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The New York Times: Finding the Right Fit for Flying Private

Posted by Gina-Maria Garcia on Jun 26, 2015 10:00:00 AM


Carlos Urrutia’s job is to fly a private jet. But when he is on board the Bombardier Challenger 300, which he has flown for tens of thousands of hours, he does much more than that.

He welcomes the passengers on board. He stows their luggage. He offers each passenger a drink before takeoff, anything from water to coffee to a cocktail that he will mix. If someone can’t figure out how to work one of the eight seats that swivel, or close the lavatory door, he’ll walk back while his co-pilot takes over and explain how it works.

Mr. Urrutia’s plane will also arrive at the destination faster and with less frustration than any first-class traveler on a commercial airline could dream of. It’s a nice way to travel — if you can afford the $10,000 an hour for the trip.

This is the world of private aviation. But even in that world, there are degrees of convenience, comfort and, to many, excess.

Still, the lure of flying private can get the best of people — and end up being a costly mistake.

“Sometimes people don’t know the difference between their needs and wants,” said Kevin O’Leary, president of Jet Advisors, which offers advice on private aviation options. “We help them analyze their need first and then look at services.”

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