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Thursday, July 18, 2024

The private aviation firm Wheels Up just launched a new membership tier, Wheels Up Connect. This new level provides access to shared flights and empty legs on the closed fleet of King Airs and Citation Excel/XLs’s. Connect members can also access the suite of lifestyle benefits available for all Wheels Up members.

The fees to join Wheels Up Connect are a one-time joining fee and first-year membership of $2,995. Then in subsequent years the cost is $2,495.

Connect membership includes:

The Charter Marketplace

The Charter Marketplace provides unlimited access to charter flight options on both the company’s own fleet of aircraft and their selection of vetted off-fleet planes. Members can use the App or the website to view real-time pricing options or to request a quote. Flights can then be booked instantly, and passengers can travel in comfort while avoiding the headaches of commercial airports and security lines. Two people at the same mailing address are permitted to book flights through Connect, but, as long as one registered member is traveling, they may bring along as many other people as they like (based on the size of the plane, of course). Wheels Up has over 1,000 safety vetted aircraft in the marketplace, including light, mid, super-mid and heavy private jets, and provides guaranteed recovery for flights booked through the marketplace.

Shared Flights & Empty Legs

Members will also receive unlimited access to shared flights, which can help to further reduce the cost of private air travel. Wheels Up Connect members cannot initiate a shared flight, but they can join existing ones set up by other Wheels Up members. Why pay for a full charter when you can share the expense with other Wheels Up members and make some new connections? There is no financial commitment until the details are all confirmed. Prices will vary based on the number of passengers on the flight, but members will pay 50% or less than the regular flight cost.

Hot Flights are a limited number of one-way, empty-leg flights posted each day for members to take advantage of. Fees for Hot Flights can be as low as $320, inclusive of taxes and fees. Connect members can book up to four Hot Flights per year.

Lifestyle Benefits and Events

Connect members can enjoy a range of other lifestyle benefits open to Wheels Up customers. These include access to special events, such as members-only parties at the Super Bowl, the Masters, and Art Basel. Members receive one ticket to each event. The Hot Nights partnership with Inspirato offers the opportunity for luxury getaways to some of the finest vacation properties worldwide, all at a fraction of the price. Lastly, a complimentary FoundersCard membership provides reduced rates, upgrades, and additional amenities at hotels, restaurants, fitness clubs, and other leading brands around the country.

Connect members can become part of the new Wheels Up Community, a digital app giving members the ability to communicate with each other so that they can find and coordinate flight sharing.

Company founder and CEO, Kenny Dichter, stated that the new membership tier may be ideal for those who often travel via first-class or business-class and who want to try private aviation.

“We're excited to make flying private accessible to more people through our Connect Membership. The goal is to leverage our proprietary technology to make it as easy to book a private airplane as it is to book an Uber or Airbnb,” said Dichter.

Wheels Up has grown rapidly since its launch in 2013. The 5,000+ members have access to a members-only fleet of almost 100 aircraft as well as to a network of more than 1,000 vetted off-fleet planes. The new membership tier sits alongside the existing Core and Business Programs.

Delta Private Jets Launched its Sky Access program last year and SkyJet offers on demand charter at fixed hourly rates in its SkyJet Explorer Membership. Both of these programs have an anuual membership fee.