Saturday, September 23, 2006

the raytheon hawker 400XP

left: our plane at the San Jose Jet Center, center: the approach into Vegas, right: on the ground at the Signature Terminal on Las Vegas BlvdSometimes (at least) one cool thing highlights the free or low cost; sometimes I discuss the extravagant. Today’s topic takes things to the completely unaffordable courtesy of “The Man with the 20s,” an old friend and college roommate who always rolls in style. He was headed to Vegas for business and, as you might have guessed from the previous two posts, I was happy to tag along.

Not that this is hard to believe but flying on a private jet is a great experience. All of the hassles associated with commercial travel are removed. There are no parking problems, no security lines, no need for early arrival at the terminal and no delays in departure. Furthermore, you fly faster (our ground speed topped 600 mph on the flight out, true air speed peaked at 530 mph), are more comfortably (I want a swivel chair for home), eat better food and walk straight off the plane to your ground transportation on arrival. No baggage claim, no taxi lines.

The timesavings are dramatic when you are traveling between busy locations like the Bay Area and Las Vegas. On Thursday I left my house at 11:15a and was unpacking at my room at the Venetian before 1:30p. I think that I have spent more time just waiting for a cab at McCarran. And, the convenience is increased when you are flying to a more remote location not served directly by commercial carriers.

As one would expect, this luxury has substantial cost. It used to be that the only options for private air travel were charters for specific flights or jet ownership. NetJets popularized fractional ownership, and Marquis Jet has introduced a more flexible way to fly with the Marquis Jet Card. Purchased in 25 hour blocks, the card lets you reserve a plane on as little as 6 hours notice. You account is debited only for airtime (wheels up to wheels down) and there are no other hidden charges. Like many of life’s great things, if you have to ask how much it costs… However, it is much more economical than leasing or fractional ownership, and if you can pack the plane (it seats 7) with business colleagues or family members, the price is much easier to rationalize. Unfortunately for The Man with the 20s, freeloading friends do little change the financial equation.

For detailed specs on the Raytheon Hawker 400XP that transported us in style to and from Las Vegas, check out this and this.

left: the Strip after takeoff, center: the cockpit during flight, right: Mono Lake is visible in the distance


At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hawker 400XP, like all Hawkers are just great rides. You can share flights with your buddies and collect legally allowable fees. There is a new service called The Wedge that you may wish to explore. The pros are huge savings in time and money while staying legal, the only downside seems to be you have to pay for a Membership to use the service. Still getting a membership application seems simple enough.

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again to Warren for letting us tag along! It's definitely one of the most enjoyable flights.



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