This Semi-private Airline Flies From U.S. Cities to Resort Destinations — and Passengers Never Have to Set Foot in a Commercial Airport
It's like a 16-passenger lounge that flies — and ticket prices start at $1,000.
Are we living in the golden age of air travel? Well, maybe not if you’re flying commercial. But if you can spring for private flights (or something close to it), you may be singing an entirely different tune. In the world of shared private-jet travel, where you book a number of seats on a private-jet carrier instead of having to charter an entire plane (though you can do that, too), it couldn’t be a more exciting time. It seems like there’s a new company popping up in that space every few months — chauffeuring discerning travelers to sought-after resort towns like Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Aspen, Colorado; and Los Cabos, Mexico, without having to set foot in a commercial airport terminal.
One of the most talked about new players in the game is Aero. Serving key holiday destinations in the United States, the U.K., and Europe; Aero can be a shared-jet experience (via the 16-seat ERJ135 jet) or a fully private charter on the 13-passenger Legacy 600 — glamorously flitting between private terminals. But during a time when competition in the “semi-private” air travel space is exceptionally tight, how does Aero stack up? Find out below.
Where does Aero fly?
When Aero first launched in 2019, it actually started its service in Europe, flying party people between Mykonos, Greece, and Ibiza, Spain, all summer. That route isn’t available right now, but Aero does connect Los Angeles to Los Cabos, Aspen, and Sun Valley, Idaho; San Francisco to Los Cabos; and London to Geneva, Ibiza, and Nice, France. Starting in April 2023, a new service from Dallas will connect Texas to Aspen and Los Cabos. These are, of course, all in and out of private terminals so you don’t have to deal with the chaos of a commercial airport.
What are the planes like?
It might be difficult to find a more stylish semi-private carrier flying right now. Aero redesigned the ERJ135 into something that resembles a 16-seat lounge that flies. We’re talking about a sleek all-black aircraft whose interiors are outfitted with hand-stitched Italian leather seats, suede side walls, and mood lighting to reinforce the fantasy that this is no ordinary airplane. Also, window and aisle access at every seat, generous legroom, a 43-inch seat pitch, and roomy luggage storage make your trip all too comfortable.
The Legacy 600, which Aero prefers to reserve for fully chartered bookings, has a different configuration: It’s assembled like a typical private jet with four-seat pods facing each other. The ERJ135 has all 16 seats facing forward.
Aero tries to deliver a first-class experience from the moment you step into the private terminal, taking your luggage and whisking you to their stylish lounge for a glass of the bubbly of your choice — maybe Veuve or some sparkling water? The flights are locally catered, too, which means depending on where you’re flying to or from, the snack-and-drink menu is created in partnership with a food purveyor from that destination. Flights through Los Angeles get Erewhon popcorn and green juices, for instance. And for beverages, expect to sip Aspen Brewing Company beers and On the Rocks ready-to-drink cocktails (from Dallas). Even your pets — yeah, they can travel on Aero — get snacks.
Aero has an entire concierge team to help guests with logistics like transfers to-and-from the terminal, but also with the onboard experience if you have a special request regarding which snacks you want to enjoy in-flight. But the concierge is also armed with a discretionary budget to extend random acts of kindness to passengers. Apparently, the team, upon overhearing a guest mention that she was on her way to Nice for a friend’s birthday, delivered a box of birthday cupcakes to her upon arrival in France. And that’s just one example of how a concierge is empowered to create special moments for passengers, so don’t be shy about slyly mentioning things about yourself in case that might inspire a surprise treat.
What does it cost to fly Aero?
On average, in North America, a one-way ticket for one seat will set you back $1,800, but depending on what promotions might be running, tickets can be purchased for as low as $1,000. At publish time, introductory prices for the launch of the Dallas service are starting at $1,000 a pop. In Europe and the U.K., prices are similar but quoted in British pounds: fares start at £1,050.
What else do we need to know about Aero?
In Aero’s flagship terminal in Van Nuys, California, the lounge is a its own branded space. In other terminals, however, the lounge is a shared space. Oh, and Aero takes customer feedback seriously, especially when it comes to potential destinations. The brand regularly announces temporary pop-up routes depending on demand from guests. For instance, a London to Malaga, Spain, connection ran for a few weekends recently. And there was once a San Francisco-Sun Valley connection.
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