Business is booming for private jet charter company VistaJet. The business was founded in 2008 by German-born Thomas Flohr, whose risky tactic of buying his own jets — rather than operating planes owned by other companies — has paid off so far.
VistaJet made news in November, when it placed a $3.8 billion order for 56 Bombardier Global jets.
To make sure his jets were sophisticated enough to appeal to his international, wealthy clientele, Flohr put his daughter Nina in charge of branding and communications. (Nina’s mother is Katharina Flohr, a founding editor at Russian Vogue, who passed her fashion sense onto her daughter.)
To give us a taste of what being a customer is like on one of its $15,000-an-hour planes, VistaJet invited us to fly to Montreal for the day, where we also visited the Bombardier facility where VistaJet’s fleet of brand new jets is being made.
Here’s how the flight went.
Full disclosure: VistaJet paid for our trip to Montreal to try out the private jet service and visit the Bombardier Completion centre.
Artist Ian Davenport was commissioned to paint an egg on the tail of the plane — a nod to VistaJet's Easter-time collaboration to sell Fabergé jewelry on its flights.
VistaJet has clients from all over the world, so she wanted something that would appeal to people from the US, UK, Asia, and Middle East. Looks good to us.
The plane sits 14, and we had a full flight. Of course, there's WiFi onboard, though they hesitated to turn it on for such a short flight — it's quite expensive.
One of the most striking things is how quickly the plane climbs. On most flights, it flies at an especially high altitude, where there's less traffic and the air is thinner, so the plane is more efficient.
To control the plane's two television screens, every passenger has an iPod Touch. Since no movies were offered on our short flight, I cycled though the views from the cameras mounted around the plane.
Before long, we were over snowy Montreal. We landed at the Bombardier Completion centre, outside the city.
Overall, the only thing I would change would be to give everyone their own screens: On long flights, it's nice to be able to watch whatever you want.
We flew back to New Jersey on the same jet in the late afternoon. The flight attendants served champagne and wine.
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