Soaring in Style: The rise of Semi-Private Aviation

by Celia Cooksey

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new era of transformation across various sectors, with air travel undergoing significant changes. As travelers globally re-evaluate their preferences, semi-private flying has emerged as a shining beacon in the aviation world.

Several factors contribute to the rising popularity of semi-private jets:

  • Convenience: Operating out of private terminals, passengers sidestep the often hectic commercial airports, eliminating long lines and tedious security checks.
  • Flexibility: Semi-private flights offer more frequent schedules and a wider array of destinations, providing a level of adaptability often unmatched by commercial airlines.
  • Safety: In an age where unruly passenger incidents have made headlines, semi-private jets offer an environment distanced from potential disruptions. Additionally, with fewer passengers on board, the potential exposure to viruses and illnesses is decreased.
  • Luxury: Beyond transportation, semi-private flights provide a premium experience. From spacious seating to gourmet meals and personal concierge service, travelers are treated to luxury in the skies.
  • Attainability: Once perceived as a luxury only for the elite, semi-private flying is becoming increasingly accessible to a broader audience, bridging the gap between commercial and private aviation.

The growth of semi-private flying isn’t just based on anecdotal evidence: according to a report by WingX, there was a 130% increase in semi-private jet flights in 2022 compared to 2021. Surveys by the National Business Aviation Association and Embraer further underscore the trend, with a significant portion of respondents and new jet owners considering flying privately post-pandemic.

Several semi-private flying companies have taken the lead in catering to this growing demand:

  • JSX offers hop-on jet service between select U.S. cities, operating 30-seat Embraer ERJ135 jets.
  • Aero provides scheduled semi-private jet flights spanning the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
  • Bladeone, a service by Blade, connects New York’s Westchester with destinations like Miami and Palm Beach.
  • Set Jet’s destinations include Aspen, Cabo San Lucas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Scottsdale.
  • Tradewind Aviation offers flights to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.
  • Surf Air also offers unique models and routes, further enriching the options available to travelers.

The ascent of semi-private flying isn’t merely a temporary response to the pandemic. Its blend of convenience, luxury, safety, and flexibility positions it as a formidable contender in the future of air travel. As more travelers discover its benefits, the skies might just become a bit more exclusive.

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