In a time when everything is changing, a new value is put on trustworthy, dependable, simple services. Private aviation is one such luxury. And since the start of the pandemic, there has been a notable rise in both interest and bookings for private aviation. It’s easy to see why. Flying private is far safer than going the commercial route when it comes to potential exposure. In addition to flying exclusively with passengers of your choosing, the entire airport and flight experience presents just 30 contact touch points or less, compared with an estimated 700 contacts one may experience when flying commercial. And thanks to innovative fractional ownership programs from companies like Kansas City-based Airshare, flying private is more cost effective and flexible than ever before.
“We celebrated our 20th anniversary this past year and we like to say that we’re the best kept secret in private aviation,” says Airshare CEO John Owen. The company stands apart from all other players in the private aviation market in the level of service and customizable programs offered to travelers. “At Airshare, we have talented and experienced people who have worked in private aviation for their entire careers, combined with people from other industries who bring fresh perspectives,” says Owen. “That mix has created a great direction for what we want to be, without being bogged down by the age-old industry ideas that you see a lot in private aviation.”
Flexibility is at the forefront of Airshare’s programs, both in terms of pricing and the overall flight experience. The company takes a markedly different approach from other competitors in their space. Instead of travelers buying flight time by the hour, Airshare provides their customers with the advantage of paying by the day. “We give you ultimate flexibility,” says Owen. “Within a day we don’t care how many hours you use. You can fly for 10 hours and go to two, three, four different places. You can decide in the air that you want to go somewhere else. Our motto is: your plane, your day.”
That means if a meeting ends early, you have the freedom to take off and stop in another city for dinner before heading home if you like. If plans change—even midair—simply notify the pilots of your new destination and you’re on your way. “We have an app that gives you direct access to the pilots. You can call or text them if you need a last minute lunch or anything,” says Owen. “You have complete control over the airplane for the day, and where and when the pilots are flying.”
Airshare gives travelers the option to equip the flight with whatever food or beverage options they want via a concierge service, too. “There are no flight attendants, but our planes are fully stocked with drinks and snacks—whatever you want from a breakfast burrito to caviar,” adds Owen.
In terms of programs, Airshare offers two approaches. For those just getting into the world of flying private, the EMBARK Jet Card is the place to start. With only a program fee, this option provides ten days of flying that travelers can use over the span of two years. Meanwhile, fractional ownership offers a greater number of travel days with more flexibility on when to use them.
“Fractional ownership is a buy-what-you-need model,” explains Owen. “You can buy as many days as you need for the year then pay your share of the overhead costs of that airplane. And it’s scaleable. If you end up with too much you can sell some back, or if you decide you need more days you can buy more.”
Most importantly, Airshare is all about simplicity. You won’t find fine print describing blackout days where travel isn’t possible, or peak travel days where extra charges apply—a common issue in private aviation. Both fractional shareowners and EMBARK Jet Card customers have access to the same fleet of Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 jets. “COVID has given a lot of people a push toward private aviation in how they approach travel. For newcomers, simplicity is so important,” says Owen.
While Airshare started out catering to business travel, more and more customers are coming to the company for leisure travel. And since private flights can touch down in roughly ten times more airports than commercial flights, that means going more places, faster, safer and more efficiently than ever. In other words, it’s time to explore private aviation in 2021.