Average Joes and Janes are digging deep into the family cookie jars to join jet-setters aboard private aircraft ... as fears of the COVID-19 bug spread far and wide.
The super-rich aren’t the only ones shelling out big coin to shake free of the sometimes cattle-herding experience called flying commercial. In fact, a bunch of private jet and charter plane brokerage corps told us people are coming in flocks to upgrade and fly private.
At the very least, traveling like a boss may offer some peace of mind as Coronavirus jitters mount.
Paramount Business Jets is a worldwide brokerage company with access to over 15,000 certified private jets.
When they’re not braving missions to whisk passengers out of virus hot spots, like Hong Kong and Macau ... their crew and pilots don full coveralls and must be quarantined once landing back in the U.S. As for why they'd do that ... they get hazard pay -- it's all part of the VIP treatment.
“We're seeing a 300% increase -- even as early last night,” Richard Zaher from Paramount told us. “There's a lot of people inquiring about private jets -- even people who can’t quite afford it.”
A senior aviation adviser at Stratos Jet Charters, Inc., Kyle Jones, also claims many Main Streeters want to roll like balling Wall Streeters.
“We’re definitely seeing an influx of clients, for sure,” the advisor said of his company, which serves as a middleman to 100 private jet operators who fly in and out of celeb hubs like Teterboro and Miami airports. He adds, “requests have gone up in the past couple weeks due to the coronavirus, and not necessarily with our regular fliers, but with people who maybe don’t have the money, and don’t normally fly private.”
The lion's share of asks are coming from executive assistants dialing the outfit to fetch quotes (starting at around $7,000 a seat).
Angela Vargo -- a rep for the 4-year-old JSX -- which coined the Uber-esque tagline, “hop on jet service” -- noted that they are also witnessing piqued interest by customers angling for one of the 30 seats on their 23 Embraer 135 or 145 model planes.
And, while she couldn’t tie it directly to COVID-19, she did say flying private is a more viable travel option right now to quell most of the virus fears.
Also, the company is rolling out intense sterilization techniques and its jets are stocking up on coronavirus must-haves.
“We have big drums of hand sanitizer in all of our stations (interestingly the reorder is getting challenging because distributors are selling out).”