Coronavirus travel ban prevents ultra-wealthy from leaving on private jets

Some are offering upward of $150,000 to secure a spot

The world’s ultra-rich looking to escape coronavirus hot spots are being turned away from private jet companies despite offering vast sums of money to secure a seat.

Recently, requests for international flights on private jets have skyrocketed, with some clients offering upward of $150,000 in hopes of claiming a spot, BNN Bloomberg reported.

Some private jet companies are being forced to turn away clients due to the travel restrictions imposed by governments to try to contain the spread of the virus, which has taken a foothold in countries around the world.

Despite the surge in bookings, the private jet industry is also affected by the same travel restrictions as major airlines.


JetSetGo, an India-based private jet concierge service, told FOX Business it has seen an increase in queries from people looking to evacuate from their current location and head home.

"We have fulfilled about 78 percent of the queries that we have received and the balance we were not able to accommodate due to certain bans and regulations by certain countries," a spokesperson for JetSetGo said in an emailed statement Wednesday. "We also had to turn down requests for some passengers due to transit not being permitted in certain cases."

The company evaluates each request as it comes in to see if it's able to accommodate the customer due to the increasing restrictions, Kanika Tekriwal, founder of New Delhi-based JetSetGo told FOX Business.

"Every day we are waking up to a new regulation and it's beyond anyone's control," Tekriwal said. "We are all just trying to do our best."

The company said it also had to cancel a request this week for a passenger, reportedly a mogul from India, who wanted to travel to India from Europe.

However, due to a travel suspension in a stopover country, the tycoon is now stranded in the United Kingdom, BNN Bloomberg reported. The suspension reportedly came just a half an hour before the plane was scheduled to depart.

India banned flights from Europe and the U.K. and even extended the ban to include Indian passport holders in the U.K., Turkey and throughout all of Europe till the end of March, the Economic Times reported. The restriction is slated to take effect Wednesday.

These travel restrictions could push most of the world’s airlines into bankruptcy by the end of May, according to predictions by CAPA Centre for Aviation.

Despite the recent uptick in demand, however, the company is seeing a decline in travel over the course of the month with 87 percent of planned flights, mostly for tourism, being canceled, Tekriwal said.

Likewise, Rajan Mehra, who runs Club One Air, told the outlet that the business aviation company, which oversees a fleet of 10 planes, has seen travel decline as much as 70 percent, according to BNN Bloomberg.

“Tourism is practically frozen for the time being and corporates are not traveling at all unless they have to," Mehra told the outlet.

Despite this, the company shared on Twitter that it was still working to get clients to their intended destinations.

Club Air One did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.


By contrast, Wheels Up, an aviation company that primarily serves members in the United States, told FOX Business the company is confident it is able to accommodate the uptick in demand.

"Our Wheels Up team continues to deliver the same trusted flight experience for our members, during this time and always," a Wheels Up spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "We are prepared and have the capacity to service the uptick in demand we are seeing from our individual and corporate members.”

The global outbreak of COVID-19, now deemed a pandemic, has inflected more than 185,000 people worldwide and killed more than 7,300, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.


This story has been updated to include comments from JetSetGo.