Thought it may sound glamorous, most frequent fliers -- even those who tend to fly business or first class -- never consider a private jet for their trip. WannaJet, a new company founded by Parisian Philippe Bo (above), is aiming to change that.
The former CFO and Vice President of Finance at GE had been shuttled all over the world on commercial airlines. With the knowledge that a huge portion of private jets sit on the ground, unused, he had an idea to bring the convenience and comfort of private flying to an entirely new demographic by creating a sharing service with no membership fee and never more than six passengers per plane. The prices can be as low as a first class ticket: a private jet from New York to Boston starts at just $446.
Here's how it works: WannaJet doesn't own any aircrafts, but arranges charters on a by-request basis. You may be flying with strangers, but you'll have an empty seat next to you (as well as a luxe plane and no commercial airport hassles), and you won't be bearing the full brunt of the cost for things like fuel, maintenance and other fees which prevent most of the population from being able to fly privately. If you want to fly from New York to Boston on a particular day, you start by checking whether or not they already have a partially-filled plane going. If they don't, you can request a new plane. You will be told your price before you book (unlike with other per-seat charter companies). The price model is built for four to six passengers. If only three people have booked tickets 72 hours before the flight is scheduled to depart, they will be offered the chance to pay 30 percent more each, or the flight will be canceled -- and WannaJet will book you on a commercial flight of equal value at no charge. You also earn frequent flier minutes (not miles) on WannaJet flights, which can be used toward future WannaJet travel. Sounds fair!
WannaJet launched in the USA on June 9, 2010 with a presentation and cocktail fete held appropriately at New York's Intrepid Museum. We interviewed Mr. Bo at the party about how the service works and the charities WannaJet will be supporting.
Luxist: A private jet from New York to Boston for $446 seems just unbelievable. How are you able to offer such low prices?
Phillipe Bo: It's because you can divide the price of the jet by four or five passengers. If you divide it by four or five -- and provided that you book a return flight, because you get a 20 percent discount -- you get a revenue that is basically around $4,000 - $5,000.