How much does it cost to fly Private? This Startup Will Let You Fly Anytime For A "Small" Yearly Fee
Wheels Up is now offering individuals affordable private jet memberships.
Wheels Up is now offering individuals affordable private jet memberships. The company has recruited other firms, including Costco to help sell memberships to regular folks.
Through an exclusive partnership with Wheels Up, Costco Members are eligible to receive one $3500 Costco Cash Card with purchase of a Wheels Up Membership. Includes $5,000 flight credit applied to the account.
Wheels Up CEO and Founder, Kenny Dichter refers to his company as the Netflix of Aviation. Although, If Netflix were meant for the 1 percent, this comparison would be completely accurate. This is a dream come true for those who require the convenience of flying private, without the exorbitant costs typically associated with owning a jet.
An individual subscription of $17,500 will allow you to have access to an array of private planes for the whole year, plus access to over 5000 private airports across the country, ensuring that you can always land no more than 15 minutes from your final destination.
The company’s client list includes the likes of Ciara, Tom Brady, and former Hain Celestial CEO, Irwin Simon. Dichter states, “it's wildly important to these folks that they get from A to B in a very, very efficient way."
The fractional jet ownership model, which was developed in 1987, has been around for years with entrenched players like Flexjets and NetJets. However, in most deals the customer typically had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in upfront and maintenance costs.
Wheels Up, on the other hand, has been expanding the private jet market by decreasing the barriers to entry. The company’s Citation Excel and King Air 350i planes can fit up to 8 passengers and provide all of the desired concierge services. Besides the in-flight Wi-Fi, Wheels Up also offers snacks and booze that will make any flight as smooth and relaxing as possible.
Annual fee for corporate accounts is $29k. Though, the fee amount will decrease by approximately half for the following years. A fee of $4000 per each hour of flight time is required to be paid up front. It is obvious not everyone can afford this luxury service, however, the company already has up to 5000 customers with the annual revenue prognosis of more than $400 million for 2018.
Wheels Up believes the number of customers will continue to grow over time. Ditcher has indicated that more than 30 percent of their customers come from commercial business and first class who have not been in private planes before. Around 10 million people fly business and first class in a year, meaning Wheels Up is likely to attract many new customers.
The Private aviation industry has grown to $23 billion in 2018 from $18 billion just five years ago, according to market researcher IBISWorld. Wheels Up has its competitors, such as XOJet, V2 Jets, and JetSmarters. Although, other private jet companies including Beacon, BlackJet were not able to survive in the industry due to a general lack of demand.
Wheels Up tries to differentiate itself from the rest of the competition with a benefits program. Offering discounts with various partners that might interest its customers: Italian leather luggage makers, chauffeur services, yacht companies.
Alumni can also purchase seats on shuttles to their Alma mater’s events or games, including the Masters and Super Bowl. Other customers use the services to see a show in another city or grab dinner.
Dichter says, “We believe we can make this a much bigger space moving forward."