Thursday, October 06, 2022

Private jets are going from being an ultra-rich indulgence to a rich man's cab-hailing service

Earlier this year, high net-worth individual (HNI) Anurag Maheshwari (name changed), 43, decided to return to his hometown Kolkata from New Delhi. After booking their stuff with a road freighter, the Maheshwaris decided to travel by air. But there was a catch. Regulations for the transport of their pet Alsatian on a commercial flight were cumbersome. To their horror, they realised that the family pet would have to travel in a kennel in the aircraft’s cramped cargo hold. It was then that Maheshwari decided to charter a private aircraft.

In another part of the country, Bengaluru-based businessman Aarush Dalavayi (name changed), 47, was worried about not being able to make it to a wedding in the family of a key client in Goa. By the time he would get free on the day of the wedding, all flights to Goa would have left. It was then that he hired a private jet to not just attend the event but also return in time for his engagements the next day.

So, it’s not just the Ambanis, Adanis or CEOs of MNCs who are living the high life, literally. Maheshwari and Dalavayi are among the new breed of passengers who are embracing charter flight services, which have traditionally been associated with the uber rich.

So, what do charter flights offer? Almost everything you can ask for, from a chauffeur-driven limousine to shuttle you to the airport to departing as per your requirements; no serpentine queues to greet you at the airport, and forget about the luggage limit. You can wander freely onboard, conduct a hen party, in-flight meetings, or celebrate any other special occasion, along with savouring many exotic dishes on the menu; everything is tailor-made per your taste!

The lavish bespoke menu includes exotic stuff such as Beluga caviar or Japanese sushi. For instance, while Club One Air has a sous chef to prepare delicacies, JetSetGo offers specialised meals after consulting with the passenger’s dietician. The latter also offers accessories from 100 thread-count Egyptian bedsheets and special Greek linen to personalised crockery, cushions and sleepwear. Moreover, the aircraft are put through a multi-stage sanitisation check for the passenger’s safety. The on-ground concierge also offers any assistance required by passengers in finding conveyance or hotel bookings.

From all your business needs to leisure requirements, charter services take care of everything with an extra layer of luxury. However, all these come at a cost. Unlike industrialists like Ratan Tata (Dassault Falcon 2000), Mukesh Ambani (Boeing Business Jet) and Adar Poonwalla (Airbus A320), it may not be feasible for many others to own or maintain a private jet. Especially when their prices range from $4.95 million to $170 million for aircraft like the Embraer Phenom 100 and the Boeing 767-33A ER, respectively.


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