Soaring numbers of wealthy flyers have been boarding private jets to avoid the risk of catching Covid-19 from other passengers on scheduled flights.
Commercial airlines, even national flag-carriers, are going bust with the fallout from pandemic restrictions but private jet operators have seen bookings take off since Covid-19 announced that it meant business worldwide back in March.
Not only do private jet passengers avoid sharing a plane with possibly infected strangers, they also side-step dealing with busy airport terminals as they can often drive straight onto the tarmac to catch their flight if it’s domestic.
Even if it’s an international flight, passport checks can be arranged in secure lounges away from the lines and hurly-burly.
In August, private jet bookings overtook 2019’s numbers, despite commercial flights plummeting.
“Increased interest in private jet travel took off earlier this year, with enquiry levels double our usual volumes and flight bookings ahead of last year during the summer peak,” said Adam Twidell, CEO of UK-based private jet travel provider PrivateFly. “Currently we remain well ahead of last year in terms of flight sales.”
Hiring a 14-seat jet for a one-way trip from New York to London typically costs around US$100,000 (RM400,000).
And once your shiny Gulfstream has taxied you to your private arrivals lounge and your deep-cleaned Lincoln limo has deposited you at the private entrance to your hotel, the safety doesn’t stop there.
Luxury hotel chains are reporting that wealthy customers are willing to pay a lot more to be kept away from other guests and crowded lobbies.
Last week, InterContinental Hotels revealed that its suite-only brands are outperforming the rest of its portfolio by a large margin.