The lifestyles of the rich and famous have long been lusted after by ‘regular people’ who gaze at photos in magazines and lap up tales of hotel room wreckages and debauchery in mansions. This has been intensified by the rise of Instagram which allows us to follow these lives 24/7. Yes, while sitting at your desk gazing at a wall you can look at Karlie Kloss gazing out over the Caribbean. One experience rarely enjoyed by regular peeps is flying jet. With commercial airline flights now available for as low as £9.99 it can cost the same to get between London and Berlin as it does to and from Manchester. A private jet flight on the other hand, would set you back around £2,500 per seat, which is difficult to justify if you aren’t David Guetta.
Well, last weekend the opportunity to fly ‘private’ between London and Milan presented itself to me and with absolutely no reluctance, I took it up. I was flying with a new app called ‘JetSmarter’ through which you can book a plane ticket as casually as an Uber. The flights are at specific times and you have the option to either share the 7 seater plane with others or hire the whole thing out for yourself. Similar companies include Netjets and Villiers Jets which make flying an all round easier experience. Many key airports have a specific Jet terminal away from the traffic of the main departures zone. If, like I did, you go first to the main terminal, don’t expect all the airline staff to know where it is!
The first great thing about flying private is the lounge. Whilst the experience isn’t grandiose, the lounges do come with many a complimentary food/beverage which is always enjoyable. At London City this included wine, beer, toffee popcorn and Kettle chips. Though I noted, no dairy-free milk alternatives which I can imagine would be an issue for many a modern model. On my return flight we flew into Luton Airport, which has a much larger lounge complete with spirits and a barista.
Though its nice having this comfy lounge, there aren’t many people using it as wait times are significantly reduced when flying private. One passenger on our flight got to the terminal 5minutes after our flight was supposed to leave – the pilot was happy to wait for him. This kind of thing makes the experience much more informal than flying on a commercial airline where flight attendants can (and will) say no to any late boarding. Once on board, safety information is also more casual and ‘top line’; theres no long wait on the ground whilst the bags are loaded or the plane fuelled up. Airtime also seems to be noticeably shorter, but this may be largely to do with not having to wait for a clear runway or landing slot. Straight up and straight down.
The flying experience itself is a little more magical. As the plane is smaller, you can see better out of the windows. You can be much more aware of the fact you’re flying above the world like a pilot or a bird!
My fellow jet passengers were all very pleasant and I was more aware of how international we were as a collective. Naturally on a private jet you’re only likely to find the wealthiest people from all countries and ages. I didn’t strike up any conversations but perhaps that’s because I’m an anti-sociable being. You won’t find any queues on arrival so can slip straight off to your meeting or massage depending on reason for the trip.
Flying on a private plane is an experience not many people can afford or justify. Its an extravagance which is probably only necessary if you have a schedule which demands it. Or you consider £10k spare change. Perhaps future me will be there but, for now, I’m ok with my feet on the ground.
Lexy is a writer, DJ and marketing professional living in London. She is a gemini and a feminist who loves coffee and leopard print.