A startup aircraft brand will begin flights from Los Angeles to Aspen in February to test-fly its unusual business model, a hybrid between a private jet and first-class seating on a commercial airline. Aero, which launched in Europe last summer, said one-way tickets to Aspen will start at $990, and clients will depart from private terminals at Van Nuys airport and Aspen.
Originally designed as a regional commercial jet with seating for up to 48 passengers, Aero’s Embraer ERJ135 has just 16 seats to enhance personal space. With a dark-black exterior, it’s also one of the coolest-looking jets on the runway. The interior has suede walls and the seats are hand-stitched Italian leather. The ERJ135 also has a custom sound system by Bongiovi Acoustic Lab, promising a full-immersion experience.
What about the dreaded Coronavirus? Aero has thought through that on multiple levels, including a mandatory pre-flight test for every passenger, face coverings to be worn during the flight, more than six feet between the seating to enhance social distancing, and the relatively small number of seats. Food is served in pre-wrapped containers. The number of touchpoints, both in the private terminal and on board the jet, pales compared to the hundreds any passenger experiences on a commercial aircraft.
Beyond hygiene, flying via private terminals is an exceptional experience, offering quick passes through security, curbside greetings from the staff and hassle-free luggage service. The first flight takes off on February 4, and the company will run its $990 one-way ticket pricing through February. In March and April, the prices change to $1,250.
The Van Nuys lounge is in the final stages of renovation, while Aspen has a mobile lounge adjacent to the tarmac. Aero is also offering the possibility of reserving the entire aircraft for family and friends. The company will have a different flight schedule for summer but has not released details yet.