JetSuite SuiteDeal: Private Jet (Phenom 100) SJC-VNY

Topping my best flight experience in Etihad Suite Class last year, I decided to fly private for the 1st time in my life. I’ve been tracking JetSuite’s SuiteDeal offerings since June of 2014 trying to gain a better understanding of the routes JetSuite repositions their planes for paying customers. A SuiteDeal is when you book an entire private jet for a fraction of what it would cost normally as they are repositioning it. Within the West Coast of the US most flights are $536.43 and are operated by their 4 passenger jets. Keep in mind these are one-way flights and are only posted less than 24 hours prior to the flight making it very difficult for the average person to take advantage of for their next trip. Everything must fall into place to make it work. Recently, the opportunity came about and I decided to give it a try!

How to make a SuiteDeal work:

  1. Signup for email notifications of SuiteDeal’s (https://www.jetsuite.com/suitedeal)
  2. Luck out with a route/date/time that works with your busy schedule
  3. Coordinate trip details prior to booking the SuiteDeal (passenger names, car rental, hotel, return flight, etc.)
  4. Book the SuiteDeal
  5. Be available on the day of departure at a moments notice of a flight time/route change
  6. Understand private aviation lingo (ex. FBO)

 

The flight was amazing and a unique experience! I never thought I’d ever fly private due to the cost but that day came in January 2015. Instead of paying $5,140.94 for the flight I was able to snag it for $536.43 (~90% off). The Phenom 100 is a small twin-jet plane so you will feel the turbulence more so than a larger jet and you can’t be afraid of flying if you want to do this. I was so excited I could barely sleep the night before. Packing with no notice was also a challenge but being well traveled I knew I could pull it off. This was the hardest trip I’ve ever coordinated due to so many unknowns. I’d never flown private before so I didn’t know what to expect. Arriving to the private jet terminal only needs to be ~15min prior to takeoff which was a surprise. Landing and having a rental car show up next to the jet was surreal. I didn’t even know where to drive off the tarmac until a gate magically opened up in front of me which dropped me into the neighborhood next to VNY. I highly recommend booking a rental car with the FBO to get this experience. During the flight, I barely took advantage of the self serve mini bar and snacks. The copilot did mention prior to takeoff that they had a cooler of beer and a full mini bar available at no charge. I settled for Fiji water and cookies during the flight so I could take in the entire experience. If this flight was headed to Vegas with 3 of my friends I’m sure we would empty it all prior to landing. They do include free WiFi inflight provided by GoGo. The speeds were slower than other commercial flight GoGo connections I’ve used but it was sufficient for iMessage and email. FaceTime and FaceTime Audio didn’t work due to low bandwidth and high latency. In all, the pilots were awesome and I wish I was on the plane for longer than 53 minutes but it’s a life experience I’ll never forget!

 

Playbook of my Experience:

Thursday (day prior to flight):

  • 7:57PM- Email notification from JetSuite regarding a SuiteDeal from SJC (San Jose, CA) – VNY (Van Nuys, CA)
  • 8:13PM- Determined the departure time range which was 3:30PM-3:30PM so no choice other than 3:30PM
  • 8:14PM- Texted friends to see if 3 others wanted to join as it was a 4 passenger jet (Phenom 100) but everyone was busy or had prior commitments
  • 9:01PM- Confirmed with family member in Los Angeles of trip details
  • 9:11PM- Booked return flight LAX-SFO for $82 on Virgin America
  • 9:42PM- Booked a rental car from VNY FBO and drop off at LAX  with National Rental Car (https://www.nationalcar.com/hotDealsTemplate.do?msg=ga-step1)
  • 9:44PM- Booked SuiteDeal for $536.43 (includes all fees) and received email confirmation with FBO addresses

Friday (day of flight):

  • 11:18AM- Confirmed with JetSuite when I should arrive to SJC which the representative mentioned 15min prior to takeoff but the pilots would arrive 1hr prior
  • 12:26PM- JetSuite Representative calls and states due to a mechanical issue with a plane in VNY they need to push the departure earlier to 1:45PM
  • 12:28PM- I confirm I can make it if I can leave my car at the SJC FBO lot and the representative confirmed it wouldn’t be a problem but to let the FBO know
  • 12:30PM- Leave Palo Alto and drive to SJC FBO (Atlantic Aviation, 1250 Aviation Ave, San Jose, CA 95110)
  • 1:00PM- Arrived Atlantic Aviation SJC
  • 1:05PM- Checked in and told to wait until they were ready
  • 1:30PM- Informed the departure was pushed to 2PM
  • 1:48PM- Jet is being fueled
  • 1:55PM- Boarded jet
  • 2:06PM- Takeoff from SJC
  • 2:35PM- Copilot radios my ground transportation arrangements to VNY FBO (Castle & Cooke Aviation, 7614 Hayvenhurst Place, Van Nuys, CA 91406) to arrange for my car rental to be at the plane when we arrive
  • 2:59PM- Land at VNY
  • 3:05PM- Rental car (Buick Enclave) delivered to jet on tarmac (this is real but I forgot to snap a pic!)
  • 3:06PM- Drive to Malibu, CA to hangout at the beach

 

 

Lingo:

  • FBO- Fixed-based Operator
  • “Ground Transportation Arrangements”- Getting from the plane to your destination
  • Bird- Plane
  • Repositioning- An empty leg, also known as an empty sector, is the return portion of a booked one-way private charter flight. The aircraft needs to fly empty to reposition itself for its next customer, or to return to its home base. This is similar to how a taxi would need to return to a “home” location after dropping off a customer to their destination.

 

Who wants to join me on the next JetSuite SuiteDeal?

 

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4 Responses

  1. Shirley says:

    I’m waiting

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