Jet-to-yacht charters are what oysters are to champagne; a perfect partnership. The Rolls Royce modes of transport for traversing the sea and skies, they provide cocoons of privacy and comfort. Yet using private aviation to reach yacht charters is something of a recent phenomenon: interest has spiked dramatically during the pandemic among HNWI travelers, and it looks set to stay.
These charter packages offer a curated, white-glove service from the moment guests step out their front door to reach their floating palace. You select who you fly with and guests are tested pre-departure, with crew and drivers all health screened and ever-increasingly, fully vaccinated. Rigorous deep cleaning also takes place for each individual leg of the journey. Offering unrivaled privacy and efficiency, it's estimated that there are just 40 touchpoints compared to the 500 that the average traveler encounters flying commercial, according to private jet broker SHY Aviation.
It makes a significant impact. "The ability to avoid crowds and remove the friction by not having to deal with the usual big airport rigmarole and often rigorous hotel safety protocols, is highly appealing, as is the privacy this type of travel provides," says Tom Marchant, co-founder of Black Tomato.
It's estimated that there are just 40 touchpoints with private jet travel compared to the 500 that the average traveler encounters flying commercial, according to private jet broker SHY Aviation
"Other benefits include being able to save time – arriving just 15 minutes before your flight departs and flying directly to your yacht on the schedule that works best for you, avoiding lengthy drives and inconvenient flight times, is extremely valuable. Plus avoiding the long customs and immigration delays experienced at major airports like Heathrow" added Marchant.
Guests are chauffeured to a private jet terminal and benefit from a discreet check-in process. Warmly greeted by the pilot and cabin crew, guests can then quaff Moet and canapés onboard whilst sinking into a leather recliner, legroom aplenty, and fly far away from the commotion of commercial airports. And of course, every possible whim is catered to.
Boasting plush staterooms and showers for ample rest and refreshment, many private jet charters also feature board tables, media rooms, and easily accessible baggage compartments to ensure a seamless journey from jet to vessel.
Jet-to-yacht packages can take you anywhere your heart desires: from classic Mediterranean milk-run destinations to far-flung idylls where you'll barely see another soul
As for the location of your paradisical escape? Anywhere your heart desires: from classic Mediterranean milk-run destinations to far-flung idylls where you'll barely see another soul. Travel agencies like &BEYOND offer bespoke jet-to-yacht experiences to remote isles like the Galápagos: a veritable mecca for wildlife, where you could glimpse giant tortoises and sea lions all from your sundeck Jacuzzi on any given morning. Elsewhere, global jet marketplace Victor has teamed up with Burgess to offers jet-to-yacht packages from London and New York straight to the tropical heartlands of the Bahamas, and for those seeking to use their yacht as a launchpad for adventure, there's even the option of the Arctic.
Pandemic demand saw the private aviation sector alone grew from 200,000 users at any given point to more than 2 million in 2020 (McKinsey), blossoming into a number of jet-to-yacht partnerships between brokers. For example, industry heavyweight VistaJet saw a 320% increase in new memberships compared to July 2019, which led to a new jet-to-yacht service with Campers and Nicholson in May 2020. A month later, yacht broker IYC announced an end-to-end service with Magellan Jets.
"Clients who typically would fly commercial commercially to meet their yacht, are now taking full advantage of the safety that both a private jet and a yacht charter can bring. " said Niko Contardi, CEO of luxury travel brokerage EliteLyfe, who has seen interest in jet-to-yacht travel skyrocket.
Global jet charter marketplace Victor experienced a similar trajectory. "When we launched the partnership with yacht charter broker Burgess earlier this year (March 2021) in anticipation of a busy summer season, our jet charter bookings were already up 200% year-on-year and many clients were forward-planning their yacht charter too in the hope that restrictions would begin lifting for summer," said co-CEO Toby Edwards.
Whilst for jet broker SHY Aviation, interest has continued to increase, said its representative Chantelle Browne: "our new flyer requests have almost doubled since May last year and our existing clients are facilitating private travel as their only means of travel moving forward.
"The pandemic has driven up demand for private travel amongst the HNWI, for both business and leisure, when restrictions allow as a reliable, flexible and safe mobility tool. This has been noticeable in the jet and yacht charter industries thanks to the COVID-safe seclusion they offer, allowing friends and family to holiday with minimal contact with others." noted Victor’s Toby Edwards.
Safety twinned with unparalleled convenience is another factor leading people to consider private aviation charters. "Guests are scared of getting Covid at a certain age" affirms Irina Duisimbekova, founder of private aviation company Aerojet ME, "and it can bring you to the closest point you need to go, there are many more private airports than commercial, and this is one of the biggest advantages."
"Once you fly on a private jet and immediately take either a helicopter or luxury transfer to your yacht, you will never again go back to flying commercial" - Niko Contardi, CEO of EliteLyfe
Among the companies offering jet-to-yacht packages we spoke to, there was a strong conviction that this way of travelling is to remain popular in the coming months. But why? The taste for private aviation one develops was frequently mentioned. as a reason. "Once you start to use it, you won't stop" said Duisimbekova from Aerojet ME. Niko Contardi CEO of luxury travel brokerage EliteLyfe affirmed similar "once you fly on a private jet and immediately take either a helicopter or luxury transfer to your yacht, you will never again go back to flying commercial. Nothing compares to the safety, luxury, and convenience that this combination offers." It's equally about a change in mindset among HNWI clientele, with many completely reassessing what truly matters, Contardi added.
It's a sentiment echoed by Black Tomato's Tom Marchant "one silver lining of the world coming to a standstill during the pandemic is that many people have taken the time to positively reset and assess their priorities and there’s an overwhelming sense of determination to truly make travel count. We’ve witnessed this manifest by clients seeking remote destinations with opportunities to relish silence and to maximize their travel time with memorable experiences and epic moments becoming an integral part of their journey, as well as their time away."
Chief Marketing Officer Nicole Robinson from luxury experiential travel company &BEYOND also spoke of this shift in mentality "we believe that travelers are turning to exploring and interpreting nature and looking for more meaningful, purposeful travel experiences. Our vision of luxury has always been aligned with one of transformational travel."
Private jets can be more accessible than you think. Empty-leg flights— private flights with pre-defined departures and destinations — can often be considerably less expensive.
We asked jet companies the main aspects they would highlight to yacht charterers debating flying privately for the first time. Accessibility was pointed out by the majority of jet brokers we spoke to. "It is an old age phenomenon to believe it is only celebrities and royalty can fly private. At SHY it is our goal to demystify the industry and open up a new channel of accessibly for private travelers" emphasized Chantelle Browne from SHY Aviation.
This is particularly pertinent to empty-leg flights— private flights with pre-defined departures and destinations — which can be considerably less expensive. For example, when we spoke to Irina Duisimbekova from Aerojet ME, she had at the time a Paris to Geneva flight that costed only 590 euros for four seats.
And finally, as with a yacht charter, another important factor to consider is cancellation fees "you have to be careful" warned Duisimbekova "as if you cancel at the last moment, that means you will have to pay 100% upfront".
For guests looking to book a jet-to-yacht charter this year, we strongly advise that you consult your chosen yacht charter broker as soon as possible. Availability this season is especially limited, due to many outstanding bookings from 2020 being rolled over to 2021, so acting quickly should be your top priority.
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