Wheels Up offers pay-as-you-go jet card memberships on its fleet of King Air 350i, Citation Excel/XLS and Citation X

 

With its family memberships starting at $17,500 and then offering pay-as-you-go flying with fixed rates and guaranteed availability Wheels Up has long positioned itself as a leader in democratizing private air travel. 

 

To help show non-users of private flying how much time they can save, the company recently launched an e-mail promotion to prospects comparing commercial flight time and drive time to how long the same trip would take on a King Air 350i, a twin-engine turboprop that seats eight.

 

Among the examples, Wheels Up says its King Air can get you from New York City to Nantucket in one hour, compared to three hours and 15 minutes flying commercial or seven hours and 15 minutes driving. The commercial flight times include wasted time at the airport, including 90 minutes before departure and 30 minutes at the end waiting for baggage, which can often be more, and doesn’t take into account the time you have to wait to get your car or find your driver in congested airports like JFK, La Guardia and Newark.

 

From Chicago to Indianapolis, Wheels Up suggests a three and a half hour drive time versus three hours flying commercially and just one hour via a King Air 350i. Between Phoenix and Los Angeles, a one-and-a-half hour flight time becomes nearly four hours flying commercially or five and a half hours driving. Between Seattle and Portland, Wheels Up shaves two hours off the drive and commercial fly and sit around the airport time of three hours.

Wheels Up King Air 350i travel time

Family membership allows you and three alternate lead passengers – meaning you don’t have to be aboard and since Wheels Up owns its aircraft, it offers pet-friendly policies and guaranteed WiFi. What Wheels Up comparison doesn’t take into account is the ability to use more convenient airports, for example for a Los Angeles to Phoenix trip if you live in the Valley and are going to a luxury resort like The Phoenician, you can fly from Van Nuys to Scottsdale’s private airport. The same holds true in major markets such as New York and Chicago where many private flights use alternate, less crowded airports, so you will less likely spend time on the ground waiting to take off and you won’t have to wait for your gate when you land.

 

Wheels Up Pricing

 

Wheels Up offers fixed one-way rates for the King Air 350i at $4,495 per hour, plus 7.5% Federal Excise Taxi, with the Citation Excel/XLS at $7,495 plus FET. It has yet to release hourly rates for its Citation X fleet.

 

In fact, when you fly privately you designate the airports you want to use, so if you are in northern New Jersey, you have a multitude of airports, including Morristown, Trenton and Teterboro avoiding Newark. Same in the Valley of the Sun, which has several alternate airports that can take you a half hour closer to where you are going compared to Sky Harbor Airport. Private Jet Card Comparisons allows paid subscribers to compare Wheels Up offers with over 250 jet card programs in easy to use spreadsheets.

About the Author Doug Gollan

I am Founder and Editor of Private Jet Card Comparisons, the only independent buyer's guide to jet card membership programs, and DG Amazing Experiences, a weekly luxury travel e-newsletter for private jet owners. I am also a contributor to Forbes.com