Airfare seems to be getting more and more expensive, and airlines aren't exactly upping their amenities game in order to make up for it. As a beleaguered frequent business traveler, you do have some hope, though. One option is a new crop of travel clubs like Surf Air that are trying to replace the comfort many mainstream airlines now lack.
Another alternative to flying commercial: private jet travel, which is now available to more people, according to an article in The New York Times. That piece features art gallery owner Aaron Smart, who flies from New York to California two to three times a week. Dealing with airlines can get onerous for such a frequent travel, so Smart uses JetSmarter, a service that for an annual fee of $7,000 allows members to fly on "empty legs," or private jets flying without passengers on their way to pick someone up.
The Times writes that Magellan Jets is also attempting to capitalize on growing dissatisfaction with commercial airlines, by letting subscribers buy blocks of flight time and then matching them with available planes through an app. With this service, which guarantees a plane within 10 hours for domestic flights, you are getting the whole aircraft, so you can fly your team with you as well.
BlackJet is another startup that matches customers with empty seats on nearby private aircrafts. Their tickets cost about the same price as a first-class ticket on a commercial airline, according to the Times, though a membership fee is required. BlackJet CEO Dean Rotchin says private jets "are much more reliable," and that about half of the company's customers are business travelers.
While still pricey compared with commercial flights, these services can eliminate hours from your travel time. At least some business travelers are already taking advantage: According to the Times, JetSmarter, whose customers booked more than 1,300 flights last year, expects to book 10 times as many passengers in 2015.