The charter airline flying one of the world’s cheapest private jets is expanding to the West Coast. One-way flights start at $3,000.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision Jet
A VeriJet Cirrus Vision Jet.

  • VeriJet is expanding to the West Coast and Southwest with the Cirrus Vision Jet.
  • Flights cost $3,000 per hour with no repositioning fees if the flight is within 700 miles of Santa Maria, California.
  • A new jet card program also offers discounted rates with a 100-hour commitment.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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 Cirrus Vision Jet
A VeriJet Cirrus Vision Jet.

VeriJet’s aircraft also come with safety features like Garmin Safe Return where the plane will land itself at the push of a button in case of emergency. A parachute also comes standard on the Vision Jet in the event of an engine failure.

Read More: Private jet industry CEOs say business will boom as the wealthy abandon airlines and reveal what they’re doing now to take advantage

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 Cirrus Vision Jet Demo Flight
VeriJet’s Cirrus Vision Jet.

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.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A private aviation firm is giving travelers a taste of the high life by offering private jet flights for as low as $450: Meet Set Jet

Set Jet
Set Jet.

  • Set Jet is a private airline offering private jet flights for similar prices as domestic first class.
  • A monthly membership costs $99.95 and flights on wide-cabin Bombardier jets start at $449.95 one-way.
  • A total of 11 year-round routes are offered with a New York-Los Angeles route coming in the next year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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.

Set Jet
Set Jet.

It’s open seating onboard the plane but there are no bad seats, as Insider found on a demonstration flight from Scottsdale to San Diego, California. A cabin attendant welcomes passengers onboard the aircraft and offers complimentary snacks and drinks, with in-flight WiFi also available.

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.”

Set Jet Bombardier Challenger 850 Private Jet Flight
Flying on private jet firm Set Jet.

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.

Read More: Private jet industry CEOs say business will boom as the wealthy abandon airlines and reveal what they’re doing now to take advantage

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.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew Delta for the first time since the airline stopped blocking seats and saw how much easier it was for a frequent flier to get upgraded to first class

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

  • Delta Air Lines ended its seat-blocking policy on May 1, and it’s elite status holders are among the ultimate winners.
  • More open seats on Delta flights means better chances for upgrades to premium cabins.
  • I flew Delta on the first day that seats were opened up and received more than $500 in upgrades.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Having elite status on Delta Air Lines just got a whole lot more lucrative.

Delta Elite Status Day Trip
Delta’s Sky Priority check-in area.

Delta’s most frequent flyers enjoy special privileges, chief among them are complimentary first class upgrades. But they’ve been harder to come by during the pandemic.

Delta First Class

The airline’s seat-blocking policy also applied to first class seats on narrow-body where the configuration is 2-2. A 16-seat first class cabin, for example, became an eight-seat cabin.

first class Delta Air Lines

It made getting an upgrade especially hard for Silver Medallions like myself, the term for members on the lowest rung of Delta’s Medallion elite status program.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The seat-blocking policy ended on May 1, however, opening up all seats on Delta’s aircraft, including those in first class.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

I flew Delta on the first day that seats were filled. Here’s what it was like as an elite status holder.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

Flying home from Phoenix to New York, I picked my flights very carefully to have the best chance of an upgrade while spending as little money as possible.

Delta Air Lines website

I chose a flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis on a Boeing 767-400ER wide-body aircraft connecting to a New York flight on an Airbus A320. Both had first class cabins that were pretty empty when I booked, so I was confident I’d get an upgrade on at least one flight.

Delta Air Lines Airbus and Boeing aircraft
Delta Air Lines Airbus A320 and Boeing 767-400ER aircraft.

Delta has been deploying more wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 767 on domestic routes, and they offer the best chance of an upgrade.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

With the flights booked, all I could do was wait. Silver Medallions don’t get upgraded until the flight is within 24 hours from departure.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

Fast forward to the departure day, I checked into the first flight and was number four of five on the upgrade list with five seats available. It was looking good that I’d get one of the coveted seats but Delta wasn’t going to give it up that easily.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

I was almost immediately upgraded into Delta Comfort+, an extra legroom section of the plane that also comes with complimentary alcohol. Delta was selling seats in the cabin for $84.93, so the value of my trip had instantly increased with the upgrade.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

A Comfort+ upgrade would’ve been fine on its own as Delta uses larger recliner seats in the cabin on its retrofitted Boeing 767-400ER planes. It’s basically the equivalent of a first class seat on a smaller plane, and the cabin is arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The flight from Minneapolis was also looking surprisingly good for an upgrade as the cabin hadn’t filled up. Minneapolis-New York is a business traveler-heavy route and this was a Saturday night, so I had a better shot.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

I arrived at the airport the next morning with no confirmed upgrade for the first flight, even though I was still in good standing on the upgrade list. This didn’t affect my airport experience much, though, as elite status holders still have access to many of the same airport perks as first class flyers.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

Not even the gate agent could tell me if my upgrade had cleared when I inquired before boarding. It was clear that it was going to come down to the famous boarding-time upgrade for which Delta is known.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

Lo-and-behold, I scanned my boarding pass and out came a little slip of paper with my new seat number, 9D.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

Just like that, I turned left into the aircraft and the entire flight changed for me. The value of my trip shot up to more than what I paid for my economy ticket.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

Delta wanted $385.93 for this upgrade just a few days before departure, which is more than what I paid for my economy seat. The new value of my $221.80 ticket was now $607.73.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

And in terms of upgrades, this was like hitting the jackpot. The Boeing 767-400ERs are intended for long-haul international flights and as such, its first class cabins feature Delta’s newest seats.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

The seat had fully lie-flat capabilities, no seat neighbor, and a direct line of sight to the window. It was my own personal cocoon for the three-hour flight to Minneapolis.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

If it wasn’t for the passenger across from me, it would have felt like I was the only one on the plane. That’s how private these seats are.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

But flying first class during a pandemic is a far cry from normal times. Delta, for example, has cut services like the pre-departure hot towel and beverage. Purell wipes are given instead.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

The in-flight service soon started after we got airborne. Flight attendants took orders individually for the drink and snack service.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

This flight would’ve normally yielded a hot meal but only snack boxes were on offer, as part of Delta’s modified service.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

A larger selection of drinks was available, however, including soft drinks, coffee, tea, beer, wine, spirits, and mixed drinks.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

A choice of two snack boxes was available and I ordered both, for the purposes of this story.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

First up was the bistro snack box. It was packed with goodies like gummy bears, potato chips, a meat stick, Tic Tacs, a cheese spread, Oreo cookies, a Kind bar, and crackers.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

The market snack box then included popped chips, almonds, beef jerky, a protein bar, a Ghirardelli chocolate,

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

Both had some great items but didn’t impress me much. Similar snack boxes were sold in economy for around $10 before the pandemic.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block Ended 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

The seat itself did most of the work on this flight, and I used the lie-flat capability to its fullest. After finishing the meal, I reclined all the way flat and got some well-needed rest.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

The Twin Cities shortly came into view after an incredible relaxing flight, and my time with the seat soon came to an end.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

After a four-hour layover spent in the Delta Sky Club, I headed to my next gate. Minneapolis airport was incredibly quiet, and that had tracked with my flight being empty.

Flying Delta Air Lines During Pandemic Post-Middle Seat Block 2021
Flying Delta Air Lines after it ended a policy of blocking middle seats.

A total of 79 seats went empty, with 10 empty seats in first class alone.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Minneapolis to New York.

My upgrade had cleared at pretty much the 24-hour mark before my flight, and I had my pick of seats.

Flying Delta Air Lines first class
Flying first class on Delta Air Lines.

These seats were nothing like the modern lie-flat seats on the Boeing 767, but they were as comfortable as they looked.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

Delta wanted $192.43 for this upgrade meaning the value of my $221.80 ticket was now $800.16.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

After an hour-long delay, we took off into the Minnesota sky. There was no pre-departure service, just like the previous flight, but the service started quickly after takeoff.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

The cabin was less than half full so it didn’t take long for the flight attendant to reach me. I ordered an old fashioned and both snack boxes.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

The mixed drink came first and this time, it was pre-poured but still in a plastic cup. I really enjoyed it.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to New York.

Ordering both snack boxes again, I got to pick and choose from each which snacks to eat. If Delta is reading and decides to add this hybrid snack box to the menu, please call it “Tom’s snack box.”

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

The rest of the flight continued uneventfully as we progressed towards New York. I was the epitome of relaxed as I enjoyed the in-flight entertainment from the comfort of my oversized recliner.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

But the flight soon came to an end, and the experience was over.

Delta Air Lines First Class Phoenix to Minneapolis Boeing 767-400ER
Flying Delta Air Lines in first class from Phoenix to Minneapolis.

In total, the value of my $221.80 ticket ultimately shot up to $800.16, and I didn’t have to do a thing.

Delta Air Lines First Class Minneapolis to New York Airbus A320
Flying Delta Air Lines first class from Minneapolis to New York.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Airlines like United and Delta are making it easier than ever to access elite status and its perks like free first class upgrades

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport.
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport.

  • United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are making their top flyers earn elite status this year.
  • But both are making it easier to reach the top levels of their frequent flyer programs.
  • Average travelers now have a better chance at getting status, and the perks that come with it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The upper echelons of airline frequent flyer programs have historically been reserved for airlines’ most frequent flyers and top spenders. But airlines, eager to get their top flyers back in the air, are making it easier for more travelers to reach the coveted levels of status, and all the perks that come with it.

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have rolled out new programs that help speed along the process. And the result will be flyers spending fewer dollars and less time in the air in order to join or renew their membership in the elite status club.

Delta is giving all of its SkyMiles members 50 percent more of the qualifying credits needed to earn elite status. Currently, flyers need to fly a certain amount of miles, while also spending a certain amount of money with the airline to achieve elite status.

The minimum spending amount to earn elite status on Delta, known as “minimum qualifying dollars” or MQDs is $3,000. A flyer will also have to fly at least 25,000 miles, known as “minimum qualifying miles” or MQMs, or 30 flight segments, known as “minimum qualifying segments” or MQS, to qualify.

Flyers booking tickets in economy will earn 50 percent more MQDs, MQMs, and MQSs with each flight. Those that pay more for Delta Comfort+, Delta One business class, first class, or Premium Select premium economy seats will earn 75 percent more of each category.

Delta customers that book their tickets using SkyMiles, also known as award tickets, will also earn credits towards qualifying for status. Award tickets are traditionally exempt from counting towards status on most airlines because no revenue is being earned, so this is a major shift from Delta.

Tickets that are purchased using a combination of cash and miles will also count towards qualification.

Delta’s is largely egalitarian and even members on the lowest rung of the elite status ladder – known as Silver Medallion – can be upgraded to first class on any domestic US flight if seats are available.

Insider put Delta’s elite status to the test during the pandemic and received over $800 in upgrades across three flights alone, including an upgrade to Delta One business class on a flight from Los Angeles to New York.

Other perks of earning elite status with Delta include a free checked bag, access to priority check-in and boarding lines, dedicated phone lines, and complimentary lounge access, depending on the level of status.

United’s MileagePlus program is similar to Delta’s where flyers have to earn a certain number of premier qualifying points, or PQPs, while also flying a certain number of flights to qualify for elite status. Those thresholds were lowered by United in November, however, to make elite status more easily attainable.

Attaining Premier Silver status, for example, only requires 3,000 PQPs and eight flights. That’s down from 4,000 PQPs and 12 flights.

All MileagePlus members will earn bonus PQPs for their first three trips to kickstart the process while existing Premier members received 25 percent of the PQPs required for their status level at the beginning of the year.

From there, MileagePlus Premier members had an opportunity to pick between receiving another 25 percent of the required PQPs for their status level after three trips or have 10 percent of the required PQPs deposited with no travel required. The latter option was meant for flyers that didn’t plan on flying before the promotion’s expiration date.

Read More: Airline workers have lower rates of COVID-19 than the general population – and airline CEOs say it’s proof that flying is safe

United offers a similar upgrade model to Delta where any elite status holder can receive an upgrade if there are seats on most domestic flights. Additional perks of having elite status with United include a free checked bag, access to priority check-in and boarding lines, and dedicated phone lines.

Both models make it easier for all flyers to earn elite status while United’s is slightly geared toward helping existing elite flyers keep their status. Both strategies differ, however, from last year when airlines simply extended status levels through 2021.

But now, airlines are giving frequent flyers a reason to get back in the air and start flying again.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Flying to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket is surprisingly cheap this year as wealthy people look for summer escapes

Martha's Vineyard
  • Travel between New York and the vacation spots of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard is heating up.
  • Smaller carriers like Cape Air, Tradewind Aviation, and Elite Airways offer semi-private flights.
  • JetBlue, Delta, and United also plan to fly to the New England coast.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It’s the time of year again when wealthy people flee the concrete jungle of New York City in search of beaches and wide-open spaces.

New England hot spots like Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Island are primed for an influx of summer visitors as COVID-19 restrictions wane. But with the coronavirus still a threat, wealthy people are more likely to dig deeper into their pockets and splurge on a more exclusive means of travel.

Airlines and luxury private operators are gearing up to accommodate any and all travelers – with new flights in addition to their usual services that can transport flyers in as little as 45 minutes.

Read More: Airline workers have lower rates of COVID-19 than the general population – and airline CEOs say it’s proof that flying is safe

Here are all the options travelers have when flying between New York and the Massachusetts Islands this summer.

Flying commercial

JetBlue Embraer E190
A JetBlue Embraer E190 aircraft.

Three major airlines serve Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket from New York’s three area airports and Westchester County Airport north of the city. Flying commercial is often the least expensive option, especially with a mix of carriers on the routes.

JetBlue Airways offers the greatest variety of service to the islands with flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Westchester County Airport. Flights use JetBlue’s Embraer E190 aircraft, and one-way fares can be as low as $75.

Delta Air Lines also offers flights from JFK and LaGuardia to both islands on regional jets. One-way fares are as low as $85, and first class is offered for a premium on some days.

United Airlines is offering non-stop flights only between Newark and Nantucket. It also uses regional jets, and schedules show United will deploy its swankiest of them all, the Bombardier CRJ550, with 10 first class seats, 20 “Economy Plus” extra-legroom seats, and 20 standard economy seats.

Elite Airways

Elite Airways
An Elite Airways Bombardier CRJ200 regional aircraft.

Elite Airways is the newest carrier to offer service between New York and Massachusetts, with flights from Westchester to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard starting Memorial Day weekend. The carrier is set to use Bombardier regional jets on the routes with fares starting as low as $129.

The airline also boasts complimentary amenities like a free checked bag, advanced seat assignments, and onboard snacks and drinks.

Cape Air

Cape Air Boston Logan International Airport
Cape Air aircraft at Boston Logan International Airport.

One of America’s largest independent regional airlines, Cape Air, offers a semi-private experience between New York and the New England coast.

Five routes are offered from New York – three from Westchester and two from JFK. Both airports offer flights to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, with service to Provincetown, Massachusetts also available from Westchester. Service differs depending on the departure airport.

Flights to and from Westchester use a private terminal away from the airport’s main commercial terminal. At JFK, flights use Terminal 5, which JetBlue also uses.

Cape Air flights between New York and Massachusetts use Cessna 402 twin-engine piston aircraft with no WiFi or in-flight entertainment, and often no co-pilot. It’s truly a back-to-basics experience but does the trick on short flights. Passengers can also request to sit in the cockpit if there’s no co-pilot.

But even with the basic aircraft and a single pilot, one-way fares for the summer often run more than $200.

Blade

Blade helicopter
A Blade Bell 407 helicopter.

Helicopter company Blade offers weekender flights between Westchester and the Massachusetts Islands using Pilatus PC-12 turboprop aircraft starting May 27. Flights to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are available and use private terminals on both ends of the journey.

One-way fares start at $725 plus tax and do not require a membership.

Wheels Up

Wheels Up
A Wheels Up Beechcraft King Air 350i.

Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation firm, is resuming its Nantucket shuttle from Westchester starting Memorial Day weekend. Travelers can purchase seats on its Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprop aircraft for $795, with flights departing on Fridays at 5 p.m. and returning on Sundays at 5 p.m.

Flights use private terminals at both ends of the journey, so flyers can skip the security checkpoint. One carry-on bag, or a set of golf clubs, is permitted.

However, the shuttle is only available to Wheels Up members. There are three tiers of annual memberships, with the most basic “connect membership” costing $2,495 per year and a one-time initiation fee of $2,995.

Tradewind Aviation

Tradewind plane
A Tradewind Aviation Pilatus PC-12.

Private aviation firm Tradewind Aviation is also resuming shuttle services between Westchester and Massachusetts.

The company uses single-engine Pilatus PC-12 turboprop aircraft with luxurious interiors that feature executive-style leather seats. Tradewind flights use private terminals on both ends of the journey.

Prices and flight times vary day to day, but one-way fares are often between $400 and $1,000.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Dassault’s largest-ever private jet can fly up to 7,500 nautical miles and has fighter jet tech- meet the $75 million Falcon 10X

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

  • Dassault Aviation unveiled a new jet to compete with Gulfstream and Bombardier’s heavy-hitters.
  • The Falcon 10X features a 7,500 nautical mile range and the widest cabin of any competitor.
  • Its cockpit features fighter jet features, touchscreen systems, and digital fly-by-wire technology.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Dassault Aviation is finally catching up to its competitors.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

The French aircraft manufacturer just unveiled the latest in its line of Falcon business jets, including its $75 million flagship, the Falcon 10X.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

The largest and widest business aircraft that Dassault has ever produced, the Falcon 10X aims to be a long-range leader after the company fell behind competitors Bombardier and Gulfstream in the ultra-long-range category.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Read More: French aircraft maker Dassault just unveiled a new $47 million private jet that can fly 5,500 nautical miles — take a look at the Falcon 6X

The Falcon 8X, Dassault’s current flagship, for example, only has a top range of 6,450 nautical miles, more than 1,000 nautical miles shy of its competitor’s top products.

The Dassault Falcon 8X takes to the air at Le Bourget airport on June 19.
A Dassault Falcon 8X performs at the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France June 19, 2019.

A range of 7,500 nautical miles on the Falcon 10X, however, firmly puts Dassault back in the game.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

Bombardier’s Global 7500, alternatively, has a top range of 7,700 nautical miles.

VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500
A VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500.

Read More: Private jet industry CEOs say 2 new planes coming out soon will change the business forever. See inside the Gulfstream G700 and Bombardier Global 7500.

Source: Bombardier

And Gulfstream’s G700, which has not yet achieved certification, can fly 7,500 nautical miles.

11 Gulfstream G700
A cabin mockup of Gulfstream’s G700.

Read More: Gulfstream’s new $75 million private jet is the world’s largest — see inside

Source: Gulfstream

Step into the cabin of the Falcon 10X.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

An aircraft intended to fly for more than 15 hours needs to be, at the very least, comfortable. At nine feet and one inch, the Falcon 10X’s cabin is the widest of any of the ultra-long-range business jets from Dassault, Gulfstream, and Bombardier.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Rival aircraft top out at eight feet and two inches, the width of the Gulfstream G700.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

The Falcon 10X also boasts the tallest cabin among its competitors with a height of six feet and eight inches.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

The cabin can be divided into four areas, each with unique touches. “Comfort and productivity” were guiding principles in designing the living areas, Carlos Brana, Dassault’s executive vice president for civil aviation, told Insider.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

Seat pairs, for example, still feature tray tables but they are individualized as to not bother the seat neighbor. They can be also brought together if need be.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

A staple on any wide-cabin private jet, the Falcon 10X also features a dining and conference area that can be used for meals or meetings.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Even the galley kitchen is used as a living area, with the crew rest area doubling as a seat. Unlike other private jets, two windows illuminate the kitchen with natural light and open the space that’s traditionally reserved as a work area for cabin attendants.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

An entertainment suite acts as a retreat to unwind on longer flights, complete with a divan and wide-screen television.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

The bedroom is located at the rear of the aircraft as an onboard retreat. The extra width of the cabin allows for a queen-size bed to fit in the room.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

Aircraft owners can also opt for another seat in the bedroom to act as an office or a private setting for meals. “We created an apartment, a penthouse in the sky,” Agnès Gervais, Dassault’s head of industrial design, said.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

Attached to the master bedroom is an en suite bathroom, complete with a walk-in shower, further establishing the notion of a flying apartment.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

With 19 windows on each side of the aircraft, there will be no shortage of natural light.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

In order to mitigate jet lag and other adverse effects of long hours in a plane, the jet’s cabin humidity and pressure levels can be the same at 41,000 feet as they feel at 3,000 feet.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

Fresh, filtered air will also be flowing through the cabin. “Our goal is to make sure that when [passengers] exit the airplane, they are fresh, rested, relaxed, and they can go to the next stage of their trip,” Brana said.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

In the cockpit, touchscreen technology is widely used with Honeywell Aerospace’s Primus Epic avionics suite. Multi-touch functionality allows two pilots to use the same screen at once.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Read More: Aircraft will soon be voice-controlled in the next step towards self-flying planes — here’s how engineers are actively working to make it reality

Source: Dassault Aviation

Four high-definition displays give pilots information and are flanked by flight computers. Honeywell Aerospace also provided a lot of safety features including synthetic vision, airport moving maps, and a runway overrun awareness system.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Dassault was also able to use technology found on its Rafale fighter jet aircraft in the Falcon 10X.

French Air Force Dassault Rafale
A French Air Force Dassault Rafale.

Engine thrust is controlled by a single lever, despite the aircraft having two engines, just like on the Rafale

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

And pilots have heads-up displays that can help navigate through poor weather.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Side-stick controls have replaced standard control yokes, and the Falcon 10X also features digital fly-by-wire controls to improve safety. A button on each side of the cockpit can steady the plane in the event of unusual turbulence.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Both cockpit seats are also designed to lay fully flat to form a bed and eventually act as a crew rest area for one of the pilots.

That’s not allowed just yet as two pilots have to be flying at all times, but increased automation is leading to fewer pilots being needed in the cockpit in the future.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

“Our objective is to drastically reduce workload while still be able to adapt to the challenges of air traffic control,” Philippe Duchateau, Dassault’s chief test pilot, said.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Powering the Falcon 10X are two Rolls-Royce Perl 10X engines producing more than 18,000 pounds of thrust each and offering a top speed of Mach .925.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

It’s the first time that Dassault has called upon Rolls-Royce for Falcon jet aircraft engine. “We strongly believe that Rolls-Royce has the right competencies, the right technology in order to design this engine to be fitted for us,” Éric Trappier, Dassault’s chief executive officer, said.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

Aiding the aircraft’s aerodynamic performance is its wing design. Dassault needed it to be effective at high speeds during cruise flight, and also at low speeds when accessing smaller airports.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

As a result, the carbon-fiber wings were swept back further and the wingspan increased.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

Every city pair in the world is accessible with just one stop and non-stop city pairs include long flights like New York-Johannesburg, South Africa; Paris, France-Santiago, Chile; and Hong Kong-Atlanta, meaning fewer stops for travelers.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

“We put the bar very high, at the top,” Trappier said.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

The Falcon 10X’s entry into service is planned for late 2025.

Dassault Falcon 10X
Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 10X private jet.

Source: Dassault Aviation

Read the original article on Business Insider

I visited the newly renovated AmEx Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas airport and it was the best way to spend a layover in Sin City

LAS Centurion Lounge
  • American Express just completed renovations on its Las Vegas Centurion Lounge, adding more than 4,000 square feet.
  • The lounge is only accessible to select cardholders, including Platinums and Centurions.
  • Complimentary food and alcohol are just some of the perks that the Las Vegas-themed lounge offers.3
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Las Vegas is home to one of American Express’ 14 Centurion Lounges, widely considered to be the gold standard of airport lounges because of their high-end offerings including complimentary and meticulous crafted food items and alcoholic beverages.

McCarran Airport
McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas NV

The lounge is located in the airport’s D gate concourse, home to United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and JetBlue Airways, among others.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Passenger on any airline can access the lounge, however, if they have the American Express Platinum or Centurion card. American Express Delta Skymiles Reserve cardholders can also use the lounge when flying Delta or a Delta-marketed flight.

Platinum Card from American Express

I had a six-hour layover in the airport so I headed straight to the lounge. Departing passengers are normally only allowed to enter within three hours of their flight but connecting passengers are exempt from that rule.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Here’s what it was like inside the Las Vegas Centurion Lounge.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

I checked into the lounge using digital check-in via the American Express mobile application and was given a QR code to show the agent. I only had to show my boarding pass and identification as the agent saw my check-in on her end.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Within seconds, I was inside one of the most exclusive clubs in Las Vegas. Greeting me was this portrait of a dog resting on an American Express trunk accompanying two black armchairs, a staple of the Centurion Lounge that can be found in every location.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

The lounge was moderately crowded and employees, as a result, were escorting guests to particular seats to help ensure distancing.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

I was asked if I wanted to sit in one of the main seating areas….

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Or the dining area. I chose the former to take advantage of the more comfortable seating.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

I was traveling alone so I was given one of these cushioned cubbies, complete with my own table.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Capacity in the lounge is limited due to the pandemic so certain seating areas are blocked.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Along the wall where I was sitting, for example, every other cubby was blocked.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

It created an extra degree of privacy and meant I had more room to store my bags, and another table to hold my laptop while I ate lunch.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Once I got settled, I headed over to the buffet to get something to eat. These lounges are known for having good eats with menus crafted from local chefs. Chef Kim Canteenwalla had designed this menu.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

The offering was quite extensive and better than what I’d seen in competing airline lounges even before the pandemic. Light options included a chopped bacon, lettuce, and tomato salad…

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Butternut squash soup…

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

And mango cranberry couscous.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Hot items included kale pesto pasta…

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Brussel sprouts…

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Meatloaf…

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

And chimichurri fingerling potatoes.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

And for desert, peach cobbler was on offer.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Healthier options included fruits like apples, pears, and bananas. Cookies and honey mustard pretzels were also on offer but not many snacks were available other than that.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

All in all, it was some of the best airport food I’ve ever had. Every item was bursting with flavor and made for a great meal.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

And of course, the full bar is another big selling feature of the lounge as drinks are complimentary.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

The main bar was closed but this makeshift bar still did the trick. Most common cocktails can be ordered at the bar but American Express’ in-house mixologist, Jim Meehan, also crafts specialty drinks for each location.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

One such drink was the “air mail,” a sparkling wine drink with rum, honey syrup, and lime juice.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Plexiglass partitions were also erected at the bar for social distancing.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

After having lunch, I walked around the more than 13,000 square foot space. American Express just recently renovated the lounge and it showed.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

The decor was very modern and very Las Vegas. It made me feel like I was in the heart of the Strip despite only being at the airport.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Large sections of the lounge were blocked off but other sections included a sprawling conference table and more private seating.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

These lounges often lend themselves well to social distancing with high-walled chairs since privacy is a huge draw for discerning travelers.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

There are even private phone rooms that are enclosed for maximum privacy.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

I also discovered somewhat of a hidden room in the back of the lounge.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

It didn’t have any windows but was well-lit and has its own television.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

The lounge’s family room was, however, off-limits due to the pandemic.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Roped-off areas were opened once the lounge was sufficiently crowded. It wasn’t uncommon before the pandemic to see these lounges filled to the brim.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Departure information screens could also be found throughout the lounge so passengers could stay up to date on the status of their next flight.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy one of the seating areas near the window as a variety of aircraft can be spotted.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Hot beverages were also available with multi-beverage coffee machines capable of making anything from a standard cup of coffee to espresso, cappuccino, hot chocolate, and anything in between.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

A selection of teas was also available with hot water.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Visiting this lounge made my six-hour layover go by in what felt like an instant.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

The only downside is that it closes at 3 p.m., at which point the only other lounge available to passengers in the terminal is The Club LAS.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

But for the few hours I got to spend in the lounge, I can say that it will become a staple on my future visits to Las Vegas.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

The renovations and superior offering make it a jewel in the Centurion Lounge network.

American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas Airport
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport

Read the original article on Business Insider

I visited the newly designed private terminal at LAX and saw why wealthy travelers are spending thousands for a membership

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

  • PS, the private terminal at LAX, has been a haven for wealthy travelers looking to avoid the traveling public.
  • As a result, memberships have been surging as the wealthy want a more private experience.
  • I visited a newly redesigned suite and saw first-hand what they’re paying thousands of dollars for.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
PS opened in 2017 as the Private Suite, a one-of-a-kind private terminal at one of the country’s busiest airports. Like most travel and hospitality companies, business was down at the pandemic’s peak in 2020 as would-be travelers stayed at home amid lockdowns.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

But just over one full year since lockdowns began, PS is reporting a resurgence in new memberships from flyers getting ready to travel.

PS (Private Suite) at LAX
PS at Los Angeles International Airport.

Amina Belouizdad, PS’ co-chief executive officer, told Insider that memberships have surged and the company has signed on more new members than it had before the pandemic. Annual membership costs $4,500 but the wealthy are scooping them up, even if they don’t have upcoming travel planned.

PS (Private Suite) at LAX
PS at Los Angeles International Airport.

“I think people want to have peace of mind that they have access to this,” Belouizdad said. “It’s a signal of customer sentiment, is what it is. People are saying, ‘I’m expecting to travel over the next year, I want to make sure me and my family can do it safely.'”

PS (Private Suite) at LAX
PS at Los Angeles International Airport.

And with that in mind, PS is embarking on a redesign for its Los Angeles flagship terminal to welcome back travelers with a new look. I stopped by PS on a recent layover in Los Angeles, here’s what it was like.

Flying on Alaska Airlines during pandemic
Flying on Alaska Airlines during the pandemic

The major appeal of PS is avoiding the commercial terminal at LAX entirely, and that’s only increased during the pandemic. Memberships are up as the wealthy want guaranteed access, even if they don’t have plans to fly in the near future.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

For those arriving at LAX by plane, the experience starts with a chauffeured car. PS representatives wait in the jetway to meet guests as soon as they step off of their flights, and promptly escort them to an awaiting vehicle below.

PS Direct
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

PS has a fleet of vehicles available to use depending on group size but the flagship is the BMW 750i. Ideal for one to two passengers, the classic all-white sedan features an executive configuration for passengers in the back.

PS Direct
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

The car is loaded with luxurious amenities including leather seats with recline functionality to individual climate control for passengers in the back.

PS Direct
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

There are even seat-back entertainment screens from which the SiriusXM radio can be controlled.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Then, it’s around a 10 to 15-minute drive to PS, located on the south side of the airport. As two runways separate the facility from the commercial terminals, drivers have to go all the way around the airport while obeying the airport’s modest speed limit

PS Direct
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

As an aviation enthusiast, however, I wish the drive lasted longer as we were right alongside moving aircraft for most of the drive.

PS Direct
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Behemoth jets like the Boeing 747 were just outside the window, departing and landing just feet from the car.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

It was like getting a private tour of the airport all while traveling at the height of luxury.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Upon arrival at PS, it’s just a short walk down a private hallway into the facility. Everything from reservations to payment is done online so there’s no checking in or waiting in line. I didn’t even see another guest for the entirety of my stay.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

There are 13 suites in total at PS. Not all have received the redesign but that project is expected to be completed within the next six months.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

I walked into the suite and felt as if I’d just checked into a luxury hotel.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

It was incredibly modern and above any private lounge that I’ve seen at an airport. Members pay $3,250 per visit while non-members pay $4,350 per visit for up to four travelers.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

The suites aren’t as large as a hotel suite but are comparable in size to a New York City studio apartment and include spacious living areas, wet bars, fully-stocked mini-fridges, and private bathrooms, among other features.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

PS takes a personal touch when dealing with guests. A handwritten note is left for guests welcoming them to the facility and detailing what they can expect from the stay.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

A massive high-definition television with DirecTV serves as the main entertainment for the suite, helping pass the time until a flight.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Guests can also make use of the in-suite phone and stationary. PS staff use the phone to communicate with guests and keep them informed on their departure information.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

This quasi-kitchen and wet bar are where all of the suite’s food and beverage items can be found.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

A selection of high-end snacks, liquors, and wines were all on offer and available free of charge to guests.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Snacks included pistachios, almonds, keto-friendly cereal, and water crackers, to name just a few.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Guests are also encouraged to take snacks with them on the plane and given this blue box to do so.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

The fridge contained chilled soft drinks, waters, milk, alcoholic beverages, and even some more snacks. A guest here will truly want for nothing as everything is at their fingertips.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Those making cocktails can use the bar station and the pre-filled bucket of ice.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

And there was no shortage of glasses, cups, and dishes to use when dining.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Complimentary travel accessories were also scattered across the suite including noise-isolating headphones, headphone splitters, and charging cables.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

The luxury continued into the restroom complete with marble floors and vanities, as well as gold-plated sink faucets.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

And the complimentary amenities kept on coming with everything a traveler would need to freshen up before a flight.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

There was even a selection of over-the-counter medications on offer if a traveler is feeling unwell or just wants a dose of Vitamin C to boost the immune system while traveling.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

The suite design is the result of a partnership with Cliff Fong, a renowned design consultant, and it really felt like home instead of a transient space.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

“Our vision was always like, let’s create a space that feels residential, that feels like their home, that doesn’t feel like the airport, that doesn’t feel like a commercial space, that feels very familiar and collected,” Belouizdad said.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

The suite window overlooked the airfield, as well as the PS fleet of luxury vehicles. The firm also offers a new service, called PS Direct, where flyers can be taken straight from their domestic flights to their final destination and avoid both the commercial terminal and the PS facility altogether.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Directly adjacent to the suite is an outdoor patio with benches and chairs to enjoy a bit of the outdoors before heading off on a plane for however many hours.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Suite 13 is often the most sought after since it includes this private outdoor space, accessible via a sliding door from the living room.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Meals are included in the stay and everything comes pre-packaged for sanitary reasons.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

The current menu is largely focused on Los Angeles-inspired meals, mainly salads and sandwiches, for lunch and dinner.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

I sampled the Peruvian steak sandwich and the chicken and prosciutto salad. Both were bursting with flavor and better than most of what’s available even in LAX’s premium lounges.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

It really came as no surprise that the wealthy are buying up access to the facility since staying here was so much more enjoyable than any airport experience I’ve had in years.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

For me, I found the true luxury of the suite wasn’t the complimentary goodies that were offered but that it was a quiet place to relax during a long layover nestled into an already long day of travel. Suites also feature a sleep kit with eyeshades and earplugs.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

When it was time to leave, PS staff came to the suite and escorted me to the in-house Transportation and Security Administration checkpoint. There’s no line and TSA PreCheck was available.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Then, it was just a short drive back to the commercial terminals and my awaiting JetBlue Airways flight.

PS Private Terminal at LAX
Visiting PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A new luxury car service at LAX is letting wealthy flyers skip the terminal by meeting them planeside – and a single ride costs more than $3,000

PS Direct
A BMV 750i of PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

  • PS Direct is the latest offering of PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.
  • Wealthy travelers can pay $3,450 to have a private car and driver pick them up planeside.
  • The one-of-a-kind service is currently only available to those with a PS membership, priced at $4,500.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Hopping off the plane at LAX just got a massive upgrade for certain types of travelers.

PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport that lets wealthy travelers skip the commercial terminal entirely, is introducing a new pandemic-era luxury car service that offers planeside pickups upon arrival.

PS Direct lets travelers skip the terminal entirely, including the PS private terminal, and head straight to their final destination just moments after stepping off of their commercial flight. That means no more waiting in taxi lines or walking through a crowded terminal to find one’s driver.

A PS representative greets passengers in the jetway and escorts them directly to the airport tarmac where their stylish BMW 750i awaits. The four-seater sedans feature executive passenger seating complete with seat-back entertainment screens, recline functionality, seat-warming capabilities, individual climate control, and a sunroof, to name just a few amenities.

PS Direct
A BMV 705i of PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Only PS annual members have access to the service and just a single ride incurs a fee of $3,450, which is $200 more than the cost of booking a luxurious suite at the facility. A yearly membership at PS costs $4,500 and comes with benefits like complimentary valet parking, free spa services (not available during the pandemic), and priority reservations when booking suites.

Amina Belouizdad, co-CEO at PS, told Insider that the higher price point for the service compared to its suites comes as a result of the cost of licensing for its drivers and other expenses associated with launching the service.

For frequent PS users, the experience will be largely similar to what they’re accustomed to when frequenting the suites except they’ll just skip the private terminal be driven straight to their homes, hotels, or wherever they’re staying in Los Angeles. Even those flyers that have checked bags can skip baggage claim and use the service.

“If you’ve checked bags, you wait five minutes on average in the BMW while we retrieve your bags from the plane, put them in the trunk of your car, and then we drive you straight home,” Belouizdad said.

The service is currently only available when arriving on a domestic flight. PS has its own US Customs and Border Protection facilities that inbound arrivals can use but that requires a stop in the private terminal.

PS Direct
A BMV 705i of PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Planeside pickups have historically been a benefit of flying private but PS is the first to make it available for commercial flights in the US, an impressive feat considering the heightened security environment that exists at bustling international airports like LAX.

Read More: Private jet industry CEOs say business will boom as the wealthy abandon airlines and reveal what they’re doing now to take advantage

“We’re the only ones in the world, to my knowledge, that can do this,” Belouizdad said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I recently took 3 flights with Delta as an elite status holder and managed to snag $800 in free upgrades despite seat-blocking policies – here’s how

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

  • Having elite status on Delta typically means free first class upgrades for the most frequent flyers.
  • Fewer seats are available in premium cabins, however, thanks to Delta’s pandemic seat-blocking policy.
  • I took three flights on Delta and still got seven times worth the value of my ticket in upgrades.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Loyalty has its perks, even during a pandemic.

I earned elite status on Delta Air Lines in late 2019, just a few months before the pandemic grounded even the most frequent flyers. My first experiment flying with status in February 2020 earned me hundreds of dollars in free extras like upgrades to first class and more legroom seats.

Enjoying the perks of the status during the pandemic, however, has been harder as Delta is blocking middle seats and adjacent seats in first class. It’s an easy trade-off to make when it comes to safety but means fewer upgrades to the premium cabins.

Delta, like most major US airlines, extended its members’ elite status for an extra year and gave frequent flyers like me more time to enjoy the perks. On a recent trip, I took three Delta flights to see how far having status would get me, even as a lowly Silver Medallion as those in the first rung of the program are called.

I flew from Houston, Texas to New York via Salt Lake City and Los Angeles on a variety of aircraft to see just how much more I’d get from my fare by sticking with Delta during the pandemic.

Here’s what I found.

Having elite status on Delta comes with a variety of free perks ranging from first class upgrades to checked bags.

Delta Silver Medallion
Welcome email for Delta Silver Medallion status.

And as any elite will likely say, the upgrades are the most sought after as they can be the best bang for you buck and can instantly elevate a trip. Even Silver Medallions can get upgraded to first class, as I found on a February 2020 trip to Orlando.

first class Delta Air Lines

Read More: I took 3 Delta flights in one day after finally getting elite status to see if it’s really worth having — here’s what I discovered

Coming home from a trip in February, I booked three flights on Delta for a total of $139.50 which meant three opportunities for upgrades either into first class or Delta Comfort+, an extra legroom section of economy.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The real prize, however, would be to get an upgrade on the longest of my flights, from Los Angeles to New York. Delta classifies this route as “Delta One” and the Boeing 767-400 operating the flight featured brand-new first class seats.

Delta One

The upgrade window for Silver Medallion opens 24 hours before departure for each flight. But that didn’t stop me from checking the seat maps on my flights every day leading up to the flight to check my odds.

Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.
Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic

My first flight was from Houston to Salt Lake City on Delta’s Airbus A220-300, the newest aircraft in its fleet.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

With the new seat-blocking policy, the normally 30-seat Comfort+ cabin was reduced to 16 seats…

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

And first class was down from 12 seats to only six. I might’ve had a good chance to get upgraded into first class in normal times but it was seemingly impossible now.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

My flight was departing at 7:50 a.m. so I made sure to check in exactly at the 24-hour mark to see if I had scored the upgrade. The odds were quickly stacked against me as I soon found myself number nine out of nine for a first class upgrade with one seat available.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

I was able to snag a Comfort+ upgrade, however, valued at $45.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The upgrade yielded me a window seat in the second-row of the cabin. This normally would also mean being one of the first people on the plane but Delta now boards from the back to the front due to the pandemic.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

These seats offer 34 inches of pitch, giving me some extra room to stretch out during the three-hour flight to Utah.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

Once airborne, flight attendants began the in-flight service. Comfort+ typically receives “premium” snacks but all economy passengers now receive a snack bag, with mine featuring Biscoff cookies and Goldfish.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

Complimentary alcohol, however, is a perk that’s surprisingly survived the pandemic service cuts. It was a bit early for me so I held off but was shocked that I could order a beer and not a soda.

Delta Elite Status Day Trip
The alcohol menu on a Delta flight from Raleigh to Orlando.

While it wasn’t first class, the Comfort+ upgrade combined with the empty middle seat made for a great flight to Salt Lake City. And come time to deplane, I was off relatively quickly.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

My $139.50 ticket was now worth $184.50 thanks to the $45 upgrade.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

My next flight was from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, a quick one-hour hop on a slightly larger Boeing 737-900ER. The total number of available first class seats on this aircraft is 10, and 14 in Comfort+ under the seat blocking policy.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

I thought I had a better chance of a first class upgrade on this one but I was sadly mistaken. I was number five on the upgrade list out of five with three seats open.

Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.
Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic

I did manage to get another upgrade to Comfort+ pretty quickly after departure, valued at $24. Once again, I got a window seat with the middle seat open.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The aisle seat also ended up staying open, as luck would have it, giving me an entire row to myself. This upgrade was almost proving to be equal to first class.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The quick flight to Los Angeles meant only an hour to enjoy the upgrade but I did take advantage of the complimentary alcohol.

Flying on Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying on Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

And naturally, I was one of the first to “hop off the plane at LAX.” The total value of my $139.50 ticket was now $208.50 thanks to the $24 upgrade, with one flight to go.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The next flight was the big one, Los Angeles to New York on one of Delta’s largest jets.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

I was already upgraded to Comfort+ and that would’ve been a fine consolation. Comfort+ seats on this jet were the equivalent of domestic first class seats on Delta’s smaller jets.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

But I was striving for Delta One and the odds were in my favor as no seats were blocked for social distancing in the 34-seat premium cabin. I was 16 of 19 on the upgrade list leading up to departure.

Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.
Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic

I was hoping to get an early upgrade so I could use the Delta Sky Club, which is open to domestic Delta One passengers, but it was looking like I’d get the infamous gate upgrade.

Delta Sky Club
A Delta Sky Club at JFK Airport Terminal 4.

Delta sometimes tries to wait until the very last second to sell an upgrade and those on the upgrade list won’t know they’ve been upgraded until they literally scan their boarding passes.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

And that’s exactly what happened to me. I was assigned seat 8D in Delta One.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

First class was allowed to board first and I turned left into the immaculate cabin. Delta primarily uses this jet to fly to Europe and South America but the pandemic had luckily relegated it to primarily domestic routes like this one.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

My seat was away from the aisle and offered additional privacy.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

I immediately got to work playing with all of its features, including the big in-flight entertainment screen.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

Among other amenities, the seat came with a pillow and comforter…

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

Noise-canceling headphones…

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

And power outlets.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

It was safe to say that this was going to be a good flight.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

We quickly departed from Los Angeles and it was clear that this wasn’t going to be a typical first class flight. Even in Delta One, there were no hot towels, meals, or champagne, par for the course during the pandemic.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

Flight attendants instead offered us the standard snack bag and some snack boxes. I chose the meat and cheese kit.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

Complimentary alcohol was also on offer but nothing more than beer and wine.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

I settled in for the flight just fine and did my best to stay awake after an already long day so that I could enjoy the experience. Day quickly turned to night and the mood lights in the cabin activated, making for an incredibly relaxing ambiance.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

The in-flight entertainment screen had no shortage of selections and I watched Tenet and Citizen Kane all the way to New York.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

Delta was charging $799 extra for this seat and I was able to get it for free. The new value of my $139.50 ticket was $1,007.50.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

Would I have snagged this upgrade in normal times? Almost certainly not.

Flying Delta Air Lines during pandemic
Flying Delta Air Lines during the pandemic.

Getting a first class upgrade as a Silver Medallion proved to be harder during the pandemic than in normal times but getting at least one flight in the premium cabin made it all worth it.

Delta is “upgauging,” or placing larger aircraft, on more domestic routes that increase a frequent flyer’s chance of an upgrade but getting bumped to first class is few and far between for those lower in the program thanks to the seat-blocking policy. 

April 30, however, is the current expiration date for that policy (unless Delta extends it again) at which point it may be easier for elites to snag a first class seat. Until then, the best way to first class is to either buy a ticket in the cabin or seek out the airline’s largest aircraft. 

Read the original article on Business Insider