How They Crossed the Atlantic and Toured Elite Universities in Two Days for Less Than $10k. The Air Travel “Loophole” They’re Using to Visit the Best U.S. Colleges by Jet for Thousands Less
Reprinted with Permission: By Guy Giguere, Luxury Travel Correspondent, The Privileged Traveler
(Middlebury, VT) Even when money’s no object, private jet travel has its limitations. But in the process of touring the most prestigious colleges of the northwestern U.S., elite overseas families have stumbled upon an incredible alternative that’s faster, more convenient, and saves heaps of cash compared to private jet travel.
Here’s how Alex and Lillian Bouchard’s college tour trip for their two twin daughters helped them uncover something that saved over 15 hours of ground time and tens of thousands of dollars, while letting them land directly at any airport, even if that “airport” was nothing more than a big, flat patch of grass.
One of the biggest problems with private air travel is the plane itself. Small jets like the Hawker 400XP are great, but they’re far from hassle-free. You’ll end up footing the bill for fuel, deadheads (basically giving crew members and pilots a free flight), landing fees, daily minimums and a whole laundry list of other things. Plus, you’ll find there are still plenty of places those planes simply can’t go.
That’s why the Bouchards were elated to discover a way to avoid those problems altogether: flying “on-demand” with the Swiss-built Pilatus PC-12, a simple “loophole” to private jet travel that makes all the difference.
For years, renting a standard light jet or buying a fractional share in one have been the only ways for overseas families like the Bouchards to quickly and efficiently escort their children on tours of America’s best colleges. And every year, folks like this will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But now FLITE Air Taxi is taking a trick from the playbook of today’s most successful “sharing economy” companies like, and it’s making traditional private jet companies nervous.
It’s like UberX for private flights – that is if every Uber driver had a Cadillac Escalade that flew at 30,000 feet with a cruising speed of 322 mph. Trust us, this is a far cry from any “propeller-plane” you’ve seen before.
Using an on-demand model in conjunction with an ultra-modern turboprop aircraft, FLITE Air Taxi prevents virtually all the problems that riddle traditional private air travel.
“I was shocked when I realized how many people don’t know about this,” Alex Bouchard says. “Everyone thinks turboprops are nothing more than puddle-jumpers, but this felt every bit as ‘jet-like’ as anything I’ve flown. You’ll be an instant believer once you leave the tarmac.”
Pay $20k+ to Hear “Sorry, we can’t land there”?
Setting the cost aside, if you’re interested in private air travel, chances are you want to touch down as close to your destination as possible, regardless of how small the landing strip is. What’s the point in spending all that money if you still have to switch planes or waste time driving the final leg of your trip?
Standard light jets are fast, but they can still only get you into airports with a 5,000 foot runway. So when you step into the cabin, your world instantly shrinks from over 6,500 runways in the United States to 2,400.
For the Bouchards, that simply wasn’t an option. And if they’d gone the standard light jet route, they would’ve missed the hidden gem of a school that made their whole trip worthwhile.
“In a regular jet, it would’ve been impossible to fly directly into the tiny airport at Middlebury,” Bouchard says. “Getting there would have meant who knows how long coming in by car. What ended up being our favorite campus wouldn’t have even been on our radar.”
Making the Bouchard’s trip six college tour in a standard jet would’ve set them back over $25,000, not to mention the fact they would’ve been forced to play musical chairs jumping from plane to plane (or plane to car) and waste hours of precious time.
Instead, they flew into JFK from Zurich, then took a Pilatus PC-12 to see six top-level campuses in the northwest U.S. over just two days.
“Ultimately, we ended up spending nearly half as much for an undoubtedly superior experience,” Bouchard said.
See Why So Many Are Flocking to On-Demand Air Taxi
By delivering the same flight quality as standard light jets, while being both more flexible and cost-effective, this development in private air travel is poised to change the industry forever. When word starts to spread, the private jet industry as we know it could cease to exist.
If you’re interested in flying like the world’s savvy elite, visit FLITE Air Taxi to learn more.