India has about 200 functional airstrips, but less than 100 of them are used by commercial airlines. So, who’s landing and taking off from these obscure airstrips. Not so long ago, the last mile usually referred to a fairly long last leg of a holiday or a business trip where hours of road travel was often in the mix. Not anymore, a combination of tight timelines and the quest for far-flung destinations are fuelling the demand for private jet travel.
If you thought private jet travel was only for heads of state and corporate honchos, think again. It’s not just owners of private jets who travel in them, leisure and business travellers are taking advantage of a growing number of options that private jet operators are putting into the mix. Of course, if you don’t mind splurging you might even be able to snag a jet with 24-carat gold seat buckles and suede ceilings like the one Donald Trump owns.
It’s not just the decadent luxury of the cosy private jet cabins that’s driving the demand. It could be the convenience of avoiding waiting times at airports – even the first-class lounge has its limitations. Airlines might offer menus curated by master chefs in their first-class cabins but that’s not good enough to impress some fliers. It’s a spirit of adventure and the allure of unexplored destinations that make private jets an attractive option. Many travellers don’t want to risk an unknown local airline for a wildlife adventure or a trip to a tropical beach paradise. And then, there’s the flexibility that private jets offer. You can travel on a whim or alter holiday plans if you don’t like the view. But nothing beats the sheer luxury of being away from it all in your private cabin and private jets have amped up the luxury quotient.
Versace and Armani have offered design services to augment private jets. NetJets, a private jet operator operates a Signature Series with Keurig Coffee makers and top-notch in-flight coffeemakers while VistaJet features Christofle tableware and catering by Nobu on a few sectors.
Ready for a private jet holiday? You can choose from:
Taj’s Palace trail: The Rambagh Palace, Lake Palace in Udaipur and the Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad are all in the mix in this seamless luxury experience that sees the Taj Hotels and Resorts team up with Taj Air. (www.tajair.com)
JetSetGo to Kashmir: JetSetGo offers a bespoke heli-skiing experience, transporting you in a private jet and then on a helicopter to a landing zone on the mountain. You also have the option of staying back at one of Kashmir’s luxury resorts if you can extend your stay. (www.jetsetgo.in)
Four Seasons Timeless Encounters: you don’t need 80 days to see the Four Seasons World; 24 will do just fine. This package will set you back by close to 01.95 crore, but take you to corners of the world that include Tahiti, Prague, Hawaii and Dubai. (www.privatejet.fourseasons.com)