Flying Private – Truly a NoMasCoach experience

It wouldn’t be a truly No Mas Coach experience if we weren’t able to share an experience that truly is not coach at all… flying private in Europe.

Jon and Ben, Private Jet Experience

Jon and Ben, Private Jet Experience

We headed to Paris this year for Christmas to see a good friend of ours. The plan originally was to stay for three days in Paris and then head down to Malaga, stay for a night, and drive the coast of Spain up and into Valencia for New Years 2016. As the dates approached, he let us know that he might have the option to fly in a private jet the day after Christmas, but we might have to adjust our schedules to Spain. As this would take hotel/flight/rental car changes, it was very touch-and-go for a day while we were awaiting confirmation.

Private Jet, Paris Airport-Le Bourget

Private Jet, Paris Airport-Le Bourget

December 26 (we are supposed to go to Spain tomorrow) we get a notification that a private plane has become available to fly from Paris to Vienna, leaving at 10am. If we decide to do this, we’ve got to change our Vueling flight, our Hilton confirmation, and also our Budget rent a car. Total cost for the private flight: $0. Total cost for cancellations and changes: $120. Private wins out – I mean, when are we going to get the chance to do this again? The phone calls commence and before you know it, we’re changing our entire Spain itinerary in order to go to Austria. Adventure, here we come!

We arrived at the Paris Le Bourget airport right on time for our flight out with GlobeAir. If you’ve never head of Le Bourget airport, don’t worry. Our taxi driver hadn’t either. “Are you sure it’s not Orly or De Gaulle?” Yes… we’re sure.

Private Jet Terminal

Private Jet Terminal

We rolled up to the airport, got out of the taxi, and cleared both security and check in counter in about 30 seconds.

“Are you Tim, Jon, and Ben?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you. Come this way.”

That was it. No pomp. No circumstance. No screaming TSA agents. No multiple passport and boarding pass checks. No luggage tags. Ahh, the small joys of flying private.

Unijet Waiting Area

Unijet Waiting Area

Unijet Waiting Area, Unique Bathroom

Unijet Waiting Area, Unique Bathroom

After about a short 20 minute delay because of fog in Vienna, we were walking off to the airplane to get boarded and off we went. Now, I’m a pretty tall guy, and this Cessna Mustang was obviously not meant for people like me. I’m 6-3 and I’d say most this cabin is about 4’ 6” high. So, once you’re in, you’re in. Oh, and make sure to use the bathroom on the ground because while yes, there is a bathroom, there is no privacy. Pilots and passengers alike will see you, smell you, hear you, and judge you. No door. No curtain. No filter. Ah, and I forgot to mention. Since no one in their right mind would use the bathroom except in case of extreme emergency, the toilet seat cover is closed and used as a ledge for the food and beverage crates.  Still no bidet onboard, however!

Cockpit View

Cockpit View

View out the window

View out the window

We were also offered a refreshing towel just before take off.

GlobeAir Refreshing Towel

GlobeAir Refreshing Towel

The views after take off were amazing, as we kept a fairly low altitude on departure out of the city.

Paris from above

Paris from above

Champagne? Yes please, let me open the box here on top of the toilet for you…

Getting the Champagne from the "Galley"

Getting the Champagne from the “Galley”

Wine was available, in the arm rest between seats in the back of the plane.

Armrest Wine

Armrest Wine

Since it was Christmas time, we also had a Panettone for snacks.

Christmas Celebration, GlobeAir

Christmas Celebration, GlobeAir

We could see other planes flying by, so we asked the pilot if he knew who those flights were. His response? “We’re up here flying with the big boys.”

Other planes flying by

Other planes flying by

The ride was quite smooth and relaxing, and we had a great time just chatting between the three of us. Champagne flowed, and flowed, and flowed. About 20 minutes outside of Vienna we could see the fog and it was intense. We had to do a short holding pattern in order to find enough visibility to land.

Vienna Fog from above

Vienna Fog from above

Once we landed, we could indeed see the big boys that he was talking about.

Emirates 777 and Turkish 737-800

Emirates 777 and Turkish 737

Emirates 777 and Turkish 737

Iran Air A330

Iran Air A320

Iran Air A330

Qatar Airways Executive Jet

Qatar Executive Jet

Qatar Executive Jet

The pilot got off the plane and took our luggage through security, passport control (which we passed with a simple waive and hello) for us and out to a waiting taxi. It was arguably the easiest and quickest experience we’ve ever experienced in our lives.

Do I expect to fly private again?  Sure!  But not anytime soon.  Normal prices can range anywhere from $1500 a seat for a short flight to upwards of $7500 for the entire plane.  We were fortunate enough to be able to take this flight, thanks to our awesome friend Tim.  So… maybe we go and visit him again? 🙂

Have you had the chance to fly private?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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1 Comment

  1. I’m surprised there was even security or a check-in counter. At many of the FBOs I’ve flown out of, you ring the pilot on their mobile as you’re getting close, drive up to the gate, then go park in the hangar where the plane was parked. By the time you arrive the pilot’s already pushed the plane out and gotten it prepped for flight.

    The big thing you missed out on was the freedom of flight. With general aviation, there are no schedules. The plane departs when you’re ready. Similar for return trips, especially same-day. Give the pilot a ring about 30-60 minutes before you’re ready to leave and as soon as you get to the airport, you’re departing. It’s this savings of time which makes general aviation valuable. Depending on circumstances, this could well make it cheaper than flying commercial. If I have 3 employees travelling to the same out-of-the-way location, general aviation can often come out cheaper due to not having 3 employees wasting time in TSA lines, getting to airports early, etc.

    Many FBOs also offer “courtesy cars”, thus your need for a rental car at your destination may be covered. Similar to the hassle-free experience of private flying, courtesy cars usually are hassle-free as well. As in, you ask at the counter, they’ll either flip you a set of keys or point to a car in the lot which has the keys already in the ignition. No paperwork, no nonsense.

    Also, don’t knock some of the propeller planes. I’ll take a King Air over some of the small jets any day. Much quieter, much less expensive, and just as plush.

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