Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Memorial Day last-minute deal: Hop a private jet from Burbank to Las Vegas for $129

JetSuiteX passengers take Embraer 135 jets from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.
 (Cean One Studios)

Embraer 135 jets that seat 30 passengers depart from Burbank’s private Hangar 2, with valet parking just steps away. (Clean One Studios)

If you’re considering a last-minute trip to Las Vegas this Memorial Day weekend, a small, luxury jet may get you there for less money and less hassle.

Irvine-based JetsuiteX is launching service between Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR/KBUR) and McCarran International Airpot (LAS/KLAS). It's part of a larger charter service called JetSuite.

The difference is that JetSuiteX allows you to book one seat rather than the entire plane. The inaugural flight departs Burbank at 8:50 a.m. Thursday morning

The service will operate three scheduled flights Sunday through Friday (Saturday service is limited) with fares starting at $129 each way, excluding taxes. There are no membership fees either; that's the entire price you pay. Regular fares between Burbank and Las Vegas typically range from $77 to $300 each way. (JetSuiteX also flies between Burbank and Concord, Calif., in the Bay Area.)

An added bonus? No long TSA lines at small airports.

"We’re trying to bring speed back to aviation," Chief Executive Alex Wilcox says. He pointed to statistics showing that 1 million fewer passengers now fly annually between L.A. and Vegas than in 2000. Wilcox attributes that to rising fares and long waits at busy airports.

During roughly the same period, according to Wilcox, traffic on Interstate 15 at the California-Nevada state line increased by half-a-million cars a year.

"If it’s literally five hours to Vegas, whether you fly or drive, then what’s the point, right?" he says. "[With JetSuiteX], you can actually fly it in an hour and a half from the time you hit the airport to the time you hit the hotel room."

"You can show up 15 minutes ahead of time and get on the airplane without breaking a sweat," he added. With fewer passengers, Wilcox said the line at airport security screening moves quickly.

And the private terminal in Las Vegas where you land is convenient too. Passengers arrive in Sin City at Atlantic Aviation's private terminal along Tropicana Avenue, less than five minutes from the MGM Grand Resort.

The jets feature electrical outlets, free Wi-Fi, complimentary drinks (including alcoholic beverages) and plenty of legroom. JetBlue fliers earn TrueBlue loyalty points on these flights too.

"It’s an airliner that thinks it’s a private jet," Wilcox says. "You have 36 inches of pitch to every row, and 40 inches at the exits. I’m 6-foot-1 and I can cross my legs in any row of the airplane."

Those $129 fares for last-minute travelers are a great price.

As a comparison, one-way fares on Friday from Bob Hope to McCarran start at $264 on American Airlines according to a Tuesday search on

(Jay Jones - Los Angeles Times)

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