Although many remember the Wright Brother’s for their historic achievement with the Kitty Hawk and rightly so, many executives and historical aviation buffs look at another flight, this one in 1963, as the beginning of what many consider to be exemplary convenient and luxurious air travel: The Flight of the First Lear Jet.
The year is 1963. John F. Kennedy is president and there’s a race to put a man on the moon before the Soviets can. Race relations in the United States are still tumultuous and the Vietnam war is just years from getting underway. Then, there is a glimpse into the future of air travel.
Bill Lear designed the perfect airplane–called the Lear Jet–specifically for those interested in chartering a plane without going through the hassle of commercial airlines. It took flight in Wichita, Kansas, for the first time, launching in a new era for the rich and wealthy (or those with great connections): the private jet.
Today, private jets are for more than just the rich and wealthy wanting a way to travel to a destination in comfort and style. In fact, many companies are choosing to fly their executives and senior managers on private jets as a way for those employees to enjoy the comforts of a private plane, while remaining productive and getting work done.
Respondents to a 2009 survey said they felt 20% more productive on a company aircraft than in an office. Out of business aircraft passengers, only 22% are top management. 50% are other managers, and 20% are technical, sales, or support staff. It is becoming well known that flying on a commercial airline dampens productivity. Business people flying on a commercial airline reported a 40% drop in productivity according to a 2009 survey.
Private aircraft offer many benefits compared to commercial aircraft. Most notably, they are quieter, not often dealing with children or infants. They are generally more spacious, which gives business personnel an opportunity to stretch out or have a small space to their own.
In addition, boarding a private aircraft is often easier than boarding a commercial airline. While there is the standard check for weapons and identification, the boarding of a private aircraft means avoiding lines that stretch for hundreds of feet, as seen frequently in the busiest airports in the country.
Furthermore, private aircraft generally depart and land in airports that are not the primary airports–like an O’Hare or JFK. Private jets use a network of more than 5,000 airports in the United States, compared to 550 used by commercial aircraft. In fact, while commercial airlines fly at a cruising height of 35,000 feet, smaller jets fly higher and don’t have to deal with other aircraft.
There is no doubt that chartering a private aircraft may cost more money than flying employees commercial but a private jet charter or a private jet charter for business gives employees the opportunity to work and be productive while flying. This can include normal business work but also meetings and general camaraderie during the flight.
By 2011, over 11,000 private jets were registered in the United States. The United States actually accounts for 49.7% of the private jet market, with Europe in second at 20.8%. America has a great many people and companies who are willing to use some extra money for a more comfortable flight to their destination.
One of the most well-known and popular private jet manufacturers in the world is Gulfstream. Gulfstream private jets use a mix of practicality and luxury to transport the world’s most famous celebrities across the country, including some of music’s biggest stars. Gulfstream also uses military technology for a comfortable but technologically advanced ride.
While Gulfstream started developing aircraft in the late 1950s, their first private jets took a little longer to materialize. Now there are 11 kinds of the Gulfstream private jet. The Gulfstream private jet combines luxury (think televisions, beautiful leather chairs and an open bar) with speed. A few types of the Gulfstream private jet can fly over 6000 miles.
Many private jets have luxury and style but few have the Gulfstream’s ability to cross great distances without stopping, flying at speeds so fast that most commercial airline can’t keep up, while offering the luxurious package that so many top earners deserve.