The best affordable private and semi-private airlines
Ideal for luxury: Wheels Up
Book a flight with Wheels Up
Wheels Up allows travelers to book private charter flights at an all-inclusive hourly rate. Founded in 2013 and listed on the stock exchange since July 2021, Wheels Up is one of the major players in private aviation, having acquired many others along the way.
Originally a members-only model, the company now allows anyone to reserve available seats on demand using the app. There are 1,500 planes in the fleet, including the King Air 350i (an eight-seat propeller jet), the Cessna Citation Excel / XLS in the medium category (with a range of four hours), and the ultra-fast and high-flying Cessna Citation X, with a chic large cabin. It can fly more than six hours nonstop.
I was able to try two of them on a company sponsored trip from Los Angeles to Napa. With seven to 10 seats on each plane (versus, say, 30 for JSX or up to 19 on Set Jet), Wheels Up offers a true elite private jet experience. When I piloted the Citation X, the cabin had eight luxurious leather seats and even a chic leather-covered toilet. Snacks and drinks were available to order in a small lounge, and the ride was smooth, calm and peaceful.
Wheels Up members also enjoy benefits at Wine Access, Waldorf Astoria hotels; paid shuttle service from Westchester to Nantucket via the Nantucket shuttle service; AmEx membership discounts; and many other advantages and benefits.