory while others were deplaning.
I know how long the deplaning process takes so I figured I could get a few percentage points of power. To my surprise, it worked and I left with enough power to get me home.
I first thought that this was specific to Frontier’s Airbus A320neo aircraft, the model on which I was flying since they’re the newest planes in the airline’s fleet. But a Frontier spokesperson told Insider that “many Frontier aircraft have an electrical outlet in the lavatories.”
There’s no specific reason why, and Frontier might have preferred not to have it, but it comes standard from Airbus. “This is not a feature we have expressly sought but rather a standard part of the lavatory design provided by the manufacturer,” a Frontier spokesperson told Insider.
That said, Frontier stressed that passengers should not be spending more time than required in the airplane lavatory as others might be waiting to use it.
“We would not encourage customers to use the outlet to charge a mobile device, which could potentially result in a lavatory being occupied for an unnecessary amount of time and cause inconvenience to others,” the spokesperson said.
But for those that desperately need a charge, the outlet can work in a pinch. Just be mindful of others trying to use the lavatories as there is only a handful on any given plane.
One of America’s newest charter airlines is expanding to the West Coast, and bringing the Cirrus Vision Jet with it.
Starting July 26, VeriJet is offering flights across the West Coast and American Southwest in the airline’s furthest venture outside of its home region of the Southeast.
A single flight hour in the Vision Jet is $3,000 plus tax, and VeriJet doesn’t charge reposition rates if the flight is within a 700-mile radius of Santa Maria, California. That means one-way flights on city pairs such as Los Angeles-Las Vegas, Phoenix-San Francisco, and San Diego, California-San Jose, California, will only cost as much as the flight time, with a minimum of one hour.
Founder and CEO Richard Kane told Insider that the geography of the West Coast is perfect for the Vision Jet since the aircraft thrives when flying at the lower altitudes common on the region’s most popular air routes. VeriJet can also use smaller airports such as Santa Monica Airport that are off-limits to larger jets.
The Vision Jet is ideal for single-pilot operations and can fly four adult passengers with a top range of around 1,300 nautical miles, as Insider found on a recent demonstration flight with VeriJet. Low-speed WiFi is available in-flight and Sirius XM Satellite Radio is also available for entertainment.
VeriJet is also launching a jet card program where the hourly rate is discounted to $2,500 per hour when 100 hours of flight time are prepaid for $250,000. Members also have access to a new “jet safari” program of curated itineraries in different regions.
Itineraries include trips to Canada to see Hudson Bay or the polar bears of Manitoba, Caribbean getaways to locales like Virgin Gorda in this British Virgin Islands, and a national park trip that includes sites like Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Yellowstone National Parks. Another opportunity includes a transatlantic crossing as VeriJet repositions its planes to Europe in advance of its debut on the continent.
Kane calls jet cardholders “founders” since they’ll be accompanied by board members on these trips, with whom they could share direct feedback about the company.
“It’s mostly about going out of the way places that you can’t get to on anything but a small turboprop or [a Vision Jet],” Kane said, “and then there’s spending time with the founders of the company so that you can mold it to what you want it to be.”
VeriJet also just completed a redesign of its website, where customers can directly book flights without having to go through a broker. A mobile application is also on the way with VeriJet just waiting on Apply Pay functionality before it takes to the App Store.
Seat-back television screens, complimentary snacks, and low fares were the airline’s norm, and customers loved it.
Behind the now 21-year-old company was David Neeleman, a serial aviation entrepreneur with successful airline startups in three countries.
Four airlines later, Neeleman’s latest endeavor is Breeze Airways, an ultra-low-cost carrier looking to fill the gaps left by the nation’s largest airlines. Breeze launched its first flights in May and has been steadily expanding up and down the East Coast and inland as far as San Antonio, Texas.
Despite Neeleman at the wheel, Breeze is nothing like JetBlue. You won’t find seat-back screens or the famous Terra Blues chips on Breeze’s shiny blue planes, but that’s not the point of the airline.
I took a flight on Breeze Airways and found out why it’s not supposed to be JetBlue 2.0.
Breeze Airways launched in late May with an opening salvo of 39 initial routes from bases in Tampa, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Norfolk, Virginia.
Unlike JetBlue, Breeze’s strategy targets underserved cities and primarily creates new air routes where none currently exist.
The very first Breeze flight flew from Tampa to Charleston, for example, on a route that sees limited service by only one other airline. Flying between these two cities solely on JetBlue would require a stop in New York or Boston.
Breeze’s bread and butter, at the moment, are routes that are less than two hours in duration. Convenience is the name of the game and connecting flights are non-existent.
In terms of pricing, Breeze’s introductory fares start at $39 for a basic fare that only includes a ticket to ride and a personal item to carry onboard the plane. It’s comparable to JetBlue’s basic economy fare.
While not all tickets will be sold for $39, the idea is to keep fares low to stimulate demand.
But Breeze’s low prices come with trade-offs, primarily in the onboard and customer service experience.
Breeze, most notably, doesn’t have a phone number. Customers are encouraged to send a message or email the airline but calling isn’t really an option.
The strategy helps keep costs low by reducing Breeze’s overall infrastructure and staffing, which is typical for an ultra-low-cost airline.
Technology also plays a large role with nearly everything able to be done from the airline’s mobile application. Neeleman initially described Breeze as a “high-tech company that just happens to fly airplanes” and this is one way of scaling back on staff levels.
The tech-focused strategy does help keep costs down, which are passed on to the consumer in low airfares, but experts say it might not jive well with less tech-focused customers.
JetBlue, alternatively, does have a phone number in addition to a messaging feature on its mobile application.
In another ultra-low-cost trade-off, in-flight entertainment on Breeze is currently only available through mobile device streaming, and the service isn’t yet offered on the Embraer E195 fleet.
In-flight WiFi, another JetBlue staple, also isn’t available on Breeze’s Embraer fleet. That will come when the Airbus A220s arrive but it likely won’t be free, as JetBlue’s is.
But again, that’s part and parcel of flying an ultra-low-cost airline. You get what you pay for.
Breeze is offering snacks for the time being but the airline will move to a buy-on-board program where all snacks and drinks will require a purchase. The current offering includes Utz chips and a Kind bar.
One thing that was surprisingly similar between the two airlines was Breeze’s choice of aircraft for its first flights. The Embraer E190/E195 family of aircraft was tapped to initially power Breeze’s fleet, with second-hand models coming from Air Canada and Neeleman’s Azul Brazilian Airlines.
Frequent JetBlue flyers will surely recognize the aircraft as the E190 variant powers JetBlue’s short-haul network. The E195 is near identical, albeit slightly longer.
Breeze will soon fly the Airbus A220-300, an aircraft type that just joined the JetBlue fleet in December.
On the inside of the E195, it was hard to tell the difference from JetBlue’s interiors on the aircraft.
Standard legroom seats had nearly the same look as those found on JetBlue. There was one glaring omission, however, in the form of seat-back entertainment screens.
Legroom varies from aircraft to aircraft on Breeze and standard economy seats on the E195 aircraft do match JetBlue’s 32 inches of pitch in economy. That may soon change, however, as Breeze standardizes its seat product.
E190 aircraft offer 29 inches of pitch in a standard offering for an ultra-low-cost airline.
The seats also had the same feel as a JetBlue Embraer E190 seat. I’ve spent a lot of time flying on that aircraft and if it weren’t for the lack of televisions, I probably couldn’t tell the difference.
But perhaps the most important difference between the two airlines is that Breeze and JetBlue don’t compete on the same routes. Breeze primarily flies to underserved cities and routes such as Oklahoma City-San Antonio; Norfolk-Columbus, Ohio; and Hartford, Connecticut-Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
JetBlue, for its part, primarily operates a hub-and-spoke network with bases in East Coast cities like New York, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Most Breeze customers don’t even have JetBlue as a choice for those routes without connecting somewhere.
So while the offering might be bare-bones, customers in underserved markets are getting cheap access to non-stop flights, something that JetBlue isn’t currently offering at a widespread level.
And for many, trading high-tech planes for convenience is a compromise worth making, especially when the price is right.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out against lifting the federal mask mandate that requires travelers to don face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus when using transportation modes including air, rail, and bus.
“The truth is that the unvaccinated portion that’s out there is extremely vulnerable,” Marty Cetron, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of global migration and quarantine, told Reuters on Thursday.
President Joe Biden first directed agencies to create mask mandates for transportation in January and CDC soon followed up with an order that codified mask mandates on commercial and public transportation into federal law.
The Transportation Security Administration, tasked with protecting the nation’s transportation networks, complemented CDC’s order with its own mandate that covers airports and commercial aircraft, as well as surface transportation networks. Before then, mask mandates were solely a matter of airline policy, and the first airline to require masks for passengers, JetBlue Airways, didn’t do so until late April.
TSA’s mandate took effect on February 2 and has already been extended past its original expiration date of May 11. September 13 is the new scheduled end date but the order can be extended again if the federal government deems it necessary, and Cetron’s comments hint that it might be.
“I get we’re all just over this emotionally but I do think we will succeed together if we realize the virus is the enemy and it’s not your fellow citizen or the person sitting next to you on a plane or a piece of cloth that you have to wear over your face,” Cetron told Reuters, adding that federal agencies are expected to follow CDC’s lead on this issue.
“It is currently unknown as to whether the mask mandate will be extended or kept in place,” Lisa Farbstein, TSA’s spokesperson, told Insider. “What we do know is that the mandate is currently in place until September 13. That gets us through the traditional summer travel season, just past the Labor Day holiday.”
Defiance to the mask mandate has heightened tensions onboard commercial flights as flight crews have been enforcing the policy. Passengers have hurled verbal abuse at flight attendants and interactions have even turned violent, as Insider’s Allana Akhtar reported.
“I’m sure there are some executives and many employees who personally wish the mask mandate would end today, were it not for the threat of the delta variant of the virus, simply to reduce the tensions that exist on aircraft,” Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst and cofounder of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider.
At first, I was faced with an eight-hour delay that quickly turned into an overnight stay. American was going to pay for a hotel but I’d be largely on my own for meals, plus any other expenses I might incur thanks to the extended trip.
In total, I incurred $127.39 extra expenses incurred from the delay but because of the credit card I used to book the trip, I was reimbursed for all of it. Here’s how my credit card ended up saving my bank account.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium travel credit card that costs $550 per year but comes with perks like a free $300 in travel credits, complimentary Lyft Pink membership for a year, and built-in travel insurance.
While many credit cards offer some form of travel insurance, not all are equal and some only kick in if the cardholder dies in a plane crash. But the Sapphire Reserve offers three types: trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and travel delay reimbursement.
As its name suggests, trip cancellation/interruption insurance covers expenses when a trip is “cut short or canceled” due to instances like sickness, severe weather, injury, loss of life, terrorist action, hijacking, and unpostponable jury duty or court subpoena. Chase will cover up to $10,000 per trip, if eligible.
Baggage delay insurance covers “essential purchases” in the event luggage is lost by an airline, bus company, cruise ship operator, or train company for more than six hours.
And finally, trip delay insurance covers travelers if a trip is delayed for more than six hours or requires an overnight stay. This is the insurance for which I qualified when American canceled my flight and rescheduled me for a later flight to New York.
This insurance is pretty comprehensive and will cover meals, lodging, transportation, and additional unreimbursed expenses up to $500. Coverage only applies if the flight was booked using the Sapphire Reserve and I make sure I book every trip using the card for that reason.
The perk will also apply to mileage award tickets, even if only the taxes are paid using the card. If travelers are booking flights with a travel credit, they can also get the coverage by paying as little as $.01 using the card.
I called up Chase while stranded in Colombia to confirm I could use the credit and they gave me the green light. I didn’t need to call Chase but this was my first time using the perk so I wanted to be sure I was using it correctly.
I was ecstatic to have $500 at my disposal because that goes really far in Colombia. But I wasn’t trying to extend my vacation, I wanted out.
My first plan was to take the 12:15 a.m. flight to New York and so I began my long wait in the airport. I took a walk and started plotting how I could spend $500.
American, for its part, gave all the passengers on my first canceled flight a meal voucher for around $12. I decided to use that for my first meal and save Chase’s travel insurer some money.
But beyond that, I was hesitant to spend any money because I didn’t want to get into a situation where something wasn’t covered. Again, this was my first time using the perk.
So, I left Colombia using exactly $0 of the $500 and didn’t spend anything until landing back in the US. After my second flight to New York was canceled, I was routed to Phoenix via Dallas leaving the same night because I was starting a trip to Phoenix and American couldn’t get me home in time for my flight to get there.
After I landed in Dallas, American had given me a hotel voucher, at my request, so I could have a shower during my four-hour layover. I took a hotel shuttle to the hotel, around five miles from the airport itself, and only planned to shower in the room, then head back to the airport.
The shuttle, however, was hourly, and I only had 20 minutes from the time I got to the hotel to the time it was leaving again. That didn’t include checking in and getting to the room.
So, I figured, what better time to use the $500. I took my time in the shower and then ordered a Lyft for $19.27, including tip, to get me back to the airport.
Transportation, after all, is covered under the rules of the perk. Of course, I wouldn’t know for sure until I submitted the claim.
I got to the airport and American, once more, had given me another $12 meal voucher. But it was too early to eat so I only used around $6 of it to buy two water bottles for the flight to Phoenix.
I landed in Phoenix after a nightmare of a travel experience and asked American if they’d arrange a taxi for me to get to my family’s home. I thought it was a reasonable request being as I arrived a day early and my family members couldn’t pick me up.
But the airline didn’t think so and I was on my own to arrange an Uber, at peak time, for a total of $107.65 with a tip. Time to file my claim.
First, I needed proof of the delay being greater than six hours. That was easy as American sent an email telling me that I was rebooked on a later flight after the first flight cancellation.
Next, I needed my expenses. All of my Uber and Lyft receipts were digital, so getting them was just a matter of taking screenshots from their mobile applications.
Then, I needed a verification letter from American confirming that my flight was delayed due to a covered reason. In my case, a mechanical delay.
Even that was surprisingly easy. American has a request form just for “delay verification requests.”
That letter came three days later and I was then able to submit the claim.
To my surprise, it was approved with no questions asked three days later.
The check did take a while to arrive but I took it straight to the bank.
And with that, my escape from Colombia was complete. I even got credit card points from the two purchases.
The Airbus A350 family of aircraft, for example, flew four of the 10 longest routes in the world before the pandemic. It currently flies the longest flight in the world between New York and Singapore, operated by Singapore Airlines.
But while flyers are lounging out in plush lie-flat seats to endure the long journeys, flight attendants don’t have that same luxury.
Rather, they don’t even stay in the passenger cabin for their breaks and retreat to a hidden hideaway above their passengers.
Take a look at where flight attendants go when they need to rest onboard this SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900XWB.
The extreme back of the plane is where passengers will find the rear galley. It’s just one of the main workstations for a flight attendant where drinks, food, and other items are kept.
Just opposite the galley, however, is a small set of stairs that appears to lead to nowhere.
A door marked “crew only” with a red no entry symbol hides the compartment above.
Open the door, and the crew rest area reveals itself.
It’s a narrow space and climbing up and down the stairs takes some getting used to. But long-haul flight attendants have plenty of opportunities to practice as they routinely spend countless hours in the air.
The compartment is completely separate from the passenger cabin so it’s not like the crew can look down on passengers from above.
Once inside, six bunks comprise the crew rest area. There’s not much headspace and some crouching is required to navigate the compartment.
Each bunk has the essentials including a pillow, blanket, and mattress pad so flight attendants can get a good sleep.
But beyond that, they’re quite bare save for a few storage pockets. While passengers below have access to thousands of hours of in-flight entertainment, flight attendants don’t.
That’s because these areas are meant solely for rest and the bare-bones setup reflects that. Flight attendants can choose to do other things like read books or go on their phones but that’s not the intended purpose.
A personal reading lamp provides the only light in the bunks as otherwise, it gets quite dark in the space.
Flight attendants can close the curtains for privacy and block any ambient light coming from the galley and main entryway.
Seatbelts are installed so resting flight attendants can sleep while safely strapped in during turbulence or any other time the seatbelt sign is on.
Smaller storage areas line the aisle and an emergency exit is available that will see flight attendants pop out from overhead bins in case of trouble.
Hangars are also available for the crew to hang up their uniforms.
The narrow passageways are reminiscent more of a spaceship than an airplane. That said, it would’ve been easier to maneuver had there been no gravity.
Crew rest is mandatory on longer journeys and flight attendants will take turns servicing their cabins while others rest.
Pilots have a separate rest area that’s closer to the cockpit, with this rest area solely for cabin crew.
The crew rest area is connected to the cabin below via an intercom, allowing flight attendants to keep in communication.
On some of the longer flights of which aircraft like the Airbus A350 are capable, this can become a second home for hours on end. The flight from New York to Singapore is scheduled at 18 hours and 50 minutes in duration, for example.
One company is bridging the price gap between flying first class and flying private and opening up the glitzy side of aviation to those that were traditionally priced out of it.
Set Jet is a membership-based private airline offering seats on a true private jet for as low as $449.95 one-way. Members pay a monthly fee of $99.95 and are given access to flights on 11 year-round routes throughout the American West.
The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company isn’t the first to sell seats on shared private aircraft but its founders say they’ve found a way to make the business model sustainable, and open up private flying to a larger audience. Having the monthly fee also discourages those that truly aren’t able to fly private from signing up, for which companies like JetSmarter were infamous.
How it works
Only Set Jet members can fly on Set Jet aircraft and a limited number of memberships are available in each market so flyers can get a seat when they want. Anyone can sign up for a membership and the only initiation fee is a one-time “security fee” of $99.95.
Members can then initiate or buy seats on flights throughout Set Jet’s network, which covers four states and Mexico. Flyers can book a seat up to 30 minutes before a flight’s scheduled departure time.
Not are routes are operated daily, though, and some as offered as little as twice-weekly. Once a flight is initiated, Set Jet will perform it even if there’s just one person onboard paying that’s paying $449.95.
Set Jet’s flagship jet is the Bombardier Challenger 850 that rivals in size to wide-cabin Gulfstream or Dassault aircraft. The cabin is tall enough for most to stand up in and as many as 19 people can be seated comfortably.
Private terminals are used at all destinations to complete the private jet experience. Security checkpoints are non-existent and flyers can arrive just minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure.
How Set Jet makes money
Set Jet has the heart of a low-cost airline that’s offering an incredibly luxurious product, and its choice of aircraft is the perfect example. Buying parts for Challenger 850s is cheaper because of the aircraft’s second life as an airliner known as the CRJ200.
“If you go to buy a set of brakes for a Challenger 604 and you tell them you’re buying them for a Challenger 604, it’s going to be a $55,000 set of brakes,” Trey Smith, Set Jet’s chief operating officer, told Insider. “You go to buy a set of brakes for a CRJ200 – same brakes, same part, different part number – it’s $5,000.”
Thousands of memberships offset the cost per passenger and memberships have skyrocketed during the pandemic. “We did see a lot of new memberships that were from people who normally would never have flown with us but they were looking for alternatives to commercial travel because of COVID,” Smith said.
Smith says that it’s easy for wealthier clients to purchase one and forget about it, attributing to a low attrition rate during the pandemic.
Set Jet is eyeing new markets like the Texas triangle and the Northeast. One route launching in the next year will be between New York and Los Angeles.
A higher membership tier will be required, costing $1,000 per month, and the price of a one-way fare will be $3,500. The Embraer Lineage 1000, the private jet version of the Embraer E190, will fly that route.