Travel might become a little more private – and a lot more expensive – during the pandemic.
Due to the current COVID-19 health crisis, the air travel industry has seen a significant decline in interest for commercial flights amid public uneasiness concerning safety and well-being, as well as travel mandates that recommend against, or outright prohibit, visiting certain destinations.
According to new reports, however, private charter flights have actually seen an increase in business during the pandemic. The Robb Report, a publication that describes itself as a “manual of modern luxury,” reports that some charter companies have actually seen a rise in bookings of 25% this year. Many of these new customers are reportedly first-time private fliers.
For those that can afford it, private charter flights provide several benefits for the weary traveler – aside from the general luxury of a private jet.
“With check-in, security and access to bathrooms and food, there are about 700 touchpoints that travelers can be exposed to when traveling commercially," Ian Moore, the chief commercial officer at VistaJet, told the Robb Report. "Meanwhile, private aviation offers a seamless and effective private terminal process with only 20 touchpoints.”
Of course, not everyone can afford to charter a private flight. Costs are often 10 times higher (or more) than flying in first class, per an analysis reported in Skrift, a publication that covers global travel industry news.
Andrew Collins, CEO of private charter company FxAir, told the outlet, “A number of folks are coming over from commercial. They will pay the premium. They don’t trust commercial at this point, given the context of their lives and their health.”
Commercial air travel has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. On average, flights to each state in the U.S. saw a 50% decline in departures between July 2019 and July 2020, NJ.com reports.