As a journalist I am able to do some fantastical things; things I would never dream of being able to afford, especially on a piddly journo wage. One of those things is to fly on a private jet. When JetSmarter contacted me earlier in the year to see if I wanted to try out their new membership package this summer, I replied: “ohgmygod, ohmygod, a thousand times YES.” Playing it cool, as always.
To fly private jet… I mean, I was now like the Kardashians, I was like Puff Daddy, I was like MARIAH CAREY. A once in a lifetime experience, never to be repeated, one to tell the grandkids etc etc. Well, it seems I may have jumped the gun because I did some sums and with this new membership deal they’ve just launched I reckon I could actually afford to fly private on the regular.
The people behind the JetSmarter app describe themselves as being the Uber of the skies. I say it’s actually more like Uber Pool of the skies because you will have to share the Jet with strangers, but I found that to be one of the most fun parts of the whole experience (more on that later).
The new ‘cheap’ membership they wanted me to try is the Simple Membership deal, which basically means that members can have ‘all-you-can-fly’ privileges on flights from London to a range of destinations including Milan, Paris, Geneva (aimed at business types) and Ibiza, Malaga and Nice (for holiday types). Members can also book free seats on other last-minute flights that aren’t fully booked. Annual membership costs $5000. That’s £3877. For unlimited flights on a private jet. Is it just me, or does that actually sound kinda reasonable?
I did some quick, pretty sketchy maths, and worked out, to my horror, that I spend roughly £1000 on Starbucks every year, £1500 on cheap bottles of supermarket wine each year, at least, and then there’s my unused gym membership and the ‘occasional’ packets of cigarettes at £11 a pop. I waste my money on all kinds of crap - maybe this year I’ll waste it on private jets. I’ve given up on ever being able to buy a house so why not have a little fun?
Here are 5 reasons why, I reckon, if you can stretch to just under £4000 a year, you should seriously consider giving JetSmarter a go.
1. The people are like something out of Riviera
I found my fellow passengers one of the most entertaining parts of the whole PJ experience. There was the businesswoman who had used the jet to fly to and from the UK in one day just to vote in the General Election, a chap was flying into Nice especially for a party and a guy called Toby, who introduced himself to every single person on the plane and had restaurant recommendations aplenty. You’re flying private, so it goes without saying that you’ll be travelling with some of the most successful, richest people in the world. In my case, I found them to be some of the most interesting, too.
2. Free booze
A holiday starts at the airport, right? And the Signature Lounge at Luton airport has comfy chairs, a great view of the runway and a complimentary bar fully stocked with all your heart could desire. Me? I made a beeline for the mini Moets. Once on the flight, the free booze keeps on flowing.
3. No queues blues
That mad rush to get to the airport two hours before a flight? The energy-sapping security queues? The panic when you realise you’ve not separated out your 100ml liquids into the impossibly small plastic sandwich bags? There’s none of that. If you want you could arrive 15 minutes before your flight. I didn’t, there was a free bar to be used and abused.
4. Flexible flying, sort of...
That said, as I made my way back to Nice for my return flight to London, my hire car broke down on the motorway an hour away from the airport. In normal circumstances that would have meant game over: flight missed. But because I was flying privately, I made a call to JetSmarter head office, warned them I was going to be cutting it fine. Now, they can’t hold a flight for you because they’d miss the landing slot at the destination airport and, you know, there’s other paying customers to think of, but what they can - and did do for me - is be waiting for you at the door, grab your bags and check your passport as they’re escorting you to the jet. I made my flight with 5 minutes to spare.
5. Pilot perving goals
I’m not sure being personally greeted by the pilot and being able to see the pilot flying the plane would ever get old for me. For anyone with an interest in aviation - or a thing for men in uniform - it’s worth the $5000 membership fee alone.
6. Instagram bait
Why do we bother doing anything these days? For the Insta material, obvs. You’ll get Stories content for days. I have never felt so smug and simultaneously so loathed by my followers. On a PJ you can’t help but totally be #livingyourbestlife.
Find more info at JetSmarter.com.